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Martech Brand Strategy Data & Privacy

Meta assures advertisers it has limited underreporting of iOS conversions to 8%


By Chris Sutcliffe, Senior reporter

February 15, 2022 | 4 min read

Meta claims to now undercount web conversions on iOS by around 8%, having said last year that Apple’s tracking changes would mean its measurements were off by 15%.


Meta expects iOS changes will hit its business for the foreseeable future

In its most recent earnings report, Meta announced that privacy changes imposed by Apple would hit its business to the tune of around $10bn for the full year 2022. It based that estimate in part on the newfound difficulty of measuring the effectiveness of its advertising units on iOS devices.

In September, it warned that it estimated its measurements of conversions on iOS to be off by about 15%.

In a blog post published yesterday, Meta narrowed that underreporting estimate to around 8% as a result of fine tuning its measurement and analytics capabilities.

This effectively means Meta can still measure conversions with a decent degree of accuracy on platforms that it does not own and operate. Performance on its own apps remains effective.

It was a needed recalibration for the social brand, which has seen its value fall sharply in recent weeks on the back of a drop in its active users for the first time in its history.

Meta’s director of product marketing for ads, Goksu Nebol-Perlman, attributes the closure of the gap to many of its advertising partners changing their behaviors in line with its recommendations.

“While the factors that lead to underreporting may vary between advertisers and even campaigns, one of the main reasons for this improvement was that many advertisers have adopted the best practices we recommended,“ Nebol-Perlman said.

“As we continue to build ad solutions that can do more with less data, we expect some level of underreporting will remain as part of our baseline. However, we remain committed to helping your business succeed and grow as we adapt to ecosystem changes together.”

This will be welcome news to advertising partners. Back in September, Meta noted that the lack of ability to target audiences as effectively as before would both lead to underreporting and increase the cost of any outcome-based campaigns. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, stated in the latest earnings call that this would inevitably lead to advertiser jitters, as they would be unable to ascertain the true ROI from affected campaigns.

Now, however, Meta claims that its work to compensate for greater user privacy on iOS through interest-based targeting is mitigating those effects: “For example, our internal lift studies showed that Detailed Targeting Expansion, which uses an advertiser’s targeting preferences, such as interests, as a guideline to find additional audiences, had a 37% lower median cost per incremental conversion than when not used.”

In an attempt to shift focus, Facebook was also prioritizing its short-form video options in its pitch to advertisers, stating: “On the impressions side, we expect continued headwinds from both increased competition for people’s time and a shift of engagement within our apps towards video surfaces like Reels, which monetize at lower rates than Feed and Stories.”

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