How iOS 14.4 will affect crowdfunding

Apple's iOS 14.4 is going to change how ad tracking works, but it's not the end of the world.

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Joe Piperni

How iOS 14.4 will affect crowdfunding

As you’ve probably heard by now, Apple’s new iOS 14 update is bringing with it changes to the way advertising will work on iPhones. Starting with iOS 14.4, apps are required to ask users for permission to track them across other apps and websites. It’s safe to assume that a large percentage of users will opt out of tracking. So what effects is iOS 14.4 going to have on Facebook advertising and how will that affect crowdfunding?

The good news

When news of the update first broke, almost everyone who does digital advertising was pretty spooked. When we heard about the changes that were coming without the details underneath, we all worried that it would make digital advertising a lot harder, if not outright impossible.

Well, the good news—great news, really—is that this is no longer what we think is going to happen, and we’re all breathing a big sigh of relief.

This is going to change some things, and there will be some differences going forward, but it’s not going to affect advertising nearly as badly as we thought it might.

What changes we’re expecting

So if it’s not going to be the end of advertising as we know it, what changes are we expecting to see going forward?

  • The attribution window is going to shrink
  • You won’t be able to track data in the same granular way, but you can still track for a single object no matter what
  • There will be a longer delay in reporting
  • Offline transactions are going to become a part of tracking in a big way

We’ll break down what each of these means in detail below.

Shrinking attribution window

Until recently, the maximum attribution window in Facebook was 28 days. This means that if someone clicked on your ad on Facebook, Facebook would remember that for 28 days; if they purchased within that 28-day period, Facebook would record that conversion. This allowed you to take a longer view of your sales cycle, looking back a full four weeks to see what was working.

With the new updates, the attribution window will shrink dramatically; the new window will be 7 days. This means that you won’t be able to track people for nearly as long as you were previously able to.

New tracking system

Before, advertisers were able to track every single piece of data throughout the entire process. Now, that view will be much more limited: you’ll only be able to track for 8 conversion events overall, and for people who opt out of tracking, you’ll only be able to see one event.

Facebook will set the 8 most important conversion events for your site, but you can change these to track whatever 8 events you want. You will then need to prioritize that list, telling Facebook which is most important down to which is least. This way, if someone opts out of tracking, you’ll be able to see what the highest action on that list is, even if you can’t see everything that happened to get them to that point.

Reporting delay

Facebook’s tracking right now is almost instantaneous; you can often see results in a matter of a handful of hours. This won’t be true with the new update; because it will take time for Facebook’s algorithm to track the data points behind the scenes, results could be delayed. We’ll know more about this as the rollout occurs, but you’ll no longer be able to access results instantly. You will have to take a longer view of your advertising results since they won’t be updated as quickly.

New-old ways of tracking

Although the Facebook pixel has become commonplace, it’s far from the only way to track things. Think about things like secret perks or specific discount codes—things that you can set yourself and differentiate based on different traffic sources. You can then upload that data back into your Facebook pixel to help optimize your traffic.

How does the iOS 14.4 rollout affect crowdfunding?

Everyone is still in the process of figuring out exactly how this is going to affect their industry. We’ll update you on exactly how iOS 14.4 is going to affect crowdfunding once we have more answers, but for now, here’s what we’re thinking.

This is going to change the reservation funnel

Before, the data reports let us see the cost per lead as well as cost per reservation. Since we’ll only be able to track for one conversion event now, the reservation funnel system and how we’ll optimize audiences in the future will change.

The delay in reporting will create challenges for shorter campaigns

Reports could take up to three days to reflect accurately in the Facebook ad manager. This means that you’ll have to stay on your toes and be ready to move quickly. This has always been important, but will become even more so as the new changes roll out.

You may have trouble using the Facebook pixel on Indiegogo

You will have to verify your domain before being able to track it to the fullest extent… but you don’t own Indiegogo, so you can’t verify it with Facebook. (This won’t affect Kickstarter, since Kickstarter doesn’t let you use the Facebook pixel at all.) Facebook’s current suggestion is to optimize for the top part of your funnel, like a landing page, since landing page views won’t be subject to domain verification.

Using change to our advantage

LaunchBoom is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these changes. Here’s why:

  1. We have an extensive list of customers and crowdfunding backers that we can leverage to build audiences. We can dynamically integrate this data to capitalize on relevant information, including purchase history, engagement, average order value, and lifetime value.
  2. As an omnichannel partner, our success does not rely solely on one platform’s reporting accuracies. As we continue to grow full marketing funnels (including onsite development, email and SMS, Google and YouTube, and Facebook), it makes sense to view the strategy as a sum of its parts rather than looking at each part in isolation. Each part both depends on and supports the others to achieve success.
  3. With an omnichannel partnership, we are able to measure our success simply by accounting marketing as a percent of revenue. 
  4. There’s no doubt that those who have not thought through the ramifications of these changes and taken steps to prepare will have a difficult time coping. In an auction-based platform like Facebook ads, this will work to our advantage.

Final thoughts… for now

iOS 14.4 has only been released in beta, so for now, all we have to work on is the reports of people in that beta pool and what we’re hearing from Facebook and Apple. It’s a constantly moving target, and while we’re confident in everything we’re reporting right now, things are subject to change as the rollout happens and we get more information on how things work.

It’s also important to remember that no matter how huge this seems, it’ll only affect a portion of your traffic. Not everyone using iOS is going to opt out, and people on non-iOS devices (Android, Google phones, and web traffic, for example) won’t be affected.

However, the thing that we’re most confident about is that our team here at LaunchBoom is ready and able to meet these new challenges. No matter what happens with iOS 14.4, our team is the best in the business at collecting, interpreting, and using data for crowdfunding campaigns, and that’s not going to change. If you’re interested in talking with us about managing your ads or your campaign, apply here!

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