How to prepare your Facebook Ad campaigns for the iOS 14 changes in 2021

As we near the end of 2020, one of the most uncertain years in memory, many will sigh in relief and look forward to going back to their marketing plans for 2021. However in the world of paid advertising there are big changes coming still next year.

Off the back of the recent Apple/iOS operating system announcements on privacy, it is clear that things won’t be the same regarding how Facebook and other social channels will track and optimise. Considering it’s a key time for planning and making sense of the possibilities of the new year, we want to offer some context and actions that can be taken now.

In short, Apple has announced that likely in March 2021 with the rollout of iOS14 for all Apple mobile phones, it will provide an opt-in prompt for users on each app to be able to choose whether to allow third-party sites (like Facebook and other social media sites) to track their user data. Because of the estimated high opt-out rate, tracking will be become more difficult, our attribution windows will change, ads will be likely less effective due to a loss of “signals” from users opting out of tracking, and we’ll need to be developing a greater understanding of how customers are finding us, through alternative means to the pixel.

We are still working to fully understand what changes we need to make to ensure it continues to be as successful as it can. However, there are a few things that can be done to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be for the change.

What can be done to prepare in the short-term?

If you have not done so already, we advise getting your domain verified within Facebook (let us know if we can help with this), as well as implementing CAPI (Conversion API) and AAM (Auto-Advanced Matching), and even learning what different attribution windows look like in terms of data now (which we started doing since October), so that you can have a benchmark for what success looks like when it changes. We’ve included steps on how to do these things below:

Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager

You can do this one of three ways:

  1. Add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record to confirm that you own the domain
  2. Upload an HTML file provided by Facebook to your web directory and confirm domain ownership in Business Manager.
  3. Add a meta tag to the head section of your domain home page

* Note: Domain Verification must be done at the effective top level domain plus one (eTLD+1 ). For example, for, and, the domain to be verified is

[ Link to Facebook Developers documentation ]

Make sure you have setup the Conversion API (CAPI) setup

There are three ways to set up Conversion API:

  1. If you have Shopify, you can take action and set CAPI up now.
  2. If you are on Wordpress, WooCommerce or another CRM, you can use their plugins to set it up similarly to Shopify. (More info here).
  3. If you have a custom site, you can use something like Zapier to pass data, but there is a cost to it. You can also hard code/have a dev person set this up on your server. If you fall into this option we would recommend holding until after Q4 as this can take up to two weeks to fully test the customisation.

Learn how to implement CAPI via each of these website hosting platforms here.

Make sure you have Auto-Advanced Matching turned ON

Within your Facebook Ads Manager account make sure Auto-Advanced Matching is turned on. To do that, follow the instructions here.

Other things that may become more important in 2021 to counter this?

Becoming smarter with offline/manual tracking to determine attribution may help navigate this period until better solutions are in place. This means for example:

  • Trying to capture key user and ad data through early touchpoints like forms (email opt in, discount redemption, quizzes, etc) passing UTMs and later stitching with checkout or lead data if completed. This will require a CRM.
  • Using FB specific deals or landing pages to associate actions with FB traffic to later marry with more important actions like purchases.
  • Post purchase surveying about “touch points” – there is a risk of people forgetting or failing to acknowledge the influence of ads, but there could be smarter ways to ask the question.
  • For all the above, owning the conversation about user data and encouraging users to be open with you will be more important than ever, as privacy takes centre stage in the months to come.

There is no need to panic, but just know that we are researching and understanding more about these changes each day, and will keep you informed as more information becomes available. Although things are changing Facebook will continue to offer value as usual and new ways to measure it are emerging. Until then, follow this initial advice, install CAPI, diversify your marketing channels, and prepare yourself as more changes are coming around attribution and tracking especially.

Further reading

If you’d like to read more about this change, I’ve compiled a few different blogs to explain this more in-depth: