Facebook Advertising 2021

Identifying Strategies for a Post-IDFA, Post-Pixel Reality

Executive Summary

Apple’s rollout of its iOS 14.5 update has created significant challenges for many Facebook advertisers in recent months. Marketers are adapting to changes in how they target audiences, measure and attribute performance, and optimize their campaigns on Facebook in response.

How much will US advertisers spend on Facebook ads?

We estimate that net US Facebook ad revenues will grow 32.1% year over year (YoY) to $50.30 billion in 2021. That’s a significant increase versus our March 2021 forecast, when we predicted growth of 26.6%. Next year, growth will decelerate to 15.5%, dampened slightly by iOS privacy changes.

How has Facebook been affected by iOS 14.5 changes?

Facebook has experienced signal loss since Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework in iOS 14.5 took effect in late April. Facebook no longer receives information about off-platform actions by Facebook and Instagram app users who have updated to iOS 14.5 or higher on their devices and opted out of tracking.

How are Facebook advertisers affected by iOS 14.5 changes?

Direct-response (DR) advertisers—those driving any type of lower-funnel action, like a purchase—have seen performance declines on their Facebook ad campaigns due to the impact of signal loss on targeting, measurement, and attribution. Advertisers using Facebook for branding reach have been less affected or not at all.

How are advertisers adapting to changes in targeting, measurement, and attribution on Facebook?

Advertisers are pursuing strategies that depend on first-party data, including bringing their own customer data into Facebook and relying more on Facebook’s own user engagement data. Aligning creative messaging to specific audiences will also become more powerful as a lever for ad personalization.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? Our latest Facebook and Instagram ad spending forecast estimates, analysis of the effect Apple’s ATT framework has had on Facebook, and advertiser strategies to mitigate the impact of signal loss from IDFAs and the Facebook pixel.

KEY STAT: This year, US advertisers will spend $50.30 billion on Facebook ads, up 32.1% YoY.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Key Points
    3. What’s the Opportunity for Facebook Advertisers?
    1. Facebook’s Exposure to iOS Changes Intensifies the Pressure on Advertisers
    2. How Facebook Advertisers Are Adapting to Changes
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    1. Read Next
    2. Sources
    3. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Chris Apaliski
    Senior Director, Social
    Interviewed September 1, 2021
    Avi Ben-Zvi
    Vice President, Paid Social
    Interviewed September 29, 2021
    Brian Bowman
    Consumer Acquisition
    Interviewed September 24, 2021
    Bryan Cano
    Director, Media Strategy
    Interviewed September 22, 2021
    Carly Carson
    Director, Social
    Interviewed May 30, 2021
    Shamsul Chowdhury
    Vice President, Paid Social
    Interviewed August 25, 2021
    Sean Clayton
    Executive Director, Solution Officer
    Interviewed August 31, 2021
    Benjamin Dailey
    Director, US Community Strategy and Advertising
    Interviewed September 24, 2021
    John Dobrowolski
    General Manager, Social and Apps
    Interviewed September 9, 2021
    Adam Gerber
    Horizon Media
    Vice President, Digital and Social Performance
    Interviewed September 23, 2021
    Gogi Gupta
    Gupta Media
    Interviewed August 24, 2021
    Kunal Gupta
    Interviewed September 8, 2021
    Ann Herrick
    Senior Digital Marketing Director
    Interviewed September 28, 2021
    Shuree Jones
    Rain the Growth Agency
    Director, Paid Social
    Interviewed September 30, 2021
    Allie Karr
    The Hershey Co.
    Senior Manager, Integrated Media
    Interviewed September 15, 2021
    Alon Leibovich
    CEO and Co-founder
    Interviewed September 21, 2021
    Danisha Lomax
    Senior Vice President, National Paid Social Lead
    Interviewed August 26, 2021
    Ty Martin
    Ad Bacon
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed September 13, 2021
    Cory Munchbach
    Interviewed August 30, 2021
    Erica Patrick
    Mediahub Worldwide
    Senior Vice President, Director of Paid Social Media
    Interviewed September 24, 2021
    Robert Pearsall
    Omnicom Media Group
    Managing Director, Social Activation
    Interviewed September 8, 2021
    Amy Rumpler
    Basis Technologies (formerly Centro)
    Senior Vice President, Paid Search and Social
    Interviewed September 1, 2021
    Ilon Weeldreyer
    Associate Director, Performance Media
    Interviewed September 30, 2021

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    Debra Aho Williamson
    Principal Analyst
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    Senior Analyst
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    Junior Forecasting Analyst
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    Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager

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