Recently, Apple decided to add a prompt to all apps, asking all app users if they want to share their data with app developers. The expectation is that a lot of people would rather opt out of sharing data than opt in. This means that app developers, including Facebook, will receive less data from their users. They will still receive some data, but it will be very limited and delayed.
What type of data is missing when the user decides not to share? When a user opts out, data on all of their actions outside the Facebook platform is not shared. This means no data on conversions, clicks and landing page views (this all happens on the advertiser’s site). Data is limited to one event (purchase) and will be reported with a delay of a few days. And this also means that Facebook is no longer able to include this data in their reporting, which limits Facebook’s ability to optimize based on it. It will make optimizing ads and targeting users much more difficult. There are several other possible impacts to consider:
- More volatility in the first days of a campaign’s delivery because of restricted and delayed data.
- Retargeting audiences will be impacted because of a lack of website data that’s being shared with Facebook.
- Share of spend in the learning phase will increase because it takes the algorithm longer to learn (because less data available).
What levers do you have when setting up the best possible Facebook advertising structure in this new context?
- Use account consolidation to limit the learning phase.
- Custom audiences, retargeting, and lookalike audiences will be impacted because of restricted data.
- Exclusions will be harder to accomplish (you can’t collect the data on exclusions).
- Location, demographic, detailed, interest and broad targeting will have no effect.
- Keep an eye on retargeting. When performance is bad, shift to lookalike, interest or broad audiences.
- Use as few constraints as possible when targeting.
- Use automatic placement to reach the largest audience with ads. However, you should monitor your performance and adjust the placement strategy when needed.
- We’ve already covered the budget calculation (CPA * 50). But if the conversion rate lowers because of a lack of signals, you should increase this budget so you reach the 50 conversions. Please check the average CPA and adjust your budget accordingly.
- Try autobid to identify the optimal bid price.
- When changing bids, wait for three days to account for delayed conversions.
- Cost cap/minimum ROAS is not recommended when you run shorter campaigns, as the delay in receiving conversions skews the optimization models.
- Make sure you rank the purchase event the highest (more information on this is available on Facebook for Business). With the iOS update, only one event (with a delay) will be shared for users who have opted out, so you want to make sure this is your most important event.
- You can test changing the prioritization by selecting an event higher in the funnel to see if you gain a bigger audience. For example, switch the purchase event to an add-to-cart event. These two are highly correlated, but an add-to-cart event will probably include a larger number of people.
There are two other things that can help you get better results in this new environment of diminishing signals: a conversion API and maximizing machine learning.
A conversion API (or CAPI) is one way to mitigate the signal loss because of iOS 14 and limited cookie sharing in browsers. A conversion API works by setting up a direct connection between your marketing data and Facebook’s ad systems. Most big website platforms, like Shopify, WordPress and BigCommerce, offer CAPI integrations.
Maximizing machine learning
Maximizing machine learning means letting go of constraints and giving Facebook’s system enough flexibility to make the best decisions for your business. Liquidity can be improved by optimizing four levers: budget, audience, creative, and placement.
- Budget liquidity allows the budget to flow to the best opportunities. Use campaign budget optimization.
- Audience liquidity allows the system to find the best audience. Use target expansion and try to limit all constraints (except for age, location, etc.).
- Creative liquidity helps deliver personalized creatives at scale. Use dynamic ads when you have multiple products to sell. Use both video and image assets. Facebook will show the preferred format to the right person.
- Placement liquidity enables businesses to meet people wherever they are. Use automatic placements to help increase your ads’ efficiency and extend their reach.