Apple iOS 14 may reduce the effectiveness of Facebook Audience Network and could impact costs for all advertisers.
Every Apple device is assigned a unique code called an Identification for Advertisers (or IDFA). IDFAs replaced cookies in mobile advertising since cookies primarily tracked users on web, but were less effective at tracking users in mobile apps. Using your IDFA, advertisers are able to effectively target users and report on ad performance. (Note that the Android equivalent is called a GPS ADID.)
Facebook Audience Network is an off-Facebook, in-app advertising network for mobile apps. In short, Facebook purchases ad inventory from mobile apps and websites and allows brands to extend their ad campaigns off Facebook using the same targeting and creative as they use on it.
Apple’s iOS 14 update will begin requiring that developers show users a warning that their app is collecting your IDFA, and users will have to explicitly opt in to sharing their personal IDFA. Facebook uses IDFAs to personalize advertising in third-party apps to power its Audience Network ad placement.
Facebook announced that it would not be collecting IDFAs on its owned apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) on iOS 14 devices, at least until Apple shares additional detail and guidance on its new policy. This may render Audience Network essentially ineffective on iOS 14 (depending on how many users opt in to IDFA collection) and Facebook is considering not offering Audience Network at all for these devices. This will certainly affect app developers and publishers who rely on Facebook to support their in-app advertising.
For brands, the level at which this will affect advertising depends on current investments in Audience Network. And if advertisers abandon Audience Network and choose to re-allocate their media dollars to other Facebook placements, there may be increases in CPMs from an increase in competition.
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