Staying Ahead Of The Curve: Adapting To Privacy- Focused Advertising With Meta's Latest Updates
The ever-changing digital advertising landscape has undergone numerous transformations in recent years to safeguard user privacy online. Key developments include the implementation of GDPR legislation in 2018 and Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update in 2021. Interestingly, further changes may be on the horizon, with Apple targeting the removal of UTM parameters.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom for advertisers. Google has extended the deadline for third-party cookie deprecation to 2024, and Meta is now updating some of its mandatory rules regarding Aggregated Events Management.
These privacy changes aim to protect individuals while also finding a balance for advertisers who heavily rely on digital advertising for success.
Meta's Initial Response to ATT
In response to these changes, Meta introduced new measures to preserve the privacy of iOS 14.5 opted-out users. Aggregated Event Measurement is a protocol that allows for measurement of web and app events from people using iOS 14.5 and later devices by, as the name suggests, aggregating events. It’s analogous to Apple’s Private Click Measurement but is designed to solve for key advertiser use cases not addressed by Apple.
These measures included:
- Advertisers must complete Domain Verification to prove they have ownership of the domain as AEM events & conversions are all domain based.
- Limiting the number of conversion events to a maximum of 8 for optimization purposes.
- Prioritizing these events in hierarchical order, ensuring that only the highest value event was passed back to Meta.
These changes had a significant impact on the number of events attributed to campaigns within the platform, leading to less reliable reporting regarding Meta’s contribution to campaign objectives.
June Surprise: Changes to Aggregated Event Measurement
Interestingly, Meta has recently made adjustments to these processes that were previously standard for advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
Since Meta introduced event limitations for web campaigns in 2021, they have been investing in AI models and Privacy-Enhancing Technologies, such as differential privacy, in addition to other privacy-protecting measures that make it easier for advertisers to drive performance and understand their investments on their platform while honoring people’s data use choices.
Across our ad accounts at Realtime Agency, we have observed a rollback on the rules imposed on advertisers.
But these changes aren’t just limited to web campaigns - there have been changes too to SKAN 4.0 to support App Promotion Campaigns.
If you want to check fi your app is eligible for Aggregated Event Measurement you can check your eligibility here.
But what impact would these changes have on your advertising campaigns?
Campaigns may appear to perform better:
- Given that the previous changes limited the number of events attributed to a campaign, you may notice an increase in reported conversion events. This can create a perceived performance boost for your campaigns, with more conversions and lower CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).
- However, it is important to note that this does not necessarily indicate actual campaign improvement; it simply means that more events are being reported, which may have been occurring previously but went unreported.
Campaigns might actually perform better
- With the potential increase in optimization events being sent to a campaign, the algorithm gains more data points and conversions to optimize, allowing Meta’s powerful machine learning to target customers more likely to convert. This may result in campaigns exiting the learning phase more quickly and optimizing better, leading to enhanced campaign performance.
- Every advertiser’s situation is unique. The best way to drive long term performance is to test, learn, and then scale
More conversion events:
- Without the limitation of eight conversion events per domain, advertisers have greater flexibility in measuring events across campaigns. This allows for comprehensive tracking of all significant steps in advertising campaigns, enabling deeper analysis for advertisers who are willing to track more than 8 events.
- Additionally, firing a greater number of events provides the opportunity to build larger custom audiences based on specific events. E-commerce advertisers, in particular, can benefit from this, as they often rely on remarketing audiences to drive Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Measurement For All
- Speaking of measurement, beginning on 20th June Meta’s Conversion Lift no longer requires the Conversion API (CAPI). Although it continues to be the recommended integration. Meta says they have now brought the tool back to pre-ATT functionality. Advertisers can run Conversion Lift with the data sources of their choice: CAPI/CAPI-Gateway (for app, web, or offline), App Events API (via Meta SDK, MMP SDK, or App Events API) or Pixel.
- Why didn’t Meta bring back Conversion Lift tests for these business tools before now? Meta prioritized providing Conversion Lift measurement for the most future-ready data source, CAPI. They are bringing back the other data sources as part of our commitment to providing measurement solutions on clients’ terms.
The digital marketing landscape is in a constant state of flux, but one thing is certain: we are gradually moving towards a more privacy-focused environment for digital advertising. However, these changes have been implemented gradually, and it seems that everyone, from major tech companies to individual digital marketers, is adapting and finding ways to navigate them as they arise.
Please refer to your MMP POC to determine the specifics behind their support and timeline. Meta partners will need time to update their reporting solutions to take advantage of this newly released functionality, and each MMP is responsible for their own testing and requirements for setting up their AEM for App Promotion support with Meta.
Yes, on June 16, 2021, Meta announced that advertisers who were primarily targeting Android users or who were unable to meet the previous domain verification requirements had the flexibility to optimize for website conversions using non-prioritized events. With that change, advertisers who chose to optimize for non-prioritized events were not able to reach or report on iOS14.5+ or later users who have opted-out of tracking via Apple’s ATT prompt. With Meta’s recent announcement, all advertisers, regardless of their target audience, running website conversion campaigns will no longer have to prioritize their top 8 events for web conversion optimization.