How to prepare student advertising infrastructure for the iOS14 update

4 min read

As the digital landscape shifts and alters, so must we. Here at Akero, we've always taken ethical attribution and conversion tracking seriously ensuring that Akero provides the perfect MarTech infrastructure for student specialist marketers. The latest development, that we’ve been preparing for since September, that needs to be on your radar is Apple’s iOS14 update: requiring all apps in the App Store to show a prompt to iOS14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Specifically designed to allow iOS users to control which apps track them and better protect their own data. How does this affect your advertising, and how can you prepare to ensure ethical handling of data? Look no further… 

These changes will affect how apps like Facebook receive and process conversion events from tools such as the Facebook pixel. Once Apple requires the prompt and it is shown on Facebook, advertisers running campaigns to iOS14 users will be affected by limitations on data sharing. The scale of the impact will depend on the number of iOS14 users who opt-out of tracking in the Facebook app, which is currently unknown. 

You can read their full statement here to understand the full effect of these changes, but the key change you need to know about is that advertisers will need to verify their domain and associate their pixel(s) with it in order to continue to receive pixel event data in Facebook. By verifying, this will ensure your conversion tracking continues to function after the changes are implemented by Facebook and will minimise any disruption.

Ethical handling of data, which we know is important to how students perceive brands, isn’t bad news. You may need to pivot or alter your practices, but in fact, those with the biggest 1st party data pools will actually benefit. Of course, Google and Amazon and Facebook are the predictable ones, but universities and institutions can also be uniquely placed to win from this if they have the correct MarTech in place. Because if you are already tracking conversions using specialist software and UTMs like in Akero, students are afforded more control of their data on big Tech platforms, but you’re also able to attribute the journey from first touch point to enrolment in Akero instead.

As for Google, they aren’t altering the way their conversion tracking works, but they are aware that the iOS14 changes may impact the accuracy of conversion data in the platform. To try to mitigate this, Google is trialling Enhanced Conversions - a new feature which may improve the accuracy of conversion tracking (we will update on this accordingly when we know more).

iOS14 is happening, but what can you do to prepare and build an infrastructure that will minimise the impact? 

1. First-party data capture is essential, as the shift from an unlimited number of conversion tracking events per domain on Facebook, to just eight, will limit the ability of advertisers to track multiple specific conversions. 

Instead, it is now critical that you rely on your own first-party data, in order to track beyond the click. Akero Enrolment Attribution (EA) allows you to track students from their first touchpoint through to enrolment, linking the adverts that prompted their engagement and the ROI of each campaign. ​

2. Understand the role of cookies in a post-cookie world. The recent ICO clarification made it clear that a website needs consent to place Cookies on a user’s browser if that Cookie is not necessary for the functioning of the website. And what’s more, the consent needed is to the same standard as GDPR. Make sure you’re up to speed with how this affects you and how you can minimise the impact of these changes, by downloading our free guide to Cookies and Data Regulation.

3. Utilise the Akero MarketPlace, our curated list of premium publishers which allows you to access the audience that matters.

4. Adapt accordingly. Moving forward, tracking multiple different micro conversions for a single Facebook campaign will be made redundant by the limited event types. Instead, the focus should be on defining a single, clear CTA or user action which will be the sole conversion type used for measuring the success of the campaign. 

The continued rollout of iOS14 and its subsequent AppTrackingTransparency changes are expected to come into effect early this year. Get ahead of this today to minimise the impact by talking to your planner or team here at Akero about your next steps to prepare your infrastructure.