Guide to Facebook Attribution Changes for iOS 14

On August 26th, Facebook provided Branch an official update on how they’ll be handling IDFA and attribution with the upcoming release of iOS 14. Facebook’s public statement on these updates can be found here, and Facebook has been individually communicating this information to their customers.

Branch customers running Mobile App Install (MAI) and App Event Optimization (AEO) campaigns on Facebook will need to update their Branch SDK (this was already required for SKAdNetwork compatibility) and Facebook SDK (if used). Advertisers will also need to take some Facebook-specific actions listed below, including setting up a new Facebook ad account for iOS 14.

Branch is expecting to make some behind-the-scenes updates for compatibility with Facebook's new system. Facebook will be sharing tech docs with us in the coming days, and we will provide additional information as we receive it.

Key Takeaways

Facebook will not ask users for tracking consent
Apple’s iOS 14 will give apps the ability to ask users for tracking consent, including access to IDFAs. Facebook decided they will not be asking users for tracking consent, meaning Facebook won’t have access to user IDFAs within their family of apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger).

Facebook will continue to provide support for Mobile App Install (MAI) and App Event Optimization (AEO) campaigns
Advertisers should update their app for iOS 14 by using either a new version of the Facebook SDK, which should be available in early September, or an updated SDK from a compatible MMP.

The updated Facebook SDK will also enable apps to send a flag to Facebook to restrict data use on a per-event basis. If advertisers decide not to send Facebook a flag indicating an iOS 14 event is opted-in for tracking, Facebook will restrict their use of that event. For advertisers relying on the Facebook SDK to send App Events, only the updated SDK version will allow events from users on iOS 14 to be used for optimizing app ads.

For advertisers relying on the Branch SDK to send App Events, Facebook will support MAI and AEO once Branch integrates Facebook's new SKAN API implementation, which we plan to do. Facebook is working with all MMPs about the required changes prior to the iOS 14 launch. We will provide updates on timing and details as we learn more from Facebook.

Facebook's Recommendations to Customers

  • Update to the latest versions of the Facebook and/or Branch SDKs, depending on which SDKs an advertiser has integrated into their app:
    1. Only the updated Facebook SDK: Facebook can provide both MAI and AEO campaigns.
    2. Both updated Facebook SDK + Branch SDK: Facebook can provide MAI and AEO campaigns as long as events are funneled through the FB SDK.
    3. Only the Branch SDK: MAI and AEO campaigns will be enabled once Branch builds support for Facebook's new Conversion Bit Schema (sending a JSON mapping of conversion values/events to an API), which we are planning to do. The timing is TBD - we are awaiting technical documentation from Facebook, and will provide updates as soon as possible.
  • Consider implementing non-IDFA Facebook matching methods such as Facebook Advanced Matching, or adopting Facebook Login.
  • Create a new ad account dedicated to running app install ads to people using iOS 14 via Facebook’s new account creation experience (launches early September).
  • Implement the new “Advertiser Tracking Enabled” flag to enable matching for people using iOS 14 (further details to come).

Additional Recommendations from Branch

  • Migrate Facebook campaigns to alternative ad types that support Branch tracking links, to take advantage of Branch’s Predictive Modeling for device-level data.