Last Updated: April 26, 2021

Starting April 26, 2021, iPhone users will begin seeing a new prompt when accessing , Instagram, and other apps.

So, what does this mean for your advertising?

Fortunately, our RedTag social ad tech teams have already implemented new strategies and upgrades to all ad campaigns to limit the signal loss for all current and future RedTag clients.

More on that down below ↓
A new iOS 14.5 alert box giving users the option to ask apps not to track them
Example of what users will see when accessing certain apps on their iPhones.

What's going on here?

Starting on April 26, 2021, iOS 14.5 users will begin seeing prompts from apps asking for permission to track certain online behavior. If the user opts out, the app cannot track certain information and the user will likely see less relevant advertising. On the contrary, users that opt in will see more relevant ads and enjoy a better overall ad experience.

Still, we estimate that more than 50% of iOS 14.5 users will opt out of tracking, which will impact performance and reporting for app and web conversion events. An estimated 80% of users will upgrade their iOS devices to iOS 14.5 within three weeks of the release date, meaning that the majority of these impacts will begin to be seen by mid-to-late May.

The key to all of this is what is allowed to be tracked and what is not. Let’s take Facebook as an example. If a user opts out of tracking, the Facebook ads platform will no longer have the ability to track that user’s activity on websites and apps OUTSIDE of the Facebook family of apps. For instance, if a user is browsing an online shoe store that has a Facebook pixel installed, that user’s activity will no longer be passed back to Facebook. However, everything that the same user does on Facebook is still being tracked. If that user clicks on a Facebook ad for an online shoe store, that information can still be used when optimizing ad delivery.

Furthermore, with the Facebook Conversions API properly installed, events like purchases can still be passed back to Facebook’s ad platform. This means that, while we fully expect to see an impact from signal loss, we don’t expect Facebook conversion ads to lose much ground, if any.

iOS 14.5 running on an iPhone

What campaigns are affected?

Top-of-Funnel Campaigns

Top-of-Funnel campaigns like reach campaigns and lower-funnel strategies like on-Facebook lead campaigns will not be affected by these changes because optimization for these delivery types does not rely on data outside the Facebook family of apps.

e-Commerce Campaigns

e-Commerce campaigns, specifically those that rely on the Facebook pixel to optimize delivery for conversion events will see the most impact. However, RedTag already implements several changes and strategies to limit the risk that this change poses to your ads.

Facebook and Instagram logos

What is RedTag doing to prepare my campaigns for signal loss?

Here at RedTag, we have been working feverishly with our partners at Facebook, Google, and other digital ad platforms to limit what we call “signal loss.” The “signal,” in this case, is any data that we can utilize to deliver ads to a more targeted audience, in return, generating more conversions for you at a lower cost.

A man sitting at a computer writing code.

Implementing the Facebook Conversions API

This allows you to share key web and offline events directly from your servers to the Facebook ads platform. RedTag implements this new best practice for all of our clients to continue generating more conversions for you at a lower cost.


Verifying Domains

All businesses should verify their domain as a best practice. However, it’s important to prioritize verifying your domains if your domains integrate Facebook pixels that are owned by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. RedTag takes all the stress off of you by verifying your domains whenever necessary.


Operating with fewer conversion events

Going forward, advertisers can only configure up to eight unique conversion events per website domain that can be used for campaign optimization. RedTag takes the guesswork out of prioritizing these new conversion events by creating them and prioritizing them on your behalf.

What's next?

Short term

Over the coming weeks and months, we as an industry will continue to learn more about the full impact of these changes, but the high-level impact is simple: the ways in which ad tech companies measure and track consumer behavior on Apple devices will continue to evolve. Some estimates project that data from Apple devices could drop as much as 50% initially. However, following that initial decline, data from iOS devices is projected to recover over time, potentially bouncing back to roughly 80% of previous levels thanks to apps incentivizing users to “opt in” and allow for tracking.

Long term

Over the coming months and years, we expect an accelerated move towards artificial intelligence and machine learning in advertising. The more sophisticated these systems become, the less we will need to rely on first-party data.

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