There’s always a lot of buzz when Apple unleashes an update, and iOS 14 is no different. Further, we’ve all heard the tall tales and rumors about how legislation is on its way – gearing up to strike down Facebook advertising – but to date, this hasn’t happened. Facebook advertising has continued to generate billions in annual revenue, which has steadily increased since 2017. This time, however, there may be more truth to the matter (if Facebook’s reaction to the update has anything to teach us). Getting up to speed with what the iOS 14 update has on tap can help you continue to tweak and maximize your Facebook marketing and advertising efforts.
Calling All Marketers
In short, any business that advertises mobile apps or that focuses on web conversion events is likely to be affected by the update. iOS 14 will dramatically alter the way that Facebook will be processing conversion events from tools like Facebook pixel, which is going to make measuring the effectiveness of advertising trickier. The update requires all apps in the App Store to ask users on iOS devices for permission to be tracked by the app in question outside of the actual platform. This boils down to transparency in relation to tracking, and it allows customers to either go all in or decline altogether. This permission request is similar to the Yes, I accept cookies button (in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR) we’ve all been seeing for a while now.
When Customers Opt-Out
When a customer chooses not to allow tracking, it sets off an avalanche of effects that include:
- A serious decrease in the effectiveness of Facebook pixel, which can lead to inaccurate conversion reporting that segues into ineffective remarketing.
- Greater potential for wasted spend and ad copy that is less personalized.
- A weakening of targeting options, which seriously hinders the creation of hyper-personalized ads.
Facebook Loses Its Cool
Facebook’s stance in response to the update has been less than sanguine. The fact is that the update has the potential to affect their bottom line, which has a tendency to make the goliath pay attention. Facebook users have become a lot savvier about what Facebook gets up to with their personal data, and it would be foolishly optimistic to believe that they’re going to opt-in en masse. When you consider that nearly 80 percent of Facebook users (according to Statista) only access the app on their phones – compared to less than 2 percent who only access it on their computers and 18 percent who do both – it shines a brighter light on Facebook’s angst. Consider the following:
- A very significant number of those phone-only users are on iPhones and are, thus, affected by the iOS 14 update.
- Some of these users will blindly accept the request to allow their data to be tracked, but presumably, many more will not.
Consumers are very aware, and exposés like the Social Dilemma and recurring data-based scandals leave them wary of Facebook’s antics.
In a Classic Facebook Move, It Blames Apple
Facebook – being Facebook – has taken a defensive stance and is blaming Apple for an update that it claims is going to hurt the little guy. To put this in perspective, Facebook has not built its monolithic brand worrying about the little guy. Facebook has wrung out a few tears about how it’s going to be hard for smaller businesses to advertise on its highly inviting platform, but it’s important to note that Facebook built its empire on the backs of major advertising players – not its new pet project, the little guy. If massive businesses with deep advertising pockets begin to lose interest in what Facebook has to offer, it will hit them where it hurts, and they don’t want that to happen. This is not to say, however, that the update will not adversely affect the little guy – because it will; in fact, it’s going to affect all advertisers.
Although Facebook’s motivations are less than altruistic, the rationale behind FB’s post entitled Speaking Up for Small Business (written by the VP of Ads and Business Products, Dan Levy) is valid. In Levy’s view, Apple is moving forward with the update in an effort to motivate apps to include in-app payment systems, which benefit Apple. Further, Levy rightly maintains that the update will limit the ability of small businesses to target their advertising, which seriously limits the reach of their much smaller advertising budgets. The bitterest pill for Facebook seems to be that Apple – in its infinite wisdom (and power) – has cleverly left itself out of this arrangement and won’t be sending you an opt-in or opt-out prompt of its own.
It’s Personal: What it Means for You
The latest iPhone operating system update is going to affect your Facebook advertising, and it’s a good idea to have a feel for what this is going to mean for you personally.
Apple doesn’t get a cut of Facebook’s stream of ad revenue unless it comes through an in-app payment, so Apple made that happen. Be prepared to address the issue of an in-app payment system sooner rather than later.
When customers opt-out of the optional tracking, which many – if not the vast majority – are expected to do, the information generated by Facebook pixel is nullified, which you can expect to seriously strain the effectiveness and efficiency of your advertising. Further, the trend toward depersonalization will have its own negative impact.
Call The Web Guys Today
The iOS 14 update is real, and addressing its potential impact on your business head-on is paramount. It’s important to remember, however, that you are not alone out there – the digital marketing pros at The Web Guys have the technological savvy and insight to help you make the right moves for your business. We’re well prepared to help, so please don’t put off contacting us at (317) 805-4933 today.