How Clearbit Protects Your Brand From iOS 14.5

What is the iOS 14.5 update?

In short, Apple is rolling out App Tracking Transparency (ATT). This new feature will prompts iPhone and iPad users to explicitly opt-in or opt-out of allowing apps to track them across websites.

If the user chooses to opt out of tracking, Apple will block apps from collecting the IDFA identifier, which platforms like Facebook use to track users, identify them, and retarget them with ads.

Update April 5th, 2021: In an interview with The New York Times, Tim Cook said iOS 14.5 will be released to customers in ‘just a few weeks.’

This is a screenshot from an advertiser who is part of the iOS 14.5 test cohort. 

What is IDFA, and why does it matter?

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is a unique identifier for mobile devices that Apple provides apps. Platforms like Facebook use IDFA to do three things:

  1. Predicts who is likely to convert, and show those people your ads. They use this by identifying users on other websites, and analyzing their behavior (like which pages they visit, and what actions they take). This is the recipe Facebook has used for a long time to serve advertisers lots of conversions at a low cost.
  2. Retarget to their website visitors. They do this by understanding which devices they use to log into Facebook, and identify those users as they browse the web (by matching the user to IDFA and other device identifiers).
  3. Attribute conversions back to ad clicks (and views), so that advertisers can measure the effectiveness of their advertising on a user level across mobile devices. Like retargeting, they use identifiers like IDFA to tie the anonymous conversion to a Facebook profile.


Advertisers can also provide IDFA codes when they upload a customer list to improve match rates on their custom audiences. Clearbit Advertising does not rely heavily on IDFA identifiers. Because of this, we do not expect our Prospect or Contact Audiences to be impacted by the loss of IDFA identifiers.

What does this mean for B2B advertisers?

iOS devices account for 60% of US mobile devices. 2 billion iOS devices have been sold worldwide.

The impact of these updates will be felt across wide, and deep, for advertisers... unless they prepare!


Specifically, B2B advertisers need to be prepare for three risks:

1. Conversion data may be lost

Conversion data sent via 3rd party cookies (like the Facebook pixel) will be blocked for tens of millions of users. When users opt-out, Apple will make it very difficult for the Facebook pixel to identify those users and measure attribute conversions. This means less attribution, and fewer signals that Facebook can use to optimize their ad delivery.

2. Your retargeting audiences will shrink

The update will block access to Apple's IDFA, which is a unique identifier they used to provide to platforms like Facebook to identify users, tie them back to specific Facebook profiles, and retarget those Facebook users across different devices.

3. Lookalike audience performance may suffer

Facebook relies on behavioral data to create strong lookalikes (e.g. people like your best customers, with similar behavioral patterns). Losing those data signals may impact their ability to serve high-quality lookalike audiences.

What does this mean for Clearbit Advertising customers?

Clearbit does not expect any significant impact on our audiences.

In fact, we have been preparing for this event for over 6 months! Your audiences are safe, and we're even releasing new features that we expect to improve performance in a time when most advertisers will be struggling to stay afloat.

Here is what you need to know about how Clearbit will protect your brand from iOS 14.5...

1. We do not expect Prospect or Contact Audiences to be affected.

Clearbit does not rely on identifiers like IDFA, which Apple will be blocking, to build Prospect Audiences and Contact Audiences.

Instead, we rely on strong corporate-to-person matching that allows us to provide Facebook with personal identifiers that they can match directly back to Facebook profiles (e.g. personal email & phone number).

We do not expect our audience match rates to be heavily impacted by this update. In fact, advertisers should expect to rely more and more on audiences built from direct data imports to get the reach, quality, and results they need.

2. Your Site Visitor audiences may shrink.

Clearbit's Site Visitor audiences relies on Facebook and Google's ability to retarget users, which will be impacted by iOS 14.5.

To expand your retargeting audiences, we recommend building Account-Based Prospect Audiences, which are resilient to the new iOS restrictions and will give you better account penetration.

3. Clearbit Reveal will not be affected.

Our reverse-IP technology does not rely heavily on cookies or cross-domain tracking to de-anonymize companies visiting your website.

Unlike other account intelligence platforms who rely heavily on cookie data, Clearbit's method of collecting data is resilient to Apple's new privacy restrictions.

4. Clearbit Conversions was designed to solve the iOS problem.

Our latest product release will add support for offline conversion tracking on Facebook and Google. Facebook calls this the Conversion API (CAPI) and Google calls this Offline Conversion Tracking (OCT).

Essentially, Clearbit Conversions allows advertisers to send conversion data "server-side", from our computer to Facebook and Google's computer. This means that your conversions cannot be blocked by ad blockers, browser limitations, or operating system restrictions (like iOS 14.5).

This is the new best practice that both Facebook and Google recommend. We make the implementation of this solution easy to use, and customizable using your CRM, MAP, and Clearbit enrichment data.

How can I learn more about Clearbit Conversions?

Great question! Here are a few resources to get you started:
  1. Clearbit Conversions Demo Video 
  2. Clearbit Conversions Slide Deck 
  3. Clearbit Conversions Beta Program

How much does Clearbit Conversions cost?

Conversions will be included in all Advertising packages. No additional cost to you or your clients.

I want to join the Conversions beta. How do I get started?

If you are a current customer, reach out to your CSM. If you are interested in becoming a customer, you can contact us by submitting a demo request here.