The time is nigh for the gloves to come off between Apple and Facebook.
An Apple iOS14 update that is planned for sometime in early 2021 will require all apps to explicitly ask for users’ permission to gather data and track them across mobile apps and websites. This includes Facebook’s app, and as such, it affects the way(s) Facebook can report on ad conversion attribution, ad targeting and retargeting to specific audiences, and more.
In layman’s terms:
You know that feeling where you search for something, mention something, post about something, or sometimes even just think about something, and all of a sudden you’re seeing ads for that thing EVERYWERE? Well, that’s triggered by the use of pixels and cookies. Right now, it’s a pretty automatic thing. You MAY see something on a website that asks you to agree to cookies, but it’s not a requirement in most places. And chances are, you probably just click “OK” and move on about your search.
Apple’s update, when it arrives, will require users to agree to having their information tracked. This will happen via users having to choose between “allow tracking” or ” ask app not to track”, meaning it’s an opt-in system, not opt-out like we’ve typically seen in the past (such as the “OK” button with a tiny message about what you’re agreeing to). Additionally, any tracked information will expire after 7 days.
So what does this mean?
- Real-time reporting will not be supported, so your Facebook reports will be based on when it is reported from Apple, not from when the action actually happens.
- Reporting will be based on users’ settings, so numbers will likely be skewed.
- Ad targeting will also be based on users’ settings/permissions, so targeting will be much less effective.
- Personalization of ads will be limited, and based on studies, less personalization leads to fewer sales.
Facebook has been very vocal in their opposition of this update from Apple. You can read the details of the change on their Business Help Center, as well as read their take on the impacts via Facebook for Business.
I agree with Facebook that this move by Apple could have serious impacts on small businesses. But…I’ll also point out that Facebook put small businesses in a bind when they started moving away from organic reach for business pages (including those of small businesses) and “requiring” ads to be seen by their target audience(s). Small businesses found a way to adapt. It seems to me that Facebook’s panic is more about how this is going to affect the lining of their pockets, not real concern for the little guy. The little guy will once again find a way to adapt, and that may or may not include spending their dollars with Facebook or its family of apps.
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