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Data Snack

How Facebook Stayed Afloat in Q3

November 7, 2021
November 2, 2021
Mae Rice

Facebook’s algorithm served iOS devices fewer advertisements in Q3, according to data from 20 Facebook Ads accounts that spent a combined total of $37.1 million.

Table of Contents

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Here’s something sort of mysterious: Facebook only missed Q3 revenue projections by about 2%

Even though in the prior quarter, it lost its ability to target ads and track conversions for most iPhone users.

One way FB stabilized itself? By showing fewer ads to black-box iOS devices. 

Less Facebook Ads spend went to iOS users

Thesis Testing pulled data from 20 different Facebook accounts. In total, they spent $37.1M on automated Facebook Ads  placements from January to August 2021. 

Once iOS 14 launched in April, about 10% of these accounts’ spend shifted from iOS to Android users. 


Source: Thesis Testing


Spend seems to be shifting back towards pre-iOS levels now — in August, iOS devices won 1%+ of total ad spend back from Android.

Our takeaway?

iOS users are too valuable to ignore — but iOS updates made them too confusing to throw 70% of Q3 ad dollars at.

Whether humans or algorithms decided this, it probably helped Facebook minimize ad performance problems and focus on analytics issues. 

Of course, the majority of Facebook ad dollars still went towards iOS users — but a smaller majority!

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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