7 tips to help businesses adapt to iOS 14.5

Jun 23 2021 | PayPal Editorial Staff

Each iOS update brings important changes for small businesses that launch campaigns across Apple devices.
One of the latest updates, iOS 14.5, was released in April 2021 and made a particularly strong impact. While this version brought more diversity to Siri voices and skin tones, its privacy settings were met with less enthusiasm by marketers. That's because these new settings affect how brands measure their campaigns, track audiences, and launch ads on apps like Facebook and Google Chrome.

To help make sense of these changes, we'll cut through the technical jargon and break down just what small businesses need to know about iOS 14.5.

What is the iOS 14.5 update?
From a marketing standpoint, the most notable part of iOS 14.5 is the introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT). This feature requires an app to receive permission from users before it tracks or shares their data across third-party websites and apps.

ATT also gives users more control by allowing them to see which apps made these requests by just going to their Settings. From there, they can make changes to their app permissions or even block apps from making requests at all. The update includes a setting to Allow Apps to Request to Track that users can just turn off.

ATT is replacing the previous iOS privacy feature, Limit Ad Tracking (LAT). LAT allowed users to opt out of generating an Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), which advertisers use to track and target specific Apple devices. While LAT was enabled on roughly 10% of iOS devices, we don't yet know what the opt-in rate for ATT will be. However, mobile measurement providers estimate it to be around 40%.

What can small businesses do to adapt to iOS 14.5?
The new iOS update affects how advertisers manage campaigns and build audiences, but those who adapt accordingly will be better positioned for long-term growth and success.

Here are 7 strategies small businesses can use to adapt to iOS 14.5.

1. Update your privacy policies
If you haven't already, review or set up a prompt asking visitors for permission to collect and share their data. Be sure your terms and conditions are clear, easy to understand, and cover your data partners and platforms. Also, make an effort to convey your value proposition upfront. In exchange for access to customer data, for example, you can promise to help provide more relevant and personalized ad experiences.

2. Get comfortable with Apple's SKAdNetwork
IDFA-based tracking will no longer be the norm on iOS devices. Instead, advertisers will use the Apple's SKAdNetwork API to measure campaign performance and track users in more privacy-safe ways. Most notably, SKAdNetwork will share data without revealing information about individual users.

Brands can use this framework to manage ads on Apple Search, the App Store, Apple News, and Apple Arcade.

3. Adjust ad spend accordingly
Now that opting into data tracking is no longer the default setting across iOS devices, businesses that utilize targeting for their ads can expect their audiences to decrease. As a result, their ad budget ROI and engagement metrics might take a dip. That's because these businesses won't be reaching as many people who are specifically interested in their products.

It's important to take a close look at your budget and shift spend to platforms with higher opt-in rates and targeting capabilities. For instance, you may want to increase in Android campaign spend while you reevaluate your iOS strategies.

4. Set up a last-click attribution model
Apple's attribution API uses a last-click attribution model, which places the most value on the user's final action before converting. So if a user sees an ad for your business on multiple websites, only the last one they saw or engaged with before purchasing will be reported. This is different from a first-click attribution model, for example, which credits the first ad with the conversion, even if the customer engages with several ads before taking action.

If you're not familiar with the last-click attribution model, now may be the time to look into it and pivot your budget and targeting towards those last-click channels.

5. Review conversion events on Facebook
iOS 14.5 will bring a major change to Facebook advertising, too. The social network will only be able to collect eight conversion events. Examples of conversion events include making a purchase, scheduling an appointment, starting a free trial, submitting a form, and subscribing for content. Advertisers use these events to better understand when and how users convert, and to optimize future campaigns.

To make the most of your Facebook campaigns, take a look at your Facebook conversion events and choose the top eight options that are most relevant to your audience behaviors and ad offerings.

6. Use lookalike audiences
To counteract the loss of any targeted users, try lookalike audiences on platforms like Facebook and Google. This feature lets you target people who have similar interests and behaviors as your opt-in audiences. That way, you can still expand your pool of potential customers and increase brand awareness by reaching shoppers who are most likely to be interested in your ad messaging.

7. Diversify your ad mix
Each device and advertising channel will be affected by iOS 14.5 in unique ways. Protect your brand by branching out across different platforms and launching test campaigns. You might try reaching users on hot-button social platforms like TikTok, launching campaigns specifically for Android users, or collecting first-party data through email newsletter subscriptions.

In other words, avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Give yourself more opportunities to learn what your audiences want and where they're most active.

What's next for advertising on iOS devices?
Of course, iOS 14.5 is just one of many updates from Apple. The follow up, iOS 14.6, already launched in May 2021 with little noted impact to advertisers. And the next update, iOS 15, is set to roll out fall 2021, with even more security and privacy features.

As a small business, it's important to stay informed about current and upcoming changes so you're never caught off guard, and so that you can make the changes that work best for your customers and advertising campaigns.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision. 

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