With the new iOS 14.5 update for iPhones, Apple intends to change the way users share private data with large advertisers like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. This will require any medical practice using Facebook Ads to advertise on the platform to make changes in their Ads Manager dashboard. The changes are fairly simple and Facebook has provided ample documentation to assist even novice users of its platform make the required updates.

In other words, the change will impact your practice if you’re currently advertising on Facebook, but it’s an easy enough update to handle (or send to your marketing team to handle).

What is Apple Changing?

Simply put, Apple wants to put their users in control of their own data. Up until iOS 14.5 rolls out in the last week of April 2021, user data was shared with ad platforms pretty much automatically. This enabled platforms like Facebook to gather buying preferences of their users and utilize that data to deliver the ads that will most interest them. 

This feature helped advertisers target users who are most likely to become a customer. A user who clicks on ads for a pair of sunglasses and would be shown more ads about sunglasses, as an example. It is, quite honestly, what makes digital ads an effective marketing tool.

However, when Apple device users update to iOS 14.5 they will be asked if they want to “opt in” to this data collection, whereas before they needed to “opt out.” It is expected that most users will choose not to participate in the data collection, and therefore make it more difficult for platforms like Facebook to perform at the same level it has been for years. Since Apple devices account for a large portion of the market, this is expected to have a large effect on Facebook’s ad platform (and their revenue).

But, since Facebook was notified of this change months ago it has prepared for this seismic shift in digital advertising. Still, it will require a few steps from users.

What Needs to be Done on Facebook?

Facebook ads impacted by Apple's iOS 14 privacy settingsAny user of Facebook Ads will need to log into their account and make a few changes to prepare for iOS 14.5 – specifically with regard to tracking conversions. 

Conversion events are the actions on your website you’ve told Facebook to look for that are valuable to you. For most medical practices, this usually means filling out a contact form or tapping the phone number to call the office. These are also the actions Facebook recorded of all users to determine how likely or not they would be to take similar actions on other websites. 

That’s the data that powered their delivery tools.

Since Apple will no longer allow Facebook to record and use that data from any user who opts out of data collection, Facebook has made changes to its systems to both comply with Apple’s new policies (noncompliance gets apps delisted from the app store), and still deliver the best results to its advertisers. 

When you log into your advertising account, you will likely see a new tab labeled “Resource Center” that will list what changes you need to make with links to pages that will, in detail, walk you through those changes. This can be anything from verifying your domain by adding a piece of code to your site to modifying your Facebook pixel (the code that looks for conversion events) — how much needs to be done depends on how your account was initially set up.

Resource suggestions for Facebook ads caused by Apple iOS 14.5 update
Warning pain in Facebook for Apple iOS 14 changes

Will This Affect My Ad Performance?

Following the steps Facebook has laid out in your Ads Manager is the best way to ensure that your ads will perform optimally. As to the question of how this will affect Facebook’s ability to deliver ads to the right audience, we will probably need to be patient as the company works through the growing pains of this new privacy update. 

By performing the tasks Facebook has outlined, one thing is certain: you’ll be setting yourself up in the best position for success.