As most of us were winding down from what we thought was the ultimate roller coaster of a year in 2020, there was a small alarm going off in the background that a lot of app companies were just beginning to hear.

That noise was a fundamental change to a privacy policy that Apple had originally announced in June 2020. This big change—that rolls out the week of April 26, 2021—was Apple’s requirement for all third-party apps to have a force prompt post-update that would allow users to opt-in or opt-out of sharing their data. When this was originally announced, many tech companies believed the policy would have more flexibility and not be a forced prompt. So this December update caught these companies off guard with the strict guidelines that they were to enforce.

At Blue Moon Digital, we have been staying on top of the changes to the iOS Privacy Policy Update and its impact to our advertisers. I do want to note that Facebook has taken a very active voice in their opposition to the upcoming policy changes. However, our focus is on how we can best support our clients for these upcoming impacts.

What We Know So Far

  • The week of April 26, 2021, there will be an iOS update that will send a prompt on third-party apps (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) for users to opt-in or opt-out of sharing their data.
  • The original date of this was expected in January 2021 then was pushed back late in the month to Spring.
  • If an app refuses to show policy prompt, then the app will no longer be found in the App Store on iOS devices.
  • Facebook is anticipating a large increase in users who will opt-out of sharing their data. To help buffer this, they plan to have a pre-prompt sharing with users what data is being collected and why.
  • Outside of the opt-in/opt-out prompt, there are also new privacy guidelines that impact a third-party app’s ability to track performance in an app-to-web environment (like when clicking on an ad on Instagram, the webpage loads directly in the app). Apple has a new standard for measuring this environment and Facebook has come out with their own standard that will help fill the gaps while remaining in compliance with Apple’s overarching policy.
  • There will be a 24 to 48-hour delay in data as it is shared from Apple back to Facebook and Instagram—therefore a delay in conversion metrics, clicks and other KPI metrics.
  • Opt-out users will still share some data but on a very limited basis with the application they are engaging with.
  • Opt-in users will have the same general data usage but will fall under new compliance requirements from Apple.

Expected Impacts to Facebook and Instagram Advertising Efforts


Previously, our agency teams could set up an unlimited number of “events” to track on your website. An event could be anything from an actual purchase conversion to a sign-up on site to even a simple page view. Moving forward into the new frontier, we will be limited to tracking eight events per domain.

This means if you have multiple pixels, agencies or international websites, you must work with your agency to measure the exact impacts on your business. These events will need to be ranked in the order of importance to you and your business.


With the new delay in getting conversion data passed back from Apple, there are changes to the way that we track conversion events within our reporting. Previously, Facebook had 28-day, 7-day and 1-day post-click and post-view metrics. Moving forward, the 28-day metric will no longer be available. 7-day metrics will be only inclusive of post-click data. 1-day data will lean on a model to provide this information. The new Facebook standard will be a 7-day, click- only model, giving no influence for post-impression conversions.


The biggest change to pay attention to is that opt-out users will now only pass back a single event in a session on a website. This event that is passed is dependent upon the order of rank in your events. What this means is that an opt-out user that is taking multiple actions on your website—browsing products, adding to cart, signing up for emails, purchasing an item—will only show one event in order of your rank.

Because of this, it is anticipated that custom audiences will decrease in size. Niche audiences will become more difficult to target simply because a user who browsed a certain product line then purchased a different product, will only show one event in your data for you to lean on (in this case, likely conversion). The anticipated decrease will also force Facebook to attempt to, but not guarantee that they will follow any audience exclusions created in your Ad Set level.

General Metrics

The decrease in audience sizes will likely cause an increase in general media cost (CPMs and CPCs). This is common with the Facebook ads platform—the smaller the audience size, the more costly it is for advertisers to target. Facebook is stating to expect overall impact on impressions, clicks, CTRs, CPMs and CPCs. Specifics on the actual changes to these metrics will be a bit vague until the rollout takes effect in the spring.

Required Actions

There are two required actions that you can do today to set up for success when the update happens.

  • Validate your domain: follow these instructions to learn how to validate your domain. Once this is done, share that domain validation with your agency in a similar fashion with how you shared original account and page access.
  • Select and set your top eight events: work with your agency on this step! Our teams have been working to provide a recommended top eight that you can request from them.

Clearly, this is a complex topic. It is changing daily and we are staying on top of the changes so we can inform our clients about the impacts on their paid social efforts. Please make sure to stay in the loop with your account teams for the latest news and how we are preparing at Blue Moon Digital to support the update. Drop us a line if you need help navigating the new normal.

Contributor: Taylor Heussner, Corporate Marketing Manager