Apple’s iOS 14.5 update will significantly alter the digital marketing landscape for those in the marketing industry. The update deprioritizes third-party data acquisition regarding Apple’s customers. On the other hand, we will see an increase in the importance of first-party data collection to target ads based on the brand’s strength.
What Exactly Is Apple Changing?
The new App Tracking Transparency Policy that Apple is rolling out will address many concerns about the use of data without a user’s permission. We will see this through changes to the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA) system. Previously, Apple had sought to address these concerns by allowing users to turn on or off app permission through a one-button toggle, essentially turning on or off all data collection. The new update will change that so that users see an opt-in message every time they download a new app. The option will appear only once for each app. Once the decision is made, users will not see it again.
There is a slight exception to the update. Companies that run multiple apps under the same umbrella will use one opt-in for all of their apps. The most significant players who will be affected are companies like Facebook and Instagram. Apple iOS 14.5 will also reduce the number of tracking pixel objectives allowed in a single domain down to eight. The change will significantly reduce the efficacy of collecting data using Facebook marketing pixels. Currently, this is Facebook’s most popular form of marketing. Between this and more people opting out of data collection, Facebook stands to lose roughly 5% of its $84 billion per year ad revenue.
Based on Apple’s new terms and conditions for developers, anyone that attempts to sneak through the system to collect data through other means is likely to face severe penalties. Gaining familiarity with these changes is going to be critical for any app developer.
So How Will This Affect Marketing?
Some smaller and more niche merchants rely on targeted advertising to reach their more geographically distributed customer bases. These people are going to be hit almost immediately and dramatically by the changes in the marketing structures. They will have to pivot quickly and reconsider their overall marketing strategy with their customers.
Previously, these businesses could use third-party data to tailor their advertisements with a high degree of accuracy on Facebook and other social media outlets, thus minimizing advertising costs. However, now the Apple data segment will have significantly less coverage, and they stand to lose out on customers. Anyone providing serious solutions to these problems will also likely have an opportunity to pick up their clients.
The second big change that we’ll see is that data collection methods will have to rely more on consumer trust in the developer. It doesn’t matter how desirable the product is. Now, consumers have to be confident that the companies they’re giving their data to will use it ethically. Given the ability to do so without interrupting their services, most Apple users would opt out of data collection altogether. Now Apple users will not give you their data if they don’t think it will benefit them.
It is 100% necessary for app developers to change their ideas, in terms of marketing, from third-party data collectors to first-party data collectors. They will need to invest a great deal more time and effort into their relationships with their audiences and can no longer do the data collection part of their job as a passive and unstated part of what they do. Now developers need to make a direct case to consumers as to why they deserve access to their data, what they plan to do with it, and how it will benefit them. The days of unfettered access are over.
So, What Can a Marketer Do About It?
The first and simplest thing that any marketer can do is segment their audiences into Apple and Android users. The older techniques still work on Android, so the entire data analysis stream doesn’t immediately need to be reworked with them. However, this is a short-term fix, as it is likely that Android will eventually catch up to these privacy updates if the Apple model proves successful. This change will not go away in the long run, and attempts to subvert it or avoid it will eventually be run down by strategies that directly deal with shifts in consumer thinking.
One way to work with these changes is to spend more energy developing your organic reach. Social media can be a huge boon to developers and marketers looking to increase trust with the consumer user base of their products. By surfacing the ethical case for what you do and how you use data while also increasing consumer trust in your products, you can overcome the most significant obstacles that the Apple update poses.
You now have an opportunity to rethink your relationship with Facebook Marketing. Its diminished reach means that there is reason to start developing other sources of connections with your consumer base. A straightforward way to do this is to leverage your own data tracking via your brand’s website.
No matter how you choose to deal with these changes, as long as tech giants are subject to increasing regulatory scrutiny, we will continue to see changes like this. Make sure you get ahead of the game rather than waiting for it to catch up to you.
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