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What Apple’s iOS 14 Update Means for Your Business

Apple’s upcoming change to iOS 14 is described in many ways.

An attack on businesses.

A long-awaited victory for consumers.

Something that will deeply affect the websites you love.

A way for users to take back control of their digital footprint.

It might sound like a lot of noise to make about an internal operating system, but it’s true – it’s really like revolutionary and polarizing as it is claimed to be.

And when it comes to revolutionary, polarizing technological changes, we know that you, the marketer who is just trying to keep customers coming back, often struggle with what is really important and directly applies to you.

Hint: This one is really important and applies directly to you.

So we’ve broken down the basics of this change – what’s really going on, why, and what you need to do about it.

What is happening

In the coming weeks, Apple will be rolling out an update to its iOS 14 (the latest operating system for iPhone and iPad) that will allow users to control how they share their data, as well as with whom and with what. share their data. This change will come just weeks after Apple began demanding Privacy labels, requiring businesses and developers to share how your data will be used before downloading a new app. Once implemented, “opt-out” will be the most significant change to any operating system in terms of data privacy.

Soon your apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter (to name a few) will need to request users for permission to track data on them. And there are many different opinions on the effect of this change, as well as who it will affect the most.

This change comes not after months, but years of talking about privacy issues. Of electoral interference, at congressional inquiries, at polarization, at general public distrust of technology companies, data privacy has been at the center of a national conversation about the power of tech and social media companies. Many feel that this new digital world has led to a lack, or outright loss, of control over your own personal data. This is Apple’s solution to this problem.

While most people, consumers and tech giants alike, would agree that an increase and a focus on personal data security is a good thing, but it has a very massive effect on one thing in particular. : personalization of advertising.

What does this mean for advertising

Some, if not most, are expected to choose to opt out of apps sharing their data. This means that they will receive much less relevant ad recommendations, which could lead to an overall decrease in user experience. The ads will still be there, they just might not match the user’s interests.

Simply put, it might be more difficult for advertisers to reach their target audience the way they do. This means that online advertising, at least on iOS devices, could become much less effective.

Google and Facebook, the two largest ad networks in the world, have been adamantly opposed to this coming change. And Facebook is arguing that the change will hurt small businesses using its advertising platform.

Facebook is by far the most effective and affordable way for small businesses to advertise and market their products. Due to the decrease in audience size, it will be more difficult to reach a large number of people. Advertisers will also be less data driven to determine what works and what doesn’t. There will likely be a lot more guesswork when it comes to optimizing campaigns.

Whether you are a small vendor using Facebook ads to sell products, or a content-based app or platform that displays ads to make money, Facebook is arguing that this change to iOS will have a significant impact and negative about your business.

Here’s how.

For starters, Facebook expects this change to immediately affect the effectiveness of the audience network. Without the ability for publishers to share data and information with advertisers, businesses will not be able to access their own user data to effectively spend their advertising dollars. And, as the number of consumers shrinks, Facebook expects audience network usage to become much less popular for advertisers.

All in all, Facebook can potentially remove the audience network from iOS. This means that by implementing AN ads, you will only reach users of non-Apple devices. But that remains to be seen, and it will take them some time to assess whether this is really what they want to do.

To be fair, we always had questions about its effectiveness in the first place. While it works for some, it usually resulted in a lot of accidental clicks and bot interactions. For us at DM that will change very little.

Facebook also expects this to have a big impact on the effectiveness of advertising for predominantly mobile users. If someone uses Facebook and clicks a link that takes them to their mobile browser, Facebook cannot track any of that information. Because of this, things like conversion tracking and retargeting campaigns will suffer.

Finally, Facebook introduces aggregate event management to track without collecting specific personal data. We have little information on this, but we do know one thing: Facebook limits users to 8 conversion events (« buy now », « add to cart », « pay », etc.) per domain. And the advertiser can prioritize the conversion events they want to track. This gives advertisers some sort of information about the effectiveness of their advertising and sales process.

Keep in mind that this is by domain. It could really affect ecommerce businesses that sell a lot of products and hence have a lot of products on their website. It’s possible that this will change or only take certain events into account for tracking, but there’s really no way to know until it’s launched.

What you need to do now

The best thing you can do right now, according to Facebook, is to validate your domain. This is especially important for businesses whose pixels are used by multiple business owners or personal ad accounts. Verifying the domain will not guarantee any immediate or future disruption in the ability to configure conversion events.

The next thing to do is start planning to use only 8 conversion events. This means that you are going to have to rank the conversion events that matter most to you. Because, once you set these priorities, ad units not using these 8 events will automatically be put to sleep.

After that, continue to prepare. 28-day click-through, 28-day, and 7-day attribution windows will not be supported. Historical data for these windows will remain accessible through the Ads Insights API. But be aware that the way many of them measured results will change, so figuring out how to quantify success through advertising will have to change as well.

You should also adopt the Windows Comparison feature to see how the conversions attributed to ads compare between different attribution windows. This allows you to better anticipate the impact on reported conversions as a result of upcoming attribution window changes.

Final thoughts

This change has probably made your marketing plan a lot more complicated. These are massive changes, sure, but the best thing you can do is prepare to be flexible. Things are changing for everyone. That being said, here are some thoughts and immediate questions.

To begin, how can you really deduce whether a campaign was effective or not? It will be a million dollar question in the near future. With the way we measure effectiveness and our metrics changing as a result of this update, the people who find out how to measure success will be the ones leading the way in this new paradigm.

Secondly, how do we reach all the Apple users who opt out? There are currently 264 million people in iOS Facebook users. And most of those users are in the United States. If half of them decide to withdraw, in what ways can we reach them?

At the end of the day, you’ll have to get creative. And we’re guessing that organic ad campaigns might suddenly become more popular.

Facebook may be right – it can have the most impact on small businesses, and it will be on the less savvy. Don’t panic, but be prepared to change your approach. Right now there is a lot of ambiguity that will clear up with experience. Once these changes are deployed, we can begin to pivot. Prepare as best you can… but it’s a time of waiting. It is simply a dress rehearsal of what is inevitable. The focus on data sharing and privacy isn’t going away anytime soon.

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