…And what advertisers can do to minimize the impact

Two new privacy policies – one a California state bill, and the other a new policy by Apple – are set to dramatically impact Facebook advertisers and their campaigns in 2020 and 2021.

  1. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was officially adopted by Facebook in July 2020, allows consumers to opt-out of data collection and request details about the data that has been collected about them.  
  1. In addition, Apple announced it will require apps to ask for user permission to collect data (including the type of data that advertisers use for retargeting) as part of its new iOS update. 

Advertisers are already feeling the impact of the CCPA, since many existing ads are no longer in compliance. This means that previously approved ads may be paused or rejected by Facebook altogether. The CCPA has left advertisers scrambling to salvage their campaigns.

Meanwhile, Facebook warned Apple that its planned policy change may make advertising ineffective on the new iOS 14. Their statement read, in part: 

“For developers and publishers using Audience Network, our ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 will be limited. As a result, some iOS 14 users may not see any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads from us, but they’ll be less relevant. Because of advertisers’ reduced ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns, app developers and publishers should expect lower CPMs on Audience Network and likely other ad networks on iOS.” 

In response to Facebook’s warning, Apple has since postponed the planned change to its privacy policy. But, advertisers should still brace themselves for it: The new policy is still set to take effect in early 2021. 

Read on to learn how the CCPA and iOS update might impact your advertising capabilities on Facebook, and what advertisers can do to minimize the impact. 

What the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) means for Facebook advertisers

The CCPA technically only applies to companies that deliver ads within California and:

  • Earn more than $25 million in annual gross revenue; or
  • Hold personal information for at least 50,000 consumers, households, or devices; or
  • Collect more than 50% of their revenue from selling personal data

Notably, pixel-based retargeting lists and similar audience lists are no longer available for the state of California.  

Under the CCPA, consumers can request, free of charge, detailed information about personal data that has been collected, including where it was collected from, the purpose of collecting the data, what third parties may have access to the data, and what data has been deleted. This means you’ll need to maintain clear and accurate records. 

If the CCPA applies to your business (or if you’d like to prepare in case the bill expands to include more businesses), you’ll need to make sure you’re in compliance first:

  • Set up Limited Data Use (LDU) in “events” on Facebook to limit the use of data from people in California. Facebook by default has enabled a transition period where data use from California is automatically limited (you may have already noticed the LDU impact your measurement and optimization).
  • If you need extra time to implement LDU, go to Events Manager and select the Data Sources tab, select the pixel, and then select Settings. You’ll be able to extend the transition period to Oct. 20, 2020.
  • If you are exempt from the CCPA, you can end the transition period early, which will resume your previous levels of measurement and optimization.

Once you’re in compliance, you can consider a few actions that might lessen the impact on your campaigns. 

How Facebook advertisers can minimize the impact of the CCPA to their campaigns

To maximize your campaigns with the CCPA restrictions in place, you’ll need to decide which changes to make at the campaign level. 

  • If Facebook users in the state of California aren’t essential to your ad campaign(s), consider adjusting your targeting to exclude California. Yes, you may miss a segment of potential customers, but you’ll also be able to skip the CCPA regulations entirely.
  • To retarget Californians without using a pixel on your website, consider retargeting Facebook users who have instead interacted with your ads or posts.
  • Consider setting up an opt-out form on your landing page that prevents the collection of data for users who opt-out. 

What Apple’s New Policy Means for Advertisers 

Facebook noted that, while there are many unknowns in regards to Apple’s policy for iOS 14, Facebook saw a 50% reduction in advertiser profits when personalization was removed from app ad install campaigns. In reality, the company said, the impact could be much greater. 

Although Apple has since decided to postpone its update, it has not indicated that it will change course completely. Instead, the company stated, “To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to obtain permission to track users starting early next year.”

How Facebook advertisers can minimize the impact of the iOS update to their campaigns

Apple’s privacy policy change may impact your revenue regardless of the steps you take. But here are two ways to adjust your ad campaigns in preparation for this new reality: 

  • Experiment with moving your advertising spend to platforms other than iOS 
  • Plan to limit iOS advertising to broad awareness campaigns

Facebook announced that it’s looking for ways to help advertisers through this change. Set up a Google alert if updates related to this change are important to your brand. 

How You Can Prepare for Future Changes to User Privacy Rules

To protect your advertising capabilities into the new year, ensure your advertising team collects user data ethically, maintains accurate records, and follows current Facebook Ad policies

If you advertise on other platforms, you should also make sure your ads are up-to-date on their ad policies as well: 

Google Ads Policies

LinkedIn Advertising Policies

Microsoft Advertising Policies (Bing)

Pinterest Advertising Policies

Reddit Advertising Policies

Snapchat Advertising Policies

Twitter Advertising Policies

YouTube Video Ad Policies

Since developing, managing, and adjusting ad campaigns to meet regulations can be a time-intensive activity, especially when you’re advertising on multiple platforms, you may wish to hire an ad agency that can alert you to policy changes and adjust your ad campaigns to comply with the latest rules.