Facebook Ads & Apple iOS 14 Update: What You Need to Know

Are you a small business that runs Facebook and/or Instagram ads? Then this news is for you!

Maybe you’ve seen the news about an Apple operating system update coming soon (iOS 14 for mobile devices, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14) that could potentially be a GAME CHANGER for businesses running Facebook and Instagram ads. And not in a way that has advertisers excited.

This OS update is focused on privacy and how and when users’ app data is shared. The specific update that will affect Facebook and Instagram advertisers relates to permissions–that is, the app user giving explicit permission to Facebook and Instagram to track, collect, and use their data. 

In the past, permissions like this are typically buried in an app’s Privacy Policy that most users quickly scroll through and click “I agree”. And in order to opt-out of data collection and tracking, you’d have to dig into your settings later. Almost no one does that. But with iOS 14, in terms of Facebook and Instagram app users, what this means is that users will have to actively opt-IN to data tracking and collection.


So, what does this mean? 

First, let me recommend this blog post by Jon Loomer (an often-frequented Facebook advertising resource in our office). This is a hefty read, probably better suited for more advanced Facebook marketers, but he doesn’t leave much out. 

If you’re like most small business owners/marketers that dabble in Facebook and Instagram ads, here’s the nitty gritty:

  • Reporting: Reporting of results may be delayed, and depending on the way your ad campaigns and ad sets are constructed, you may see “estimated results” based on statistical modeling.
  • Data breakdowns: Performance breakdowns based on things like age, gender, region, and placement will no longer be available
  • Targeting limitations: As more people download the iOS 14 update and opt-out of data tracking, the size of your target audiences will likely decrease, probably significantly. Namely, these audiences include people that have engaged with your page or your website (i.e. retargeting).
  • Dynamic ads: If you utilize the Facebook Pixel to collect specific conversion data from your website visitors and serve ads based on that information, you’ll be limited on the amount of conversion events that are tracked: 8. This will likely affect the users that are using the Facebook Pixel in a pretty sophisticated way, for instance, serving people that visited certain pages on their site or showed interest in specific products specific ads tailored to those visits/interests.

One thing I have noticed in my research on this iOS 14 update is that it doesn’t appear that there will be much impact to broad targeting campaigns. Of course, there’s still much to be seen as this update rolls out and more and more people begin opting out of sharing their data. 


Here’s a very quick TL;DR version for you readers whose eyes glazed over after you read words like “privacy policy” and “conversion data”:

  • Super valuable advertising audiences comprised of past visitors to your site will likely be drastically reduced
  • Reporting will probably be less robust than what we’re used to in Ads Manager
  • We won’t be able to serve product or page-specific ads (based on user website visit data) as easily, and those audiences, like standard retargeting audiences, will be much smaller


There’s significantly more to this iOS 14 update and its repercussions for all advertisers, but we’ve collected the info that’ll more than likely affect small business owners who mostly spend their time boosting posts, selecting broad interest targeting for their campaigns, and may only dabble in Facebook’s retargeting capabilities.

You also may have noticed that this post is filled with lots of “probablys”, “presumablys”, and “potentiallys”. As this update rolls out and we learn more, we’ll update you here!