Facebook said it has underreported ad performance on iPhones as a result of the privacy changes made by Apple. The tech giant estimates that it is underreporting iOS web conversions by about 15%, VP of product marketing Graham Mudd said in a blog post, adding that there is a broad range for individual advertisers.
"We believe that real-world conversions, such as sales and app installs, are higher than what is being reported for many advertisers," he said. Nonetheless, Mudd said Facebook is optimistic about its multi-year effort to develop new privacy-enhancing technologies that minimise the amount of personal information it processes, while still allowing it to show personalised ads and measure their effectiveness.
Currently, Facebook is focused on improving campaign performance by adapting in the areas of targeting, optimisation, delivery and measurement. Ahead of the 2021 holidays, Facebook is also accelerating its investments to address reporting gaps such as enabling view-through attribution for app events via SKAN and making view-through attribution the default for web events. According to CNBC, Facebook's shares dropped by about 4% on Monday.
Facebook CFO Dave Wehner said during its Q2 2021 earnings call that it expects increasing ad targeting headwinds this year from regulatory and platform changes, notably the recent iOS updates, which Facebook expects to have a more significant impact in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.
Apple's iOS 14 requires developers to obtain users' permission before tracking them via the identity for advertisers and users can change permission preferences in their settings. Facebook said last August that it expects changes on iOS 14 to "disproportionately affect" Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Some iOS 14 users might not see any ads from Audience Network, it said then.
Earlier this year, Facebook eventually decided to comply with Apple's privacy settings and show its prompt for consumers to gain permission in obtaining their data. It also rolled out an initiative titled "Good ideas deserve to be found" to highlight how personalised ads are an important way for people to discover small businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and how these ads help small businesses grow from an idea into a livelihood.
Separately, Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer recently announced on Twitter that he is stepping down after 13 years in the company and passing the baton over to Andrew Bosworth at some point next year. Bosworth is VP of Facebook Reality Labs. Moving forward, Schroepfer will take on the role of senior fellow at Facebook which will enable him to remain connected to the company and working on key initiatives including recruiting and developing technical talent and fostering the company's AI investments in critical technologies.
"It has been a privilege to lead our technology teams during a time of incredible growth and advancement. I am proud of what the team has achieved, from unleashing the benefits of AI and bringing VR to life to connecting more people around the world through technology," he said in a series of tweets. Facebook VP of global business marketing and chief creative officer Mark D'Arcy also left his role earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Facebook recently came under the spotlight following an investigative series by the Wall Street Journal titled "The Facebook Files". The series addressed how Facebook's researchers pointed out the platform's ill effects and the company did not take action despite congressional hearings as well as Facebook's own pledges and media exposes. Facebook hit back, saying that the series contained "deliberate mischaracterisations" of what the company is trying to do.
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