A privacy war has been brewing between Facebook and Apple for some time. And with the latest iteration of Apple’s operating system - iOS 14 - comes the ringing in our ears of the latest shots fired.

But while the incoming changes are bad news for those advertising on Facebook, advertisers do have a tool at their disposal - the Facebook Conversions API - which will help them circumvent some of the tracking issues associated with iOS 14.

Why is iOS 14 a Problem for Facebook Advertisers?

These changes will require all apps in the App Store to show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTransparencyTracking framework. This prompt is designed to let users know what an app will track before they install it.

Then, users will be asked for their permission to allow Facebook to track their activity upon install. This can be refused and is, therefore, likely to impact how Facebook receives and processes conversion events from the Facebook pixel.

Should permission be refused, Apple’s policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

What Can You Do?

With Apple’s iOS 14 update imminent, Facebook has suggested several steps that can be taken by advertisers to minimise data loss across their advertising once the AppTransparencyTracking prompt is in place.

Firstly, you should verify your domain on Facebook Advertising and plan to operate with 8 conversion events per domain. Finally, we strongly recommend that you should have the Facebook Conversions API in place to help bridge the incoming data gap.

What is Facebook Conversions API?

Conversions API (CAPI) is one of the Facebook Business tools that lets you share key web and offline events, or customer actions, directly from your servers to theirs. This improves the accuracy of events sent for measurement and optimisation when used along with the pixel.

When you use CAPI, you do not have to worry about events getting lost because of problems such as a browser crash or an ad blocker. Although setting up CAPI is not a full solution to the impact that iOS 14 will have on your advertising, we urge advertisers to have this in place beforehand to try and reduce the effect of iOS 14.

How to Set Up Facebook Conversions API

Setting up CAPI is incredibly easy, and there are currently six partner integration platforms within Facebook which CAPI can easily be set up for without the need for code.

To give you an example of how easy it is to connect CAPI to one of these integrations, we’ll talk you through the latest platform to be added to the list - Magento.

Setting Up Facebook Conversions API for Magento

First, follow these step-by-step instructions in order to install the Facebook Business Extension for Magento. Launch the Facebook Business Extension and click through to connect assets.

If you’re using a platform that is not a partnered integration, you’ll need to opt for the manual option. However, many commerce platforms are making it much easier for these connections to be made within the shopping platform itself.

Shopify, for instance, launched this feature in October 2020.

Setting Up Facebook Conversions API for Shopify

Within Shopify - under the data-sharing settings - you have three levels to choose from, Standard, Enhanced, or Maximum. Maximum needs to be selected to enable CAPI, and this is available for purchase events only.

Once the connection has been made you should start seeing events come through via server in Facebook events manager. The ‘Connection Method’ should display ‘Browser + Server’.

Within the specific event, you can view daily browser and server events that Facebook has received. If the browser has already processed those events, Facebook will identify this and only process server events that the browser has not.

Final Thoughts

There has not been a specific date from Apple to indicate when Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) will come into play, though it has been suggested that it is coming this month (February 2021).

We still do not know what the adoption rate of users choosing opt-out is yet, and we will not know until ATT has been implemented. But we expect it to be relatively high. Therefore, we urge you to keep a close eye on your own data and results to better understand the impact.