How Will Apple’s Privacy Changes Affect Marketers?

apple privacy changes marketing

We often hear about data privacy and third-party tracking. Of course, you should do everything you can to protect your data, but the customs may soon change because of Apple’s update. Are you wondering how iOS 14.5 will affect your marketing plan?  

It’s important to understand the upcoming changes to Apple’s privacy policy and its impact on your marketing efforts. Once you understand the developments, you will be better prepared to alter your strategy. Another option to work through this update is collaborating with a digital marketing agency to adjust your online marketing campaigns.

Apple’s newly updated App Tracking Transparency policy aims to provide Apple users with confidence and peace of mind regarding apps and their involvement in data collection. Instead of a single toggle for all in-app data tracking, users will now see an opt-in message every time they download an app, allowing them complete control over which apps they allow to track their data. 

What’s Changing With Apple’s Privacy Policy?  

Apple has completely altered its privacy policy with the iOS 14.5 update, changing how users control data tracking and privacy through Apple devices. Previously, users had the option of toggling data privacy on or off, and advertisers used the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA) system to coordinate data tracking and collection from these users. Users could opt out of IDFA with a blanket yes-or-no toggle. Either they were comfortable allowing apps to track their data on their devices, or they weren’t. If users opted into IDFA data collection, advertisers could harvest user data and collate it with other third-party data collection tools. The new update exchanges this yes-or-no toggle with an individual prompt for each app.  

All apps will prompt the user to agree to data collection upon initial launch with the new change. Companies that want to harvest data through their Apple apps must allow users to opt-in or out of data collection upon launching their app. If the user opts out of this, the app cannot collect their data through IDFA or any third-party data collection tools.  

The only exception to this new rule is that companies who run multiple companies under the same umbrella can use one opt-in/out option for all their apps. For example, Facebook and Instagram are parts of the same company, so a user would have the option of toggling data collection on or off for both using the same prompt. This allows Facebook to use data gathered from Instagram to produce tailored content on Facebook and vice versa.  

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Potential Issues With the Change 

The recent change to Apple’s privacy policy has been enacted with supposedly altruistic intentions, mainly to provide Apple users with more choice and control over their data and privacy. However, many vocal opponents to this change cite that some small businesses rely on targeted ads. This group will have trouble reaching their customers under the new policy. It’s worth noting that Facebook has been perhaps the most significant and most vocal opponent of this change, going so far as to pay for full-page newspaper ads railing against Apple’s decision to update its privacy policy in this manner. While Facebook claims this stance is due to its desire to stand up for the rights of small businesses, the reality is likely to be that Facebook stands to lose roughly 5% of its tremendous $84 billion per year ad revenue.  

Apple’s change will also mean that the IDFA is disabled at the system level if the user wishes it, meaning developers cannot access user data at all when users opt-out of data collection. Apple has also instructed app developers to respect users’ choices beyond the advertising identifier. If any developers attempt to “sneak” data collected through other means, they could face severe penalties under Apple’s updated terms and conditions for app developers.  

Apple users should expect that the advertising identifiers will only appear once. After a user opts out of data collection, the app cannot continue asking for permission. Additionally, users have the option to opt out entirely from all apps by default through their Apple device system settings.  

Understanding the Change From the Viewpoint of the Customer  

One of the most important things that marketers must keep in mind regarding Apple’s privacy policy is data privacy and data ethics. Apple users will inherently become more invested in how their data is collected and used, and this means that marketers need to ensure they are using customer data appropriately. Privacy restrictions may seem like additional obstacles for marketers, but the reality is that respecting these changes and adjusting data collection methods accordingly will foster greater trust and confidence between marketers and their target audiences.  

Before this change, app developers and their partnered marketers could rely on a host of third-party data collection options to target their ads and content to Apple users. The new change will undoubtedly bring challenges but also opportunities. Primarily, app developers must now position themselves as first-party data collectors. Instead of gathering your marketing data from a third-party source, you must position yourself as a direct-to-consumer brand, providing your customers with the option of giving their data to you willingly for more personalized experiences with your brand.  

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The vast majority of Apple users would prefer to opt-out of data collection entirely, given the option to do so. This has caused many marketers, such as those at Facebook, to decry the change to Apple’s privacy policy, citing the increased difficulty in reaching customers with highly targeted ads. However, while marketers will be unable to rely on previously robust data collection methods, the change does offer marketers the unique opportunity to build trust with their audiences and develop new and creative ways to engage with customers and collect their data willingly.  

How Marketers Need to Adapt  

Apple’s updated privacy policy certainly makes digital advertising through data collection more challenging for modern marketers. Customers now have much more direct control over their data privacy on Apple devices, and more people than ever before are conscious about their data. Most modern consumers are unwilling to do business with companies if they are not confident that they will use their data ethically. 

Marketers must now look very carefully at their current marketing campaigns and data collection tools. They can no longer rely on many data collection avenues that previously helped them target their marketing materials effectively to Apple device users. However, re-creating data collection policies and reconfiguring marketing campaigns can enhance the relationships between marketers and their target customer bases. Providing transparency and value will increase customer trust. Ensuring customers’ data will be leveraged for their benefit rather than simply sold for profit will increase the likelihood of users opting into data collection. Modern consumers value transparency and ethical business, and they’re better informed about data collection and privacy than previous generations.  

Currently, this change will likely impact brands that advertise through social media apps like Facebook and Instagram the most. These companies will have a more challenging time connecting to their target customers with highly targeted ads when they can no longer rely on third-party data collection. While this can certainly present challenges to small and medium-sized businesses that rely on social media app data collection, it also presents an opportunity.  

Segment Your Audiences 

One of the most cost-effective first steps to address Apple’s privacy update is to segment your customer list based on whether they engage with you through Apple or Android devices. Of course, Android devices are entirely unaffected by Apple’s policy change, so legacy data collection methods will still hold value. However, segmenting your customer list this way allows you to target your adjustments more precisely to your customers using Apple devices.  

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Rethink Facebook Marketing 

Facebook marketing is a critical revenue generator for many small and medium-sized businesses, but it no longer needs to be the single source of generating connections with your customer base. Currently, the most popular form of Facebook marketing is tracking pixels that allow Facebook marketers to track user behavior inside the Facebook app. However, with Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, it’s now only possible to place up to eight tracking pixel objectives in a single domain, significantly reducing the efficacy of Facebook marketing using pixels.  

It’s worth considering how to leverage your own data tracking via your brand’s website. While in-house data collection and user tracking may not seem very intuitive or cost-effective, for now, it provides you one of the best ways to gather insights on your customers outside the Facebook platform.  

Ramp Up Your First-Party Data Collection  

First-party data collection is likely to become a mainstay of digital marketing following the significant changes to Apple’s privacy policy. While this certainly places additional pressure on modern marketing teams, it is an opportunity to develop a more comprehensive, effective, and transparent data collection system that offers customers confidence and peace of mind.  

Your website has many tracking tools that will allow you to collect valuable user data for re-targeting purposes, so it’s crucial to invest accordingly. This way, you can take full advantage of your own website’s data collection functionality.  

Enhance Organic Reach Through Social Media  

While the recent change to Apple’s privacy policy will certainly impact many companies’ reach across Facebook and other social media platforms, the change ultimately requires nothing more than a shift in perspective. Instead of relying on Facebook or other social media platforms to gather user data for you, you simply need to rethink how you use your social media presence to increase the amount of organic user traffic you generate to your website.  

Invest in higher quality social media content that not only engages your target audience but also encourages them to interact with your brand outside social media. Invest in more compelling content that drives website traffic, and then leverage your own first-party data collection tools to re-target ads and leverage user data more effectively.  

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