What Private Schools Should Know About iOS Updates and Social Media Ads

by Brianna Banks, Director of Partner Relations and Allison Sinnett, Digital Marketing Specialist, Truth Tree

Did you know that there are now over 1 billion active iPhones in the world?

Unless you’re a phone geek, this might not sound like riveting news. However, in April 2021, this stat became a large point of concern for school digital marketers.

This is because the recent iOS 14 update is promising to disrupt social media advertising.

Are you a private school running social media ads? If so, then it’s imperative that you know about the new iPhone update and what its ramifications are for your ad targeting.

Schools are especially vulnerable to this update, thanks to the fact that their advertising is often geographically and demographically targeted.

Fortunately, once you understand the impacts of the iOS 14 update around digital marketing for schools, you can take steps to lessen them.

Keep reading to learn more, so you can carry on effectively promoting your private school on social media.

What Is iOS 14 and What Does It Mean for Your School’s Social Media Ads?

On April 26, 2021, Apple launched the iOS 14 update for its mobile devices.

This update requires all apps to display pop-up prompts asking users to either allow or disallow the app from tracking their activity across third-party apps and websites.

Users then have to option either select “yes” or “no”.

Although iOS devices have had this function for some time, it was buried deep in the settings. Now, iOS users are prompted to make their selection with every app they downloaded.

This has large-scale ramifications for social media giants such as Facebook that rely heavily on user data for their highly targeted advertising.

Reports state that 86.3% of marketers use Facebook ads in their campaigns. One of the reasons why marketers and businesses rely on Facebook and social media ads is because they can be finely targeted.

For instance, if you are promoting your private school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you can refine your target audience so your ads only display to Chattanooga residents who have age-appropriate children.

Unfortunately, the iOS 14 update will limit this kind of targeting.

Impacts of iOS 14 On Social Media Advertising

So what impacts will the new iOS privacy feature have on social media advertising?

Predictions state that a considerable portion of iPhone users will say no to data tracking. This means that there won’t be nearly as much data on these users for social media advertising purposes.

The iOS 14 update is guaranteed to impact:

  • Geographic advertising data
  • Demographic advertising data
  • Conversion data

If you are promoting your private school via social media ads, this means that your demographic and geographic targeting won’t apply to users that have opted out of data sharing.

The number of conversions you will be able to report on will also drop. One of the effects of the iOS privacy feature is that it limits conversion tracking. This means that the size of your retargeting pool will also drop.

However, it’s not all bad news when it comes to the iOS privacy update.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About the iOS 14 Update

Although the iOS privacy update sounds dire, there a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.

Firstly, Facebook has implemented its Aggregated Event Measurement protocol. This allows Facebook to still process events from users who are on iOS 14 devices, even if they have opted out of data sharing.

Facebook can aggregate conversion data to understand how people behave on websites and then match this behavior to Facebook users.

What’s more, giants like Facebook have a number of plans in the works. The Aggregated Event Measurement protocol is just the beginning, and advertisers can rest assured that there will be mechanisms put in place to ensure profitable ad results.

Additionally, keep in mind that privacy concerns have been around for some time, and aren’t likely to kill Facebook ads.

Lastly, there is no effect on desktop with the iOS 14 privacy update.

Steps to Take for Promoting Your Private School on Social Media in the iOS Privacy Update era

Now that you know what the iOS privacy update is and how it will affect digital marketing for schools—let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to negate its effects on your social media advertising campaigns.

The main actions are verifying your domain on Facebook, ranking conversion events, and looking at broader targeting.

Verify Your Domain on Facebook

The most urgent action you should take for targeting your Facebook ads into the future is verifying your domain on Facebook. This is required by the Aggregated Event Measurement protocol.

If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to run conversion campaigns or rank your conversion events (more on this below).

All you need to do is verify your school’s domain within its associated Facebook account.

Start Ranking Conversion Events

The next step you should take is ranking your conversion events. Start by ranking your priority event. In the case for you, think about what gets you more applicants – one-on-one tour sign-ups vs. open house attendees.

This priority event will be the only one tracked for users who opted out of data sharing. For other users, Facebook will still track all eight conversion events.

Look Into Broader Ad Targeting

Targeted advertising can win you a high conversion rate and make it easy to create ultra-clickable ads. However, there’s still a lot of value to broader ad targeting.

While you might not be able to directly target parents looking to enroll their kids at your school, you can create brand awareness.

Over time, this builds your authority and reach, resulting in more signups and prestige as a private school.

Why You Need an Expert to Manage Your Social Media Ads

Although just about anyone can run a set of social media ads, not everyone can optimize them correctly and truly maximize your ad budget. This is even more true now that the iOS privacy update has rolled out.

Having an expert manage your social media ads ensures that you get more conversions with less money wasted.

Do you need help promoting your private school online? Here at Truth Tree, we specialize in digital marketing for private schools.

We have extensive experience in social media advertising, content marketing, and email marketing for schools plus more. Our focus on the ever-changing digital marketing landscape allows us to bring your award-winning enrollment design solutions.

What’s more, we have a deep understanding of parents and how they think about “big-ticket” services for their kids. ​

If you want help with your digital marketing efforts, reach out today.

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