In an FIA webinar, Marlin Communications outlined how the new iOS 14 update could impact your fundraising campaigns – and what you can do to mitigate the effect.


Apple Privacy Changes Facebook FundraisingUser privacy will come away the winner in Apple’s iOS 14 privacy update slated to come out in Autumn. But for the digital fundraiser, the outcome is not as positive, according to Marlin Communications.

In a webinar this week, in partnership with FIA, Marlin went through some steps that fundraisers can act on to ensure their Facebook campaigns are ready for the when the update hits – which it will do without warning.

What is the iOS 14 update?

Change is in the air. With more scrutiny around data protection, and more stories of data leaks, users are increasingly suspicious of the who/what/where/when/how of data tracking. The iOS updated will mean that for each app on their iPhone, or iPad, users will be prompted to agree to have their activity tracked across other websites and apps. Instead of the opt-out system currently in place, users will have the option to opt-in or opt-out – and it’s believed that most people will opt out.

Side note: While this webinar focused on the impact to Facebook campaigns, all apps, if they want to appear on the iOS system, will be affected by these changes.

So what does this mean?

According to Samara Gentle, Marlin’s Digital Fundraiser, this means three things:

  • Apps have to tell Apple what they do with the data
  • Apps have to get permission from users to track them
  • Apps and browsers have to restrict/aggregate/delay reporting

Even though this change is only required across Apple devices, Facebook have said that they will not be creating two ad systems or reporting systems for iOS and Android. Theirs will be a one-size-fits-all approach.

Facebook are not happy about this, obviously, and will be implementing a pre-prompt message that will appear prior to the opt-in/out prompt as a way to plead with users to opt in.

What you can do now

Marlin’s Digital Marketing Specialist, Tim Brack, took us through five things that you should do right now to ensure your Facebook campaigns aren’t switched off or suspended when the update rolls in. These include:

Verifying your domain/s through Facebook Business Manager

Make sure your website is verified with Facebook through their Business Manager tool This may require some technical aspect – a line of code, a DNS change or uploading a file – but this is a necessary step.

Pick and prioritise conversion events to track against each domain

Conversion events will be limited to eight per domain including sub-domains. Conversion events include registrations, donations, leads, purchases and the list goes on. You can change these in Facebook’s Events Manager through the Aggregated Event Manager link. Prioritising will be important when someone opts out of tracking. If they go to your site through a Facebook campaign and perform multiple actions, only one event will be tracked. This will be based on your priority list – the conversion event deemed the highest priority will be recorded. This is an example of the Facebook having to restrict data reporting.

Download your historical data – data around some demographics will be removed

You will no longer be able to segment by age, gender, region (state) or placement (mobile feed vs stories). This is extremely frustrating, as this data allows for tailored, optimised messaging. Make sure you download your historical data so you have some past learnings to go back to. Reporting data will also be delayed (by up to three days) so the way you optimise campaigns will have to change. Marlin recommends not making snap decisions or trying to optimise before this three-day period as some conversions won’t have come through.

Change attribution windows to a seven-day click, one-day view

The attribution window will change from a 28-day window and a seven-day view to only a seven-day window and one-day view. Change your campaigns now so they’re in line with these new restrictions.

Recommend using one pixel per domain

Marlin recommends using one pixel per domain otherwise each pixel counts for a precious event conversion slot. This could be an issue for federated organisations and agencies. But organisations can share pixels, which could be a work around for federated organisations. Marlin has conducted some testing and found that there seems to be no limit in how many domains can share a pixel.

Some things to remember

These changes will not only change how much we know and track audiences, but they will affect our processes as well. Best practice and benchmarking will need to be redefined around the new data limitations. Your approaches to audience targeting and remarketing will need to change.

Most importantly, you need to be ready to understand that your results from campaigns will most likely be different to those from previous years – and probably for the worse. Make sure that your digital team and leadership understand this. Lead the way in guiding expectations for future campaigns once the update hits.

Need to know more about how these changes could affect your campaigns? Read Marlin Communication’s blog post How Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Changes Will Affect Your Fundraising Campaigns on Facebook.

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