How iOS14 impacts Facebook advertising for hospitals and healthcare systems.

How Apple’s New Updates Affect Healthcare Marketing

Throughout 2021 Apple has rolled out operating system updates focused on increasing user privacy. This is good news for people who don’t want others knowing what websites they visit or apps that are on their phone; but it’s bad news for marketing campaign tracking and optimization.

These changes force marketers to rethink how they gather and use marketing data to target and message to prospects. We’ll discuss the implications these changes may have in healthcare marketing as well as provide tips on adapting your campaigns accordingly.


iPhone Users Represent a Significant Portion of Online Activity

Through their mobile devices, Apple holds a large portion of the online audience.

During the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) were responsible for 54.8 percent of global website traffic. Within that mobile device audience, Apple holds the highest smartphone market share in the United States with 52.6 percent. As of March 2021, Apple’s mobile Safari browser had a market share of almost 56 percent – making it the most popular mobile internet browser in the United States.

Chart showing device usage of Facebook users worldwide as of January 2021

Device usage of Facebook users worldwide as of January 2021 (from Statista)


Depending on your target market and geographic area of operation, the number of website visitors you have via Apple mobile devices could be significantly higher – we have clients whose iPhone audience accounts for as much as 68% of their website visitors.

While these changes impact only users of iOS devices, when you consider Apple’s mobile market share, and the volume of Apple’s mobile online audience, the impact of these privacy changes is too large to simply ignore.

Apple is changing the way digital marketing data is gathered and shared.

User data is tracked on websites through snippets of code, called pixels, which have allowed advertisers to see what websites customers are coming from, their website browsing activity (e.g., the products or services they look at or purchase, what forms they fill out, button clicks, etc.). Pixels can even track geographic location data, and what kind of device a person is using.

In April 2021 Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency feature. This update gives iPhone users the ability to choose whether they want apps on their mobile device to track their activity through pixels. If a user chooses to not share their data, iOS devices severely limit the data a mobile app like a web browser can share with a marketing platform like Facebook.

The impact of this update on healthcare marketing is significant.

Consider the marketing impact for people who choose to opt-out of sharing their data:

These restrictions do not only apply to people who have chosen to opt-out of data collection. Even if someone hasn’t opted-out, Apple is significantly reducing the amount of data on all users that is sent to media platforms and marketing systems.

What You Can Do – An Action Plan

In response to Apple’s changes, Facebook has begun requiring organizations to complete some specific account activities. Here are a few actions you can take immediately to ensure your Facebook campaigns are allowed to run, and track activity and conversions properly. Here is a short to-do list of what’s required to be compliant with Facebook’s updates.


Do you see a trend here? This is all about controlling the authenticity of the data ownership:

As a committed partner, we manage technical details like these (and more) every day for our clients – oftentimes they leave the technical adjustments like these to our team of specialist. This allows them to focus on their business instead of ever-changing technical requirements from platforms like Facebook.

What’s next?

Apple continues to roll out updates impacting reporting and data across the internet – Facebook, website data, email reporting and more. These updates are the first of many upcoming changes to online marketing data gathering, optimization and reporting.

If you have any questions about how to ensure you get the most out of your digital marketing, feel free to give us a call for a free …. [CTA HERE]