What is an App Campaign?
When you scroll through Facebook on your mobile device, you will most likely come across an app advertisement, if not several of them. Facebook’s Business Suite offers specialized app promotion tools and guidelines that “get more people to download and use your app.”
These campaigns are unique because they take potential leads right into the app store and prompt them to download the product. Custom calls-to-action tempt your audience to take app download-specific steps like “Play Now” or “Install Now” while letting you skip the landing page builds you’d typically use for promotions.
As with other Facebook ad types, you can customize your audience, budget, and which specific action, or event, that you’re tracking. Facebook provides a comprehensive guide for event tracking, as the process can be a little complicated. Standard events include app installs, app launches, and in-app purchases, but your developers can manually code for custom events.
The Impact of iOS 14 on App Campaigns
Facebook has been very vocal about how Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy will create significant problems for all businesses who use the social media platform’s app for mobile ads, but app developers face unique concerns.
A recent Business Help Center topic states, “Apple has announced changes with iOS 14 that will impact how we receive and process conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.
Specifically, Apple will begin to require that all apps in the App Store show a discouraging prompt to users on iOS 14 devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization, and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.”
Basically, iOS 14 will make it almost impossible for mobile app campaigns to track and aggregate data, which will affect a business’s ability to retarget and personalize your marketing materials.
Facebook’s “workaround” includes an updated Software Development Kit (SDK), as well as beefed-up support for Mobile Measurement Partners (MMP) and App Events API. The latter requires a little more work on the developer end, specifically regarding compatibility with Apple’s SKAdNetwork.
The Rise of Apple’s SKAdNetwork
This framework, which has been offered as an alternative to IDFA since 2018, is a more privacy-focused method for aggregating data. Now, the iOS 14 rollout will shift it from “option” to “absolute necessity.” Across the board, industries are recognizing that IDFA opt-in rates are going to be extremely low. Apple is forcing developers to play ball or accept their fate with a complete disconnect from the data collection they require to market their product.
AdMonsters summarizes what the SKAdNetwork will require, which comes down to three different parties all working together for advertisers to receive the data for the app campaigns on iOS devices:
- Ad networks need to register and integrate with Apple and then sign each ad appropriately.
- The publisher app needs to indicate to the OS on each relevant ad click (passing the signature to the OS).
- The advertised app needs to indicate it was opened, and ‘grade’ each user’s quality based on their activity (to enable measurements of quality of users per campaign).
The new Facebook SDK 8.1 we mentioned earlier is designed to play nicely with SKAdNetwork, and its use allows you to gather data on app install ads. In fact, Facebook notes that by not updating to their newest SDK, you will not be able to access critical features, including the ability to:
- Deliver more personalized ads to iOS 14 users.
- Continue to measure app install ads.
- Continue to optimize for mobile app installs, app event optimization (AEO), and value optimization (VO).
- Continue to optimize for app installs and event optimization with Automated App Ads.
- Send the Advertiser Tracking Enabled flag with app events to share user consent status.
- Share app events from iOS 14 users if the Advertiser Tracking Enabled flag is sent and set to true.
If you work with an MMP, you should continue to check in with them regarding their place in the integration process, but Facebook is working with several of them to help speed along and optimize the process.
If you are running the App Events API, you will need to ensure that you’ve configured support for the SKAdNetwork and for your ads to run app event optimization and value optimization campaigns.
Overwhelmed? Nativ3 Can Help
If you were planning on rolling out an app in the next few months, you’re probably feeling a little anxious about whether or not the process is worth it if iOS 14 will limit your data tracking. While the whole situation is still developing, Nativ3 can get started helping you build, configure, and advertise your app. We understand the nitty-gritty of what needs to be done and can help you comply with all the requirements without sacrificing beautiful, eye-catching ad creative. We’ll handle the hard stuff, giving you more time to run your business.