How Will Facebook’s IDFA Change Impact Conversion Reporting for Mobile App Advertisers? [Update]

By Tinuiti Team

As a result of the iOS 14 rollout, Facebook is shifting its mobile app measurement to rely on the SKAdNetwork in order to report on app conversion data. With this change, businesses will be limited in their ability to measure the performance of iOS 14 app install campaigns on Facebook. 

The shift is due to the recent IDFA announcement as well as changes browsers are making with regard to cookies, including updates to Chrome and Safari, which already limits first-party cookies to seven days.

It’s important to note there are limitations with the SKAdNetwork in terms of how the data will populate in Facebook that will impact the way advertisers will be able to optimize their mobile app campaigns. 

[Update] Facebook discloses impact and next steps in their post-IDFA ecosystem

With Apple’s latest iOS update as of Q3 2021, Facebook released data showing the impact on iOS-optimized web campaigns after the April updates to IDFA. They estimate that there is roughly a 15% discrepancy in aggregated conversions that are underreported within the platform for these campaigns, even though that number varies based on the individual advertiser and verticals.

The release also outlined some tips and best practices for mitigating the impact of these conversion losses as a result of the data discrepancies, including analyzing performance at the campaign level as opposed to the creative level and adoption of their Conversions API (CAPI) to regain data from signal loss.

They also include next steps for work that is being done on the Facebook side with regards to future limitations including improved conversion modeling, measurement and communication and actions after platform bugs are discovered.

What are the limitations of the SKAdNetwork?

Here’s an outline of limitations from Facebook

Delayed reporting: Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days. For iOS 14 app install campaigns, conversion events will be reported based on the time that they are reported to Facebook by the SKAdNetwork API and not the time they occur.

Estimated results: For iOS 14 app install campaigns, the SKAdNetwork API will report results to Facebook, aggregated at the campaign level. Statistical modeling may be used to account for results at the ad set and ad levels, unless the campaign is composed of a single ad set and ad.

No support for breakdowns: For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported.

Changes to account attribution window settings: Once Apple enforces their iOS 14 requirements the attribution window for all new or active ad campaigns will be set at the ad set level, rather than at the account level.

The following windows will be supported under the new attribution setting:

You can learn more about the new windows and defaults for Facebook here.

Facebook and the SKAdNetwork: Next steps for advertisers

To be able to move quickly on the optimization front, advertisers will need to set themselves up for success in terms of how they will analyze this delayed data. 

If you believe your ad campaigns have seen an impact for the reporting discrepancy, work with your agency or media team to identify areas for potential scale to help counteract the loss.

At Tinuiti, here’s what we recommend:

Step 1: Establish Breakdown Benchmarks

For any targeting breakdown that will be deprecated, like age, gender or placement, pull historical benchmarks to get an idea of how the percentage breakdown typically is for your campaigns. For example, if 30% of your delivery has historically been on Instagram, that breakout can be assumed when determining strategy moving forward. 

Step 2: Focus on Campaign Trends Rather than Intraday Metric Comparison

With the data lag, it will be important to get a full picture of what is happening within the campaigns prior to making any changes. Set a cadence for regular checks to ensure campaign performance is closely monitored. 

Step 3: Align on Targeting Attribution Benchmarks

With account attribution moving to the ad set level, it is important to get an understanding of individual benchmarks for individual targeting segments to be able to inform any shifts that are necessary. This is very crucial for those who have been running through CBO as the SKAdNetwork will move attribution to the ad set level.

Step 4: Use Android Performance as a Proxy

Most of the items that will be changing for Apple-focused campaigns won’t affect their Android counterparts. Look at Android campaigns as your future testing ground to pilot new ideas or anything that requires more real-time views.

Want to learn more? Visit “The Future of the Web” to find out everything you need to know about the new restrictions, cookies, IDFA, first-party data, and all things privacy from our Tinuiti experts.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Katy Lucey, Paid Social Director at Tinuiti, and Liz Emery, Senior Director, Mobile App Strategy at Tinuiti. This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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