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What Facebook Tracking Changes in the iOS 14 Update Mean for Real Estate Marketing

What Facebook Tracking Changes in the iOS 14 Update Mean for Real Estate Marketing
April 12, 2021

With Facebook preparing to implement an update to their platform related to iOS 14, many advertisers are wondering what the update means for real estate marketing. To summarize it briefly, this update will affect the treatment of 3rd party data tracking, effectively limiting its use on the Facebook platform. This change comes as no surprise for many in the advertising space, since it coincides with a general rise in user concerns around data privacy that have made 3rd party data use a hot-button topic in recent months, even among some lawmakers. Facebook is just one of multiple platforms that have responded to this trend by distancing themselves from 3rd party data tracking or removing it from their platform entirely.

So how does the iOS 14 update affect digital apartment marketing strategies on Facebook? Here are the details:

Facebook Users Will Have a Chance to Opt In to Data Tracking

Facebook has worked with iOS 14 to develop an opt-in approach to 3rd party data tracking. While the update is already part of the code of iOS 14, at the time of writing this post, the update hasn’t been pushed live yet. Facebook announced that it would push this update live sometime in Q1 2021.

Once the update does go live, Apple users will see a prompt on their phone asking if they want to allow Facebook to track their data after they have left the Facebook app. Unless a user opts in when they receive this prompt, Facebook will not gather 3rd party data about that user from other apps, nor will it share their Facebook data with other apps.

person using Facebook on Macbook

Facebook Will Limit Conversion Tracking

Facebook has also developed a tool called Aggregated Event Measurement, which limits domains to 8 conversion events that can be used for campaign optimization. This means if you want to track conversions based on an action taken outside of Facebook (e.g. filling out a contact form on your property website), you’ll only be able to take data from 8 of those outside-Facebook conversions into account when it comes to understanding audience behavior and optimizing your ads for further conversions.

This will not impact optimization strategies which optimize and report on fewer than 8 conversion events on domains outside of Facebook, but for those who prefer to optimize based on larger aggregates, this update may impact the information available for an informed optimization strategy, leading to less precise optimizations.

Even if you optimize based on conversion events within the Facebook platform (e.g. ad clicks), it is still best practice to verify your domains in case you ever need to use the Aggregated Event Measurement tool to optimize over multiple conversion events on domains outside of Facebook (like your property website).

How These Changes Will Impact Facebook Apartment Marketing

Luckily, due to previous platform changes directed specifically at housing, finance, and credit ads, many apartment marketing teams are already a step ahead of the game compared to other industries that have been enjoying more advertising flexibility. Still, Facebook ads for apartments could be impacted in certain key ways.

Depending on how your team is optimizing Facebook ads and whether your strategy relies heavily on 3rd party data tracking, these changes could have anywhere from no impact at all to significant impact on your Facebook ad performance. Here are some of the main areas that could be affected.

  • Retargeting campaigns that rely on data about a user’s behavior outside of Facebook (e.g. visiting a property website) would not reach users that have chosen to opt out of 3rd party tracking. However, apartment marketers can still retarget users who have interacted with a property’s other ads or posts on Facebook, because this relies solely on 1st party data.
  • Conversion tracking will be limited and conversions may go under-reported as a result. This does not necessarily mean that fewer conversions are occurring, but it does mean real estate marketers will have less information for the purposes of campaign optimization.

While these changes will impact some of the flexibility you have with digital ad campaigns, there are ways to avoid a significant dip in performance as a result of these platform changes. We recommend relying on digital advertising strategies that focus on 1st party data (actions taken on the Facebook platform) rather than on 3rd party data (a user’s behavior outside of Facebook) moving forward, especially as these platform changes are unlikely to be the last restriction on 3rd party data tracking we’ll see in upcoming months and years.

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