News & Views

What Small DMO’s Need to Know About the Apple iOS 14 Updates

There has been a lot of chatter in the digital world about the new Apple iOS update and how it will impact the way destination marketing organizations (DMOs) advertise. The effects of the update will be seen across ad platforms, but one ad channel in particular is seeing the most change associated with Apple’s new policy.

Facebook, which has raised the most concern surrounding the changes launched by Apple, has become the main topic of discussion among digital advertisers and is already seeing early impacts as a result of iOS 14. For small DMOs focused on Facebook advertising efforts (and by extension, Instagram as well), the new update will bring added challenges to the way marketers reach their audiences.

What is the new Apple iOS 14 update?

The Apple iOS 14 update that has begun rollout across devices entails two new privacy settings focused on securing user data. The ATT (App Tracking Transparency) update focuses on mobile apps and provides users the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of being tracked on each individual app on their device.

The PCM (Private Click Measurement) policy focuses on websites and unlike the ATT, this policy auto opts-in for users in the Apple ecosystem using Safari as their primary web browser.

How does this impact advertisers?

According to, 81% of Facebook users only use the platform on their mobile phone. Of that percentage, it is difficult to determine the number of users who will choose to opt-in to tracking vs. opt-out of in-app tracking.

What destination marketers do know is the ATT will directly impact the digital advertising platforms’ ability to receive and process conversions from tracking pixels, as well as optimize, target and report on specific user engagement.

What changes can I expect to see on my DMO’s Facebook ads?

For small DMO’s running marketing programs through Facebook ads, there are a few data points you can expect to change with the completed rollout of Apple iOS 14 updates.

  • Website Traffic & Analytics Measurements – the first data point that may draw your attention is the ad clicks-to-website sessions discrepancy. As more users download iOS 14 and choose to opt-out of tracking on Facebook, clicks from ads to the website will appear in the high-level data overview on Facebook, but will not carry over to website sessions within Google Analytics, producing large discrepancies in the two totals. Destination marketers are still evaluating what impact this will have on conversion tracking, with the loss of a session potentially leading to a loss in the conversion event performed by that user.
  • Remarketing & Lookalike Audiences – both remarketing via Facebook and the creation of lookalike audiences relies on the effectiveness of the Facebook tracking pixel. If Apple device users do not elect to allow tracking on their mobile app, both forms of targeting will be incapable of reaching users on Apple devices. Although this does not apply to users on other devices outside of the Apple ecosystem, total audience sizes can expect to see a decline in the months following the update.

What can DMO’s do about the new Apple iOS 14 update?

 There are a few options to help small DMO’s continue to advertise effectively on Facebook.

  • Develop campaigns with Consideration and Awareness objectives – to avoid losing targeting capabilities by setting a campaign objective under Conversions, create ads that use website visits, reach and brand awareness as their key objective.
  • For campaigns that use a Conversion objective, remove iOS traffic – if a campaign is set to optimize by conversion value and it cannot be modified to a “Consideration of Awareness” campaign, consider excluding iOS devices from the campaign targeting. While traffic may decline, this will allow DMO’s to retain a clear picture of user conversions performed on the ads.
  • Consult with a partner agency – as more details become available on the full impacts of the update and future changes being implemented across digital advertising channels, it is important to consult your digital advertising partner. Your partner will ensure that your digital advertising objectives are met.

As leaders in place marketing with a proven experience in helping destinations reach their goals through digital marketing campaigns, we can help you navigate these changes successfully. Interested in learning more? Connect with Steve Duncan at [email protected].


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