How Apple’s iOS 14 Update Will Impact Real Estate Facebook Ads
If you’ve been poking around the internet lately, you might have come across talk of Apple’s new iOS 14 updates. It’s sort of taken the world of digital advertising by storm, and for good reason. If you’re running Facebook ad campaigns for your real estate business or plan to do so in the future, this update will directly impact you.
The good news: The effects of the update will probably not be nearly as bad as anticipated. In fact, Facebook advertising is still highly effective and lucrative, Apple update or no Apple update.
So, if you happen to read about the downfall of Facebook or Facebook advertising “not working” anymore, don’t pay it any mind. As long as you stay informed and make the needed adjustments, your Facebook ads’ performance should be just fine.
Here’s the Breakdown of What’s Happening with Apple and Facebook
Apple is updating their latest operating system, iOS 14, and it will limit user information exchanged with Facebook, prohibiting specific data collection and sharing.
Apple’s AppTracking Transparency framework aims to provide privacy protection for users.
Apple Store will require all mobile apps to have prompts for iOS 14 users. The message will give people the option to opt-in for tracking.
The update launched April 26, 2021. A study by Flurry Analytics unveiled that in the first three weeks of the iOS 14.5 rollout, the global daily opt-in rate for data collection averaged around 13%, and the U.S. daily opt-in rate averaged around 5%.
Apple devices with iOS 14 software and the Facebook Ad platform.
Who Is Affected?
Businesses and brands who run Facebook Ads and Facebook Business Tools to:
- target audiences
- track web conversion events (click, form submission, etc.)
- advertise mobile apps
- optimize ads
How Apple’s Update Could Impact Real Estate
Digital advertising is one of the major playing-field levelers in the business world. That is to say that small businesses, bootstrapped startups, and entrepreneurs can partake in this form of advertising because it doesn’t require large amounts of capital. While traditional advertising is often reserved for big corporations, digital advertising makes it possible for anyone to reach an audience, including real estate professionals.
The fear in the real estate industry is that Apple’s pop-up will persuade an overwhelming number of users to opt-out of tracking. And in turn, it would make getting results with Facebook ads harder and, therefore, more expensive. This could potentially knock smaller players on the ad network, such as real estate professionals, out of the game.
Major Changes to Campaigns
Conversion Campaigns and Custom Events Will Change
One of the biggest changes regarding the iOS 14 update is conversion campaigns and custom events. When a Facebook user leaves the app and visits your website, it was possible in the past to track an unlimited number of actions that users took on your website. These are called custom events, and they can be used to create custom audiences to send ads to.
For example, as a property manager, you might run real estate ads to get leads for your business. In doing so, you’ll likely send them to your website. There, you can track action by clicking on a contact button. You may have it set so all website visitors who click on your contact button are placed in a custom audience called “leads,” for example, and you may want to send follow-up ads to that custom audience to remind them to finish filling out a contact form. Unfortunately, Facebook tracking on privately owned domains is changing.
Domains Must Be Verified
The first change to note with conversion tracking is that you must verify your domain. This is a fairly simple process that will allow Facebook to ensure the legitimacy of websites they are sending users to.
The process can take as long as 48 hours to complete and can be done through a number of methods. You can alter the DNS records for your website, add to the HTML code of your website, or simply drop a piece of code into your website’s header.
Custom Events Will Be Limited
A big change for real estate ads will be the limitations placed on tracking custom events/conversions. Advertisers will now be limited to only 8 custom events, regardless of whether users have opted out of tracking. There will be even greater limitations for users who have opted out of tracking.
Major Changes to Data Reporting
The Attribution Window Has Changed
Prior to the update, the attribution window for actions taken on ads was a 28-day view, 7-day click. Now, all campaigns will be set to a 7-day view, 1-day click. The difference? Not as many conversions will be attributed to a 7-day view, 1-day click. If someone views your ad 10 days ago, then decides to visit your website and contact you, their actions won’t be attributed to your ad. This is because the ad view happened outside of the attribution window.
This is important to understand because it might start to look as though your ads aren’t performing as well when in reality, your conversions might be underreported. So, look at your overall results (how many leads you get), and realize that many of them were likely the result of running Facebook ads, even though they aren’t being reported in the Facebook ads manager as conversions.
Delays in Tracking and Reporting
Prior to the updates, data reporting was almost instantaneous. Due to limitations on tracking, there will also be delays in reporting. If metrics aren’t appearing in your ad’s manager right away, don’t panic. Changes can now take up to 72 hours to be reflected.
How to Adjust to the Changes
Use Alternative Tracking Methods
Determined to understand the results of your campaigns? You can use alternative methods of tracking such as UTM codes. These can be added to a URL, and they’ll help you understand your lead’s actions. Unfortunately, this won’t help with populating custom audiences in the Facebook ads manager. However, it will give you insight into the performance of your campaigns.
View Ads as a Part of an Overall Marketing Strategy
For real estate professionals such as real estate agents, property managers, real estate investors and others, you’ll want to view Facebook advertising as a part of a larger marketing strategy. While Facebook will still be able to generate results, depending on your strategy and business, you’ll get the best bang for your buck if you’re using ads to leverage other marketing strategies as well.
A great example is using email marketing. A real estate professional can run ads asking leads to provide their email address in exchange for a free downloadable guide or video training. By using ads to build an email list, you’ll be able to retarget your subscribers with ads as well as reach them via email.
Facebook ads will still be profitable for real estate professionals. The main differences moving forward will be a lack of reporting and the ability to understand the results of campaigns. Luckily, there are other ways to solve this problem outside of relying on Facebook reporting.
The other effect is a potential decrease in size for custom audiences, though this will depend on the number of users who opt-out of tracking. The good news is that advertisers can still use behaviors and interest targeting to reach the right audiences. Whatever you do, don’t stress about the iOS 14 update. With technology always comes new changes, and the best we can do is stay informed, adapt and succeed. But, to ensure a smooth transition, give us a call!