How to Set Up Retargeting Campaigns with Limited Data Due to iOS14 Update

I am sure that everyone who runs an e-business, or works in digital advertisement already met (or at least heard about) the new iOS 14 changes, which were implemented by Apple. The iOS14 update will ask users for permission to track their activities across the web. In case the user does not give permission, third-party data collectors like Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc will not be able to get user data for targeting, optimization, and reporting. 

In the U.S. more than 50% of mobile users have iOS, (which number is approximately 30% in Europe.) In the worst case scenario, 50% of the conversions may not be reported – so the effect of the update can be significant. Due to these changes, Facebook also has to implement some changes, trying to support its advertisers’ efforts to run effective campaigns even with the changed data-environment. Although it is not fully clear yet what the full impact will be, it already seems that everyone has to adapt to less data, limited targeting precisity and higher costs. 

There will be several changes,  which need to be adapted in further strategies. 

Where We Will See Changes

  • Only 8 events can be tracked, and will be reported after the priority level. This will affect utmost those products and services, where the customer’s decision-making time is longer than 7 days. This case if a customer clicks to an ad but purchases only later than 7 days, this purchase can not be connected to the Fb campaign.  
  • Conversion data from mobile web will be delayed up to three days. This means that remarketing audiences are not fully updated in real-time.
  • Dynamic Ads audience sizes will decrease
  • You will only be allowed to use 1 pixel per catalog.
  • Offline conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of ad impressions.
  • From late February, ads metrics data older than 37 months will no longer be reported.

Aggregated Event Measurement will be introduced, which results in partial event reporting. For every visit, only the highest priority event will be reported. So if someone arrives at your page, checks a product, adds to cart, and goes through checkout ending with a purchase, from this 5 pixel event (page view, ViewContent, ATC, IC and Purchase) only the Purchase event, as highest priority one will be displayed. 

What does it mean in everydays? You may see a decrease in the number of reported conversions and some of your ads may be paused or could stop being delivered to certain devices. 


Also the Facebook app itselves is affected by the changes. As 80% of Facebook traffic is mobile-only (with iOS domination in device-profile). The users, who do not give permission for the FB app, might / or will drop out from such remarketing lists and audiences which are used by advertisers. Without the necessary user approval it will be difficult or even impossible to aggregate the following of customers. This means smaller and incomplete remarketing audiences. 

There are a lot of brands and businesses, who can not afford to spend ten-or hundred thousand dollars for facebook ads –  so it is essential for them to minimize wasted money on false audiences. So if you ask, if retargeting will be possible in the future? The answer is: Yes, but prepare for less effective retargeting and higher advertising costs!

Read More: How IOS14 Might Affect Your Facebook Ads and Ecommerce Brand


  • Delay in event reporting, due to the Aggregated Event Measurement: this means you can react slower, and actually running “blind” during  the first days of the new campaigns
  • Less qualified reach: as your targeted audience partly (or even mostly if you are not lucky) will not give permission for data sharing, the size of highly relevant audiences will shrink. 
  • Less effective retargeting campaigns: Due the limited data, it will be more difficult to reach the most relevant group of people for your business. 
  • Difficulties in the exclusions: if the reported data is delayed for 3 days, you will keep on targeting the purchasers for an extra 3 days. This decreases effectiveness and increases CPA. In case your customer chose not to provide data – you can not even exclude them at all after they completing any events. 
  • Shrinking Audience sizes: some audience sizes can shrink to that level, which makes them quite impossible to target. 

Read More: What Facebook Changes Do We Expect to See in 2021

What Can We Do to Solve This? 

We do not have a lot of options so far… but as this affects simply too many companies and businesses, we can trust that the industry will find different solutions to minimize the effect of the changes. The Aggregated Events Measurements of Facebook, and  Google’s Consent Mode (still Beta) will use algorithm-modelled data for completing the missing data-gaps. Even with this, we cannot expect to get the exact precisity as before, but the trends are supposed to be correct. 

Some Tips to Try: 

  • Split cost and risk due advertising also on additional channels
  • Try using independent measurement tools
  • Prioritize your events
  • Try to implement broader / consolidated audiences for event-based campaigns
  • Try to reach your audience through email campaigns, improve their commitment and loyalty to make them purchase again. 

Don’t forget, not only you, but the whole industry is facing the same challenges. There will be plenty of information about the topic, and sooner-or later there will be a solution. Even if not perfect –  everyone will adapt to the new circumstances. 

Follow us for more information in the topic!


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