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  • Writer's pictureDallas Crum

Understanding The Apple iOS 14 Update (January 2021)

How this update will impact your digital advertising initiatives and what steps you can take right away.

The truth is, this is a big deal. Digital advertising is changing in 2021 (specifically with Apple devices). If you are advertising online, you’re going to want to take a few minutes to digest this article and/or watch the video.

The goal of this article is to help you understand what’s happening with Apple’s new iOS 14 update and how it might impact your business and your digital advertising initiatives.

What’s happening:

Apple’s new iOS14 update (coming early 2021) will prohibit certain data collection and sharing UNLESS people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via a prompt that will appear on the device before entering the app. As more people, opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ad personalization, and performance reporting will be limited for website conversion events.

Tim Cook’s (Apple CEO) recent Tweet shows an example of what this prompt might look like.

So what does this mean?

The long answer is EXTREMELY technical and goes into depth on how cookies and ad attribution works. ( If you would like the long answer, check out this video from one of our trusted eComm advisors Dee Deng)

The quick overview looks like this:

  • The algorithm won’t be quite as strong

  • Smaller/less effective retargeting audiences and dynamic ads

  • Measurement of ad KPI’s will change

  • Less clear (estimated results)

  • Delayed reporting

  • No support for breakdowns (age, gender, region, and placement)

  • Shorter and stricter attribution window (7-day click vs. 28-day click and 7-day view through)

Things to do right away:

  1. Verify your domain in business manager

  2. Implement Facebook's conversion API (directly in Shopify or via Google Tag Manager)

  3. Assess your attribution window (Understand how much of your conversions fall outside of the 7-day click window)

  4. Assess which 8 conversion events are the most meaningful for your business objectives

Things to plan and prep for: Lesser reliance on:

  • Dynamic ad retargeting

  • Real-time reporting

  • Longer than 7-day windows

Focus on:

  • Backend - email, SMS, messenger (list building)

  • Influencer marketing

  • SEO (Informational content creation - written & video)

  • Community building

What we are doing to make mitigate the negative impact of this change and make your life easier:

  • Help you verify your domain

  • Establish your 8 most important conversion events

  • Implement Facebook's conversion API (directly in Shopify or via Google Tag Manager)

  • Modify campaign structure

  • New “E-Commerce Scorecard” doc for reporting and measurement.

  • Help ideate and execute new strategies based on the impact


Nobody knows exactly how this update will impact your advertising and sales. We just know things will be changing and how we measure success and winning campaigns will change.

As always, we have your back and will do everything in our power to help you grow your business as efficiently as possible!

Additional Resources

- Deep explanation (YouTube Video)

- Facebook article “Preparing our partners for iOS 14: Mobile Web Advertising”:

- Facebook article “How Apple’s iOS 14 Release May Affect Your Ads”:

- Singular’s article “Key takeaways from Facebook’s major iOS 14 updates today”: (credit for the inspiration for my “Sally” reference)

- Mobile Dev Memo’s article “Understanding Facebook’s updated iOS14 advertising guidance”:

- Andrew Foxwell’s article “Facebook Advertising and iOS14: A Guide (and what to tell clients)”:

- Webkit (Safari) article “Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution For The Web”:

- Shopify’s Cookie Policy:

- Apple’s “User Privacy & Data Use” article:

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