Know What Brands Are Doing Now: Lost Signals In Meta Ads

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30-Second Summary

30-Second Summary

  • Apple’s ATT causes signal loss in advertising, impacting ROAS
  • Brands face losses due to Apple updates, privacy laws, and restrictions
  • Platforms like Facebook can’t track user activity beyond their domain
  • Meta adjusts algorithms for better ad effectiveness, promising improvement in 6-9 months
  • Facebook aims to restore advertising effectiveness amidst privacy restrictions
  • Instagram remains a potent discovery platform for ads targeting specific audiences
  • Brands counter signal loss by harvesting zero-party data and behavioral information
  • SEO gains importance for community building and audience attraction through expertise

In 2021, Apple launched the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, allowing users to decide which apps can track user activity.

This information was crucial for companies like Meta to deliver tailored ads to users and improve the impact.

Unless a large number of users opt to be tracked (which is quite unlikely), this signal loss will change the advertisement field forever. 

Brands are seeing their Return On Ad Spending (ROAS) drop, and companies like Meta and Snapchat have noted significant losses due to these Apple updates, privacy laws, and restrictions.
Lost signals in meta ads

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How can brands gear up for this changing future? What does signal loss exactly mean? Let’s understand all of this.

What is signal loss in advertising?

Earlier, Meta could see what their users were doing outside their apps like Facebook and Instagram. For example, if someone was searching for a pair of shoes on Google, Facebook could track this activity and showcase ads for shoes when the user scrolled through the platform.

This helped them provide relevant ads to the user and help businesses develop precision-targeted advertising to convert the users.

With signal loss, platforms like Facebook can no longer track what the user is doing outside the platform. It’s like losing touch with a friend when they step outside – considering Facebook ad services can help bridge this gap, ensuring a smoother and more connected experience for users across the platform.

Here’s an example to understand which stages are affected by the signal loss.

signal loss in advertising

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How are things shaping up in the post-signal loss era?

Here are five things businesses are doing to deal with the signal loss era.


  1. Meta is making changes to its algorithms to make things better for businesses. Our team at Intent Farm discussed with senior-level executives at Meta, and they are promising that in the coming 6-9 months, they’ll be finding ways to make ad effectiveness better than what it is right now.
    Advertising accounts for a large percentage of Facebook’s revenue (in 2022, 113 Billion US dollars of Facebook’s global ad revenue was generated from advertising), and thus we can be assured that they will take measures to deal with privacy restrictions and take advertising effectiveness to what it was earlier.
  2. Instagram continues to thrive as a powerful discovery platform. While the return on ad spend (ROAS) may not always be exceptionally high, showcasing ads can significantly enhance your reach among the intended audience. Take advantage of features like reels, which have gained immense popularity, contributing to the increased visibility of video ads. Leveraging these aspects can help you connect with your audience in meaningful ways.
    Partnering with a reputable Instagram agency can further amplify your efforts, ensuring a strategic and personalized approach to maximize your brand’s impact on this dynamic platform.And because these reel ads show up between non-sponsored, regular reels, the chances of your target audience at least watching a few seconds of your ad grows
    For example, this reel ad by Real Canadian Superstore looks like a normal reel because it features a person stuck in a common situation.

Instagram on signal loss

3.Third-party data is the most affected by these new privacy laws and updates from brands like Apple
Types of data affected by signal loss

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To counter this, brands have started harvesting their own data. They do this in two ways:

– Capturing zero-party information (information the user voluntarily shares) like their website preferences, filling in details while buying your product, sharing their email addresses while downloading a lead magnet, and sharing their interests or likings through comments on your social media.

– Collecting behavioral information through first-party data, like how customers are interacting with the website, social media channels, products, and apps. 

signal loss in meta ads

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This is the main reason why we have seen an influx of Whatsapp marketing in the last year or so that helps brands build direct relationships with their leads or users.

  1. Brands are gradually paying more attention to SEO. It’s one of the most important channels to build community and attract the audience through your expertise and knowledge.
    While you still have to rely on other algorithms, if you’re doing the right thing, you will start seeing results.
    For example, Barbudos, an ecommerce store that serves the men’s grooming market, saw their online commerce sales grow by 1100% in 3 years when they made use of Google ads and other SEO strategies.
  2. We are seeing creative data in action now. Creative data is a new kind of first-party data that describes the audio and visual elements present in any piece of static ad, video, or content.
    For example, suppose there’s a video ad. Imagine each part of that video ad being a data point. From the color of a person’s shirt to their expression or the brand’s logo in the corner, everything is expressed as a line of code.
    With computer vision and AI technology, every creative detail is analyzed and transcoded to give marketers valuable insights. For example, you discover that featuring your brand logo in the first three seconds of the video ad increases your CTR (Click Through Rate) instead of showing it at the end.


Here’s an example:

ad creatives for meta ads

The signal loss era has encouraged brands to shift to other creative mediums and find new ways to create engaging ads and bring results.

If you want experts who can guide you with your ad strategy for the signal loss era, reach out to us at Intent Farm



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About the Author
Picture of Akash Tamang

Akash Tamang

Meet Akash, a seasoned digital marketer having a passion for building, maintaining, executing, and brewing successful Meta campaigns. In his journey, he has learned an important lesson: that exceptional work is the result of great collaboration.
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