Skip to main content

Apple’s ATT iOS 14.5 privacy update & the future of advertising

Apple’s latest update (ATT iOS 14.5) has many of us scrambling to get ahead of the inevitable. This is the dawn of a new era in digital advertising, and it needs to be embraced because this is only the beginning. Although Apple is the first to set a standard for its users, Google says Android is also retooling how the user is tracked and will roll out new privacy standards in about a year. So what does this mean for advertisers? 

Zuckerberg, Facebook, and the beginning of the end

Zuckerberg took to the press to try to get ahead of these changes; Even going as far as taking out full-page ads in newspapers and TV and radio spots. The first blog to come out suggested this would hurt small businesses specifically, 

“At Facebook we use data to provide personalized ads, which support small businesses and help keep apps free. Starting today, Apple will require apps that engage in what it calls ‘tracking’ to ask permission when using information from apps and websites owned by other companies to personalize or measure ads. This will happen through a prompt designed by Apple that discourages people from giving their permission, and provides little detail about what this decision means.”

 As advertisers, we have heavily relied on being able to target demographics. Many of the big names are panicking at the transition. Still, even Facebook has changed their tune, stating in their latest blog

“As we look ahead at the future of advertising, it’s important to acknowledge that the ways that digital advertising collects and uses data will evolve. While we have expressed concerns about Apple’s approach, we support giving people more control over how their data is used to improve advertising relevance.”

Less tracking, more understanding

What this means for advertisers is that it’s time to change. Understanding your audience and creating engaging content is crucial, and tracking is changing, so what are advertisers doing to stay ahead of this? According to Harvard Business Review,  

“The rollout of Apple’s new privacy settings is upending the rules of digital advertising on the iOS platform. By limiting advertisers’ ability to track user behavior, Apple is forcing them to adapt to a new paradigm — and fast. As other tech companies may soon follow suit, this disruption is an opportunity for advertisers to prepare for the coming era. They should embrace new privacy preserving approaches; know that privacy workarounds are a short-term strategy at best; transition away from user-centric models; invest in better understanding their audience; and use ad creativity as a way of differentiating themselves from rivals.” 

Advertising in 2021 

I know many marketing firms anticipated these changes, but what are companies going to do to stay competitive with these new standards set in place? We must get creative and consistent with advertising structure to build a voice for our audience. Ads don’t have to be a chore for the viewer; historically, many advertisements stuck in the viewer’s memories and were looked upon fondly. I still think about the ‘Got Milk’ promotions of the ’90s, and as tacky as they were, I can’t forget them! Apple is ushering in a new era of advertising, and Google is in support; 

“Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy will require developers to ask for permission when they use certain information from other companies’ apps and websites for advertising purposes, even if they already have user consent.”

Know your product well, and create content that the audience craves. Just because people are transitioning away from tracking doesn’t mean they will no longer be buying goods and services. Your customers will appreciate the ability to make choices without the coercion of suggestion.

Apple ATT Privacy and how it affects Facebook Marketing

So I realize that all of this sounds scary, but has it affected marketing poorly? How are users responding to these changes? The changes to Apple’s ATT Privacy are relatively straightforward; upon opening an application, the designated pop-up will ask the user if they want to be tracked. 

So why is Facebook so concerned about this new policy? Marketers fear that the user will say no outright consistently when asked if they want to be tracked. Facebook has a lot to lose in this deal due to its financial investment in user data. In 2020, Facebook’s revenue from advertising exceeded US $84 billion – a 21% rise from 2019.

I don’t see Apple coming after Facebook (or any of the more prominent big names) anytime soon. They have made their mission clear on the App Store, clearly stating, “ You must receive explicit permission from users via the App Tracking Transparency APIs to track their activity.” Apple seems well-positioned to dictate how developers get to sell their goods and services. 

Apple has nothing to lose in this deal. A slue of happy customers is undoubtedly nothing to be concerned about, even if it does erk the more notable names in advertising. Apple’s business model rests in the sale of Cell Phones, Watches, Laptops, Desktops, and in turn, app & inn-app purchases made through these devices. So how has Apple been doing in comparison to Facebook? Apple’s app revenue was reported at US $64 billion in 2020; this is just from app/in-app purchases. 

Navigate the best path for your company

There are still many ways to steer your business in the right direction with advertising. Don’t forget, this is a change only to Apple products, and Android is still a viable option. Although Android stated that they would eventually (within about a year) be implementing similar changes, they are still an open book. According to Statista, in 2021, there will be around 130.6 million Android users in the US alone. Apple has a solid customer base, and they’re pretty loyal, but Android still makes up about 87% of smartphone users. 

Don’t forget about social media. There are still organic posts that probably did very well for your company. Which posts were they? What was the content? Why did they get so many customers flocking to your brand? Let the data do the work, and see what has worked and why. Organic social posts are always a solid strategy when it comes to marketing. Remember that new engaging content is always the best way to stay ahead. 

Your website is still the hub for your brand. Utilize the analytics and tracking capabilities set up where your customers reach you most, your URL. When it comes to knowing what your user wants, heatmaps can be a handy tool. See where your customers are looking on your website and if any UI/UX updates are needed. There are always ways to stay ahead of changes in advertising, and policy changes such as Apple’s ATT are inevitable. Remember always to keep testing and never get bogged down in what you used to do yesterday. 



Leave a Reply