iOS 14 – a push for privacy or a death sentence for small businesses?

By Simmie Hunjunt / Marketing , Media Buying , Media Planning / 08th March 2021

Facebook claim that the change will negatively affect small businesses and their ability to grow, whereas Apple argues that through this update they are protecting people’s privacy, but what is the truth regarding the iOS 14 update?

In a nutshell…

This spring, Apple is introducing the iOS 14 AppTrackingTransparency framework. This means that companies will now be required to provide information upfront about how their app collects and uses peoples’ data. The user will then be able to decide whether they want the app to track them and access their devices’ advertising identifier, or not. Obviously, if a large number of people opt out this will make it hard for digital advertisers to access this audience and also be able to fully analyse and understand the effectiveness of their campaigns.

" will be particularly detrimental to small businesses with limited advertising budgets and restricted pathways to access their target audience"

Although this change affects a huge number of companies and social media platforms, Facebook has been particularly vocal about speaking out against the update. A few weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out and said that these privacy changes will hurt the growth of ‘millions of businesses around the world,’ and will be particularly detrimental to small businesses with limited advertising budgets and restricted pathways to access their target audience.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, subtly hit back at Facebook during his speech at The Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels saying, “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.”

However, how much of a positive change is the new iOS 14 update and to what extent will businesses be affected?

For users, it gives them further control over their privacy, how their data is used and by who. Therefore, from an individualistic perspective, the update is a progressive change that is handing over more control to the individual. In a time where people are so much more conscious and protective of their data, these sorts of changes by tech companies are generally welcomed with open arms.

But, with a significant proportion of users expected to opt-out of having their data tracked, this change will reduce the effectiveness of targeted ads and, as such, will negatively affect businesses who assign a significant budget to advertise on social media, or SMEs and start-ups who can’t yet afford other forms of paid media.

"this change will reduce the effectiveness of targeted ads"

Facebook has tried to get ahead of the game by urging iPhone and iPad users to let them track their data so that they can get better-personalised ads that are tailored to their interest. They have begun to show some users their own prompt which will explain why the tracking is beneficial to them and asking them to opt-in, and even when the Apple notification becomes mandatory, they will place theirs first.

This will likely help to a degree and some people may enjoy being shown new products on a daily basis that are relevant and specific to them and their lifestyle and interests. Nevertheless, across the board, it is still likely that large numbers of people will opt-out of being tracked.

Is it just Facebook that is affected?

Other platforms, such as Google and Snapchat, have been less critical of the changes and have said that they respect what Apple is doing and will happily comply whilst also making sure that their business customers are not affected too drastically. However, despite their more positive frontier, these companies will still see negative effects from these changes with Snap’s shares having already gone down by more than 10% in Q1 as Apple’s changes become closer to being implemented.

Is it all bad?

Although Apple can definitely be commended for what they are trying to achieve through this update, which is to give more control to individuals over their data and how it is used, it can be argued that they may not have put much thought into how it might affect businesses. During a time where so many businesses are already struggling, could Apple have done more to try and help advertising platforms to navigate this change and strike a balance where businesses don’t see significant negative effects from the update?

"we are able to tailor and amend strategies to minimise disruption"

At Focus on Media, we keep up to date with the latest changes across all advertising platforms. As an adaptable agency, we are able to tailor and amend strategies to minimise disruption following on from any wholesale changes implemented by all channels.

Although we won’t know what the full effects of the change will be until later this year, for now, we can help you adapt your advertising strategies to help minimise the decrease in the effectiveness and reach of their campaigns.

Contact a member of our team to see how we can help you with your paid social strategies.

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Simmie Hunjunt

Written by

Simmie Hunjunt

Simmie Hunjunt is our Senior Paid Social Executive for Focus on Media. She spent 3 years working in Public Relations where she managed numerous social media campaigns for clients and recently moved to Focus in order to specialise in paid social media full time. Simmie has a particular interest in how each social media platform can be used differently to achieve particular goals. In her spare time, she is a keen baker and loves going on long walks with her Labrador.