Will Apple’s iOS 14 kill Your Facebook Ads?

Apple takes another blow at Facebook on its crusade to protect its customer’s privacy. This is a developing issue that will impact how advertisers can target their ads to users on Facebook’s platform and how consumers can better control their privacy. This impacts the advertiser’s ability to generate revenue from those ads. This brief summary of the issue will cover some of the issues that will be affected with more to come as we approach the official release date of IOS 14. Apple has not said when iOS 14 will launch, but it’s expected to roll out this year. Nick Espinosa’s short video explains it on his YouTube channel which covers some of the main points.

Apple’s latest IOS 14 update will require apps to ask users permission to collect and share their data using Apple’s device identifier (learn about Apple’s device identifier). This basically means that you can control whether you will grant permission for an advertiser to collect and use your data to send you personalized ads and content.

Today, advertisers use a unique device ID number called the IDFA to target ads and estimate how well they perform. In iOS 14, each app that wants to use these identifiers will ask the users to opt in to tracking when the app is first launched. Facebook said its apps will not collect IDFA information on iOS 14.

If you take into consideration that there are over 275 million iPhones in the U.S. alone this year, with an anticipated growth of 284 million by 2022, I will say this can affect just about all advertisers who advertise on Facebook. This represents about a 45% market share in the U.S. of iPhone owners. This is huge, no matter who you advertise to online or on social media.

Smartphone users in United States
Find more statistics at Statista
Apple smartphone users in United States

As a consumer this gives us more control over our privacy and the ability to not receive certain content or advertisements from companies you do not wish to do business with. This sounds great, but let us be honest, how many times do we not buy something from a company or product we never heard of if it wasn’t from an ad that you did not opt in for? This reminds me of something most of us miss from online video streaming services – the serendipitous feel of channel surfing. This feeling is so strong that just about every video streaming service tries to mimic this feel by trying to make recommendations based on your viewing habits. They are not just trying to mimic; they are trying to improve it. Yet, in my opinion, it is still not the same. In fact, when Pandora first came out, it was like magic! It would play all my favorite songs from when I was a teenager till that day, and I did not have to search for or remember them. The delight of stumbling across an old favorite movie or show, or discovering something new because there was nothing else to watch and ended up loving it is kind of what I feel we will miss from the way we advertise today.

We will only know for sure how this change will affect our online experiences over time. There will certainly be an adjustment period that will help shape the days to come, so as advertisers and marketers, we must stay tuned and be ready to adapt. Do not be surprised if your ad performance plummets the first few weeks, so be ready.

Outside of bracing for change and responding accordingly, the first thing to do is learn about the developing issues. But I do not think this will be enough. I think this gives us marketers an opportunity to refine our craft and up our game. If we can do a better job of targeting our audiences and providing them services that they perceive the have value, you will feel the impact less.

Short List of some things you can do to lessen the blow and bounce back quicker:

  1. Study your data – don’t just look at results, dive deeper and see how and why your ads get engagement.
  2. Build on this data – run some surveys, ask your customers what they think about receiving your ads or how they would improve it.
  3. Be bold – many companies play it safe when it comes to their ads. This may be an opportunity to step outside your norms. Use what you learn from your customers.
  4. Collaborate – everyone will feel the pain. Get on forums or professional groups having this discussion and see what others are doing.
  5. Diversify your marketing mix – this may be a time that retargeting display ads can be more helpful than normal. Look into native ads.
  6. Have you considered marketing automation? – marketing automation is not just a marketing and sales tool; it is a tremendous learning tool that can provide insight into your customers by connecting the engagement across multiple platforms and mediums.

In summary, this is another bump on the road in the evolution of marketing and technology. I am confident that we will find solutions for better ways to connect to our customers and potential customers. My overall recommendation is to focus on creating ads that your customer wants to see because it has value to them, even if they don’t know you just yet.

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