How to Navigate iOS Changes To Minimize Disruption to Your Facebook Ad Campaigns
04 March 2021 | By Salome Schillack
Facebook is on a journey. When Mark Zuckerberg started his company, he famously said:
“Move fast and break things.”
It appears that Facebook is living up to that motto as it updates the Ads Manager and its functionality to prepare for a significant iOS change. We don’t yet have all the answers, and it seems that Facebook doesn’t either. You should prepare for your Ads Manager to be slow, glitchy and full of warning signs that could very well impact your experience.
In 2020, Apple announced that it would be proactively asking iOS 14 users – everyone with an Apple iPhone – if they would opt in to being tracked online. It is fair to assume that many users would choose not to be tracked when given the option.
Facebook and online course creators rely on user data to build audiences and to run a variety of ads (e.g., list building, webinars, launch, and evergreen). If Apple iOS users opt out of being tracked across the internet, the impact to our interest, target and retargeting audiences, as well as the corresponding data, is immense.
To mitigate these changes, Facebook is proactively making significant updates to how we track users online and how we measure conversion events like leads and sales. Though Facebook is taking action in response to Apple’s iOS update, these changes will impact ad placements across all platforms and operating systems.
Imagine you have a saved audience of two million users that you target when running list building ads. One day, 75% of this target audience disappears. Poof. Gone. The impact would be immediate and substantial: your targeting would be off, and it would impact your results and the algorithm’s ability to find more users like those who were converted in the past.
Now imagine you’re in the middle of a webinar launch, and you see thousands of users land on your thank-you page. You want to retarget those users with your urgency message, except 75% of them have opted out of being tracked. You would be left with a retargeting audience that represents only a fraction of who you are trying to reach.
In both hypothetical scenarios, your targeting and retargeting audience data is skewed, and you don’t know which ads actually resulted in sales. You are left unable to scale effectively, and your launch becomes a guessing game.
When massive portions of our audiences disappear, we are affected in these three ways, each of which Facebook identified as it considered the iOS changes:
To help us overcome these challenges, Facebook has introduced big changes to how we create campaigns, track events and use the pixel to get the best possible feedback and data from our ads.
Facebook indicates that it is working to develop new products for advertisers that will help us track our results and create campaigns that effectively target and retarget our audiences.
To prepare, Facebook is asking us to do three things:
Let’s explore each one of these in a bit more detail…
Facebook is asking us to verify our domains so that we have one “official” domain that belongs only to us and is linked to our account in Business Manager. Before you will be allowed to create any new conversion ads, you will need to have a verified domain linked to your account.
QUICK REMINDER: Conversions ads are those that ask Facebook and Instagram users to take an action, such as providing an email address in exchange for a lead magnet or paying us in exchange for our paid courses. We use “events” like custom conversions or standard events to indicate to Facebook that someone who saw our ad also converted to a lead or a sale.. An “event” can be one of two things: a custom conversion that we set up using the ‘Thank-You’ page, or a Standard Event such as “Lead” or “Purchase.” Whenever we refer to “events” in this post, we are talking about these conversion events.
If my website URL is myawesomebusiness.com, that is my main domain and what I want to verify in my Business Manager account. When I want to run ads for my lead magnet, webinar or launch, I will set up my pages on my website where I have verified my domain.
As an example, I create a webinar “Thank You” page using the URL myawesomebusiness.com/webinar-thank-you from which I will also create my custom conversion event.
The process of verifying a domain is slightly different depending on which software system you use to host your website and to build your landing pages.
To help you verify your domain, we created this step-by-step guide that demonstrates how to verify your domain in WordPress.
ROAD BLOCK. PAY ATTENTION HERE.
Because Facebook will only allow us to create conversion events that are linked to our verified domain, it can be complicated if you have a website that lives on WordPress but you buyild landing pages on third-party software systems like Kajabi, LeadPages, or ClickFunnels.
Most of these platforms will allow you to integrate a subdomain with their software. A subdomain is a “baby” domain that you register with your domain registration company – e.g., GoDaddy or BlueHost – and can be anything you want to add in front of your primary domain. In our example, I may want to use learn.myawesomebusiness.com as my subdomain.
If I want to continue to use third-party software systems like Kajabi, LeadPages, or ClickFunnels to build landing pages, I will need to follow the instructions they provide to integrate my subdomain with their platform.
In our continuing example, after I have integrated my subdomain on a platform like Kajabi, Facebook would allow me to use learn.myawesomebusiness.com/lead-thank-you to create my event or custom conversions.
Before you sign up for any webinar hosting platforms or landing page builders, check that you can link your subdomain to that platform. You will save yourself much frustration as you start setting up your ads.
Facebook now limits us to only eight conversion events per account. The limit of eight events includes standard events (e.g., Leads, Purchase, View Content, etc.), and it also includes any custom conversions you create using your “Thank You” page URLs.
Yes, you read that right: we now have only eight conversion events, and we have to choose those eight events long before we want to run ads. It now takes up to 48 hours for an event to be approved by Facebook.
With losing such a significant portion of our audiences, we will receive limited information from our webpages to the pixel. As such, Facebook is making us rank our eight events in order of importance and will only report the event that is highest in that ranking.
You will have to choose which eight events matter most by ranking them in order of importance; and you will only receive data on the highest ranking event. If someone opts in for a webinar and then purchases your course, you will only receive data on the one event you tell Facebook is most important to you. (Naturally, we want to rank sales higher than leads.)
If you are just getting started and only have one or two conversion events that you use to build your email list, you can select just two events. You do not need to fill the eight events if you do not have eight events yet.
QUICK REMINDER: Standard Events encompass all your custom conversions that also meet the criteria of the standard event. All of your lead magnet custom conversions can also be Lead events and your course sales custom conversions can all fall under one standard purchase event. Custom conversions are hyper-specific events created from just one specific “Thank You” page. I can have many Lead events for all my lead magnets, but I can only have one custom conversion for my Five-Day Video Training lead magnet.
The ranking of events could look something like the following:
|Pixel/Custom Conversion||Event Name|
|Custom Conversion||Your custom conversion for your lead magnet|
|Your Pixel||View Content|
|Custom Conversion||Your custom conversion for your second lead magnet|
|Your Pixel||View Content|
Here is a screenshot of my events along with the priorities of conversion I am tracking in the next few months:
How you choose to rank your conversion events is up to you.
Real Life Example
I am launching my online course with a webinar in which I will be running list building ads in the leadup to my launch. After building my list for a few weeks, I run ads to fill up my webinar, and I will run sales ads when enrollment for my course opens.
We have one conversion event for the list building ads, one for the webinar ads, and another for the sale event. That takes up three events of the eight Facebook has allotted us. My lead magnet and my webinar thank you pages also have Lead standard events on, and my sales page has a Purchase event on.
Facebook is only going to show me data for the highest ranking event.
In this case, I want to see results for sales over webinar registrations, and I want to see webinar registrations over lead magnet downloads. I will rank my eight events in this order so that I see results for the event I value the most.
Though you do not need to have all eight events defined, you will need to have any new event you want to run ads to be defined in the Events Manager. You should take the time now to choose your eight (or fewer) events in the order you deem most appropriate.
To help you set up your eight conversion events in the Events Manager, we created this step-by-step guide.
Facebook is creating an entirely new way for us to measure the results of events that happen on web pages (i.e., all of our conversion events). Facebook calls this Conversion API, which is a very uncreative coding name for a fancy new tool. At the moment, this fancy tool is so new that even Facebook – and experienced coders – can’t explain in plain English how to use it.
Keep checking back here for updates, which we’ll share as we figure out the Conversion API.
Yes, you can verify multiple domains but you can only choose ONE domain as the domain you want to use to track conversion events.
If your main website is built on WordPress and that is where your business domain (mydomain.com) points to, you’ll need to create a subdomain (anything like join.mydomain.com or learn.mydomain.com) and integrate that sub domain in the software system you use to build landing pages. Because you have mydomain.com verified and that contains the subdomain, your conversion events will work.
Yes, you can. It would still be best practice to have your own custom domain pointing to Kajabi (mydomain.com instead of mydomain.mykajabi.com). Once you have your own custom domain set up on Kajabi you can verify your domain by following the same steps to copy your “Meta-tag Verification” and pasting it in the >>Head<< section of your Kajabi site. Before you do this make sure that your Facebook pixel is linked to your Kajabi account.
You’ll need to register your own custom domain and integrate that domain into your WIX/Squarespace account then verify the domain by pasting the “Meta-tag Verification” into the >>Head<< section of your website. Before you can do this you’ll need to install your Facebook pixel onto this website.
You will need to register a sub domain and integrate that with the webinar software. Or you can redirect webinar registrants to a “Thank You” page that lives on your verified domain.
Yes, you can. The conversion event is only relevant to the verified domain of the “Thank You” page.
Your Facebook pixel is not installed on your Kajabi account therefore there is no data being fed back to Facebook from that page. Integrate your Facebook pixel with your Kajabi account and the sub domains should work perfectly.
Yes, after setting up your ad account you’ll need to place your pixel on your website and then verify your domain. Before you set up any conversion events you’ll need to create your first custom conversion or standard event and then set this event up as one of the eight events you want Facebook to give you data on.
Yes, if you can integrate your sub domain with TryInteract then that page would work (with a new URL reflecting the use of your sub domain). But if you cannot do that in TryInteract, next best thing is to redirect people to a page that sits on your verified domain.
Yes, exactly the same place. So just leave a few spaces, then paste it below your pixel.
No, you’ll need a Business Manager account with an Ad Account that has a pixel linked to your domain before you can verify your domain. You’ll also need to create your first custom conversion or standard event before you can select it as one of your eight events.
They are not fixed and you can change them. Changing them however will impact the data you see in the ads manager and it could take 48-72 hours for the change to take effect. We recommend not changing them unless there is a specific strategic reason for changing them.
No, you will first need to create either a custom conversion or a standard event for one of your list building, webinar or launch events. Once you have created the event then you can select it as one of your 8 events in Events Manager.
You should use your old events if they are linked to campaigns that are currently running or if you’ve collected data on those events in the past. If you have more than eight events set up you’ll have to choose your tip eight that you want to track in the events manager. This is where it becomes valuable to use standard events instead of just custom conversions
The way we track users from a Facebook or Instagram ad to a webpage, where a user converts to a lead or sale, is drastically changing. The change comes as a result of us losing “sight” of a very large percentage of users online as Apple rolls out the option to opt out of being tracked online.
Not being able to “see” such a large part of our audiences will mean that we have to change the way we set up our campaigns, the way we interpret the data we get from Facebook, and what we do with that data to scale our campaigns.
Right now, to make the shift, we all should verify our domains and select our eight conversion events in Events Manager.
Most importantly, we must all keep in mind that we are in uncharted territory. As we navigate these changes, we will become smarter marketers and develop brand new tools that will ultimately help us to make informed decisions about how we advertise online.