Juliette Belfiore
May 27, 2021

How retargeting is impacted by iOS 14.5?

“iOS 14.5: only 12% of users let applications track their activity”. This is the result of the first two weeks of the App Tracking Transparency, according to Flurry. Since the update, only 4% of US users allow apps to track their data. 12% at a global scale. 😁

Apple's iOS 14 update was launched on April 26, 2021. From now, whenever a user downloads or updates an application, their consent is required. 

This update leads to major changes in the management of the personal data collected. This obviously has an impact on the performance of social media advertising campaigns and on retargeting.  

Even Facebook states that “the size of retargeting audiences may decrease as more devices update to iOS 14.5”.

What will be the impact? Is it going to be really significant?

In this article, we will see how the iOS 14 update affects retargeting.
What are the solutions 🙌, and why you can continue retargeting with PixelMe.

  • What is the iOS 14.5 update and what are the consequences?

1/ What is changing since the iOS 14 update on users' personal data collection?

2/ What is an IDFA?

3/ Who is impacted by iOS 14.5?

  • Is the iOS update really significant for retargeting?

1/ How to measure your iOS users with Facebook Analytics?

2/ The future of retargeting

3/ Thanks to PixelMe, you can continue retargeting!

  • 4 Solutions to reduce impacts of iOS 14 updates

1/ Use Facebook Ads Auto Advanced Matching

2/ Verify your domain

3/ Prioritize events

4/ Install Facebook Conversion API

What is the iOS 14.5 update and what are the consequences?

1/ What is changing since the iOS 14 update on users' personal data collection?

Privacy and the use of data are central to the latest update to Apple operating systems (iOS 14, iPad OS 14, and tvOS 14). 

The iOS 14.5 update sends users a push notification prompting them to allow apps to track activity. It gives users the ability to choose to block sharing their IDFA (unique identifier) at the App level. This “opt-in” process is new: previously, consumers had to opt-out. 

For people who choose to opt-out, it doesn’t mean they will no longer see ads, it just means the ads they received will not be impersonal and potentially irrelevant.

2/ What is an IDFA?

Until now, apps have been relying on Apple’s Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) to track users for targeting and advertising purposes. 

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is a unique identifier for mobile devices and is used to target and measure the effectiveness of advertising on a user level across mobile devices.

With this new AppTrackingTransparency framework, an application that would like to use this unique identifier to track what you are doing on your iPhone will have to ask your permission to do so.

3/ Who is impacted by iOS 14.5?

  • Application developers are required to provide detailed information about the personal data they may collect about their users.
  • Mobile applications (like Facebook, Snap, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) need to obtain their users' consent in order to track them.

For instance, if Facebook has fewer tracked pre-buy signals, it will reduce the size of retargeting audiences. Also, custom retargeting audiences will not update fully in real-time.

In short, all businesses that advertise on Facebook and Instagram to find new customers, generate leads, and make online sales will be impacted.

😉Good to know: this change doesn't just affect new apps in the App Store. All apps that have been updated since December 8, 2020, had to fill out their detailed AppStore sheet specifying all the information they collect and asking all of their existing users for permission.

Is it really significant for retargeting?

1/ How to measure your iOS users with Facebook Analytics?

First of all, remember that this is only a mobile update. For now, desktop browsing remains out. So, if you sell products on your website, nothing is going to change for your desktop traffic. For your mobile traffic, you won't have the data (in your FB ad manager - you will always have it on your site directly) for people who have opted out. But this is a first alert and an important signal on upcoming developments on Chrome and Safari. 

Much of the impact will depend on how many users opt out of tracking

In order to measure the real impact of this update on your retargeting campaign, 

we advise you to measure the number of people using iOS from your Facebook Analytics.

Here are 3 easy steps to check the potential data loss on Facebook Analytics :

  • Go to Facebook Analytics (look for the "statistics" tab in your Business Manager)
  • Apply the following filter: "People who use iOS"
  • Measure the proportion of your traffic on iOS

😉 Good to know: Unfortunately, we learned at the end of March that Facebook Analytics will be phased out on June 30, 2021, so take advantage as the tool is still available!

If you assume that half of your users are using iOS. Then, 70% opt out. Therefore "only" 35% of your traffic will be affected. You will no longer be able to retarget these people and effectively measure their actions on your website thanks to the Facebook pixel.

2/ The future of retargeting

The Youtuber Ben Heath in the video “Is Facebook Ads Retargeting Going Away With iOS 14?!” gives us a taste of tomorrow's retargeting =

  • Less lays of retargeting
  • Simplest sells funnel
  • Give facebook more flexibility to operate ad campaigns
  • More people to interact with your Facebook ad

➠ You can do retargeting from people who clicked on your ad or interact with your video. The retargeting can be closer to facebook sources and away from your website or app.

➠ ➠ PixelMe is the perfect tool for this! 🙌

3/ Thanks to PixelMe, you can continue retargeting!

PixelMe is not really impacted by the iOS 14 changes.

You should know that 90% of PixelMe users do retargeting from people who clicked on a Facebook ads first.

Let’s come closer! 🔦

Prepare your ad and retargeting after

You prepare your advertising. 

On your PixelMe Link Manager, you can create your link. 

Embed the Facebook pixel in the URL of your ad. 

Shorten your ad link to a tiny one. See all the setup here!

Add your shortened link in your Facebook ads Manager as a destination URL.

What happens when a user clicks on your ad?

When a user clicks on your ad, Facebook will automatically put its ID on the URL, which looks like:


When the pixel placed into the shortened link will fire, Facebook recognize its code, and thanks to it, FB will be able to collect data.

Facebook uses the first-party cookie instead of the third-party cookie, to continue to track and retarget people who clicked on PixelMe links.

You’ll be able to retarget all the people who clicked on your Facebook ad! 

What is the difference between the first-party cookie vs the third-party cookie?

“Market and Hustle” Youtube channel explains very well in a short video that difference:

A first-party cookie is created by a domain or a website to enhance your experience when you are on a website. For instance, your user name, address, payment information are saved when you come back to the website.

A third-party cookie is placed by advertisers to personalized or retargets you with ads. 

4 Solutions to reduce impacts of iOS 14 updates

1 / Use Facebook Ads Auto Advanced Matching

Advanced Matching collect emails in your conversion forms to use Facebook Ads automatic correspondence. 

It asks your pixel to search for form fields and other recognizable sources on your website that collect information such as ‘last name’, ‘first name’, and ‘email address’. The FB pixel receives this information along with the event or action that takes place. This information is hashed in the visitor's browser. 

2/ Verify your domain

Domain verification has the authority to configure and prioritize the eight available conversion events for a given domain. You can verify your domain in your Facebook Business Manager account.

How to do it

1/ Select the business account to declare your domain.

2/ Click on the button "ADD", enter your domain or subdomain name:

3/ Press "Add Domain"

4/ Select the second tab: "HTML File Upload".

5/ Do step 3. Confirm that it's uploaded by visiting.
You don’t need to do the step 1 and 2!

6/ Click on the "VERIFY" button!

Your domain is now verified on Facebook!

3/ Prioritize events

How to configure your iOS 14 compatible events?

You need to categorize the events and if a user activates 3 or 4 events, Facebook will only remember the event with the highest priority level.

As a reminder, you can only follow 8 events per domain.

These events will be automatically classified by Facebook from the most important to the least important (eg: purchase -> initiated payment -> addition to cart…).

You can access this configuration window from your Business Manager -> Event managers -> Aggregate event measurement tools (in the display of each pixel) -> Then click on "configure web events" -> Select your domain -> edit events

😉 Good to know: only the event with the highest priority will be collected, if the user refuses the tracking on iOS 14.

4/ Install Facebook Conversion API

The Conversion API allows you to send web events from your servers directly to Facebook. It bypassing the browser (therefore the pixel) and allows you to directly connect the data from your server (registrations to a form, additions to the cart, purchases, etc.) to your Business Manager.

Goals are quite similar to Advanced Matching except that the way you collect changes and allows you to bypass the new rules.

To install it, if you are not with a partner publisher of Facebook (WordPress, Shopify, etc.), it requires calling on technical resources. It is always possible to set it up with a Zapier.


  • It will take several months to measure the impact of this update, depending on the speed of adoption from users.
  • It does not affect the Android users, nor iOS users who choose to opt-in.
  • This change should make all marketing professionals aware that future developments will ALL go in this direction
  • The future of retargeting, as Ben Heath explains, is more ad campaigns closer to Facebook sources and away from websites and apps.