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iOS 14: What’s happening, what you need to know, and what you need to do

Bridget Johnston January 11, 2021

Everyone is hearing a lot about iOS 14 and the impact it is expected to have on digital marketing. This blog post is meant to inform you with what’s happening, what you need to do, and what Pattern89 is doing to ensure you are equipped to handle what’s ahead.

What’s happening:

  • iOS 14 Release: Apple’s release of iOS 14 includes privacy management implications that will change how advertisers are able to track consumer activity and personalize ads. Consumers must now opt in, rather than opt out, of making their IDFA’s available for advertisers. 
  • What is an IDFA? IDFA refers to “Identity For Advertisers.” This is a persistent ID used by mobile devices running an Apple Operating system (iOS, iPadOS, tvOS), that, when shared with app developers, ad platforms, & mobile measurement providers (MMPs) powers the targeting & delivery of personalized advertising.
  • Impact on advertising: Prior to iOS 14, this identifier was shared by default — enabling highly personalized advertising as a result. Following iOS 14’s release, the expectation is that most users will not opt in to this tracking and thus advertising will become dramatically less personalized for consumers with iOS devices.


  • September 16 2020: iOS 14 release by Apple
  • December 16 2020: 72% of iOS devices had installed iOS 14 with projections that majority of consumers would have the software by the end of 2020
  • Mid-January 2021: the expected enforcement date of displaying the prompt, at which time Facebook and all other apps will see if users will remain opted in or choose to opt out of sharing their IDFA

Key actions to take:

If you are advertising on Facebook today, these are actions you need to take and prepare for right away. Similar changes may be required across all marketing channels that interact with people on Apple devices.

Domain Verification
What you need to know: If you use Facebook to drive traffic to your website and measure conversions with the Facebook pixel, you may need to verify your domain in order to avoid any disruption.

What you need to do: It is a quick process that you can manage from your Facebook Business Manager.

Maximum of eight conversion events
What you need to know: Following the effective date of these changes, you will be limited to eight total conversion events that campaigns can be optimized toward (combined across standard and/or custom events). There will be a new way to manage these events in Events Manager where you will prioritize your top eight. Any ad sets optimizing toward an ad set outside of the top eight will be paused when these changes go live.

What you need to do: So, now is the time to prepare for this change by deciding which events you will use and setting your current ad sets to one of those eight in order to avoid disruption.

Attribution window changes
What you need to know: Attribution windows will be changing in major ways. First, attribution windows will be managed at the ad set level instead of the account level. Second, 28-day attribution windows will be eliminated entirely.

What you need to do: First, you should prepare yourself for what your results may look like once this change occurs. For anyone currently using 28-day attribution, their windows will be automatically set to the new default of 7-day click-through attribution. You can use Facebook’s “comparing attribution windows” feature to see what your data looks like when measured through different windows. If you have automatic optimizations or rules in place that operate off of current performance levels, make sure to prepare and update those to respond to your new levels of performance.

Prepare for lower performance and smaller website custom audiences

What you need to know: Because of the diminishing identity data, website custom audiences are expected to drop in size. Thus, dynamic ads and retargeting campaigns are expected to be smaller in scale and worse in reported performance. Remember, even if the conversions still occur on your website — they may not still be attributed back to your ads in Facebook, even if your Facebook ads were responsible for those conversions.

What you need to do: Identify how your campaign optimization strategies may need to change to account for these changes in performance (i.e., alternative audience options, different bidding strategies, etc.).

You can read more about the actions Facebook recommends and/or requires for web advertisers and a longer list of requirements for app advertisers.

What Pattern89 is doing:

Pattern89 wants to ensure that you can rely on our platform to execute a data-driven creative strategy. Now more than ever, creative will be key in upleveling performance in a world where other tools are being stripped away.

Here are a few actions we are taking to ensure our platform supports your business:

Attribution window updates
When these changes become effective, some attribution windows (i.e., 28-day click-through) will no longer be supported. Pattern89 will attempt to pull all of your future data based on your current attribution windows if they are still supported. If not, Pattern89 will begin pulling all of your future data based on new defaults for Facebook. You will be able to work with your Pattern89 representative to request alternative attribution windows.

Optimize dynamic benchmarking and results
Because your results may instantly diminish at the time of these changes, Optimize dynamic benchmarking will need to adapt instantly to your new performance levels.

To accommodate this change, Optimize will reset dynamic benchmarks and lookback windows the moment these changes become effective in order to optimize your creative based on your new performance levels going forward.

Predict machine learning
Our data science teams are planning our models around the expected lowering in results. We’re ahead of these changes to ensure your predictions continue to be accurate without disruption.

These are significant changes occurring to the advertising ecosystem. At Pattern89, we are committed to partnering with our customers every step of the way.