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What Apple’s new iOS update means for your Facebook ads

Apple’s latest operating system has brought some spiffy visual improvements to our iPhone screens, but the biggest changes are the ones happening behind the scenes. 

In this blog post, we explore how Apple’s new privacy policies could affect the digital marketing landscape and what we’re doing at Harper Digital to adapt to the new state of play. 

Privacy changes come to iOS 14.5

In April 2021, Apple rolled out iOS 14.5, an operating system update that included a new privacy feature dubbed App Track Transparency (or ATT for short). 

In a nutshell, ATT gives users more control over their mobile phone app data. It works by requiring app developers to get express consent from users to allow their activity to be tracked across apps. Tracking is based on the IDFA, a device identifier assigned by Apple to a user’s device, which advertisers use to deliver targeted ads. 

Under the new privacy policy, users are prompted to give every app permission to track certain activity. If you’re an iPhone yourself, you’ve probably seen this in action. 

Facebook Advertising and Apple

“They’ll see a simple pop-up that basically prompts them to answer the question of, are they okay with being tracked or not? If they are, things move on,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained in an interview with the New York Times. “If they’re not, then the tracking is turned off for that individual with respect to that specific app.”

The challenge for advertisers

For users, a higher level of data sovereignty is unquestionably a good thing. From a marketing perspective, however, the changes introduce some interesting challenges in two main areas:

  • App developers: Prior to iOS 14.5, users could limit ad tracking by digging through the toggles buried deep in the iOS settings. With this new update, users are directly prompted to opt-in or opt-out of tracking for every app. It’s likely that many users will choose to opt-out. For businesses with mobile apps, this could impact their ability to track user behaviour. 
  • Facebook advertisers: The privacy changes also introduce new limitations on conversion reporting (e.g. online sales and other website events), which will affect Facebook analytics and advertisers’ ability to track campaign performance. 

Some companies – such as Facebook – have been extremely critical of the changes, arguing that the new privacy policies could hurt small businesses that rely on Facebook’s ad network to reach customers. 

How we’re adapting

Here at Harper Digital, we’ve watched these developments with keen interest and have already taken steps to ensure our clients are ready for the changes. We’re updating campaign settings across the board so that we can continue to measure performance of your Facebook ad campaigns and access the information we need to make good business decisions. 

To ensure your ads are performing to their full potential, we may need to contact you for assistance in verifying your business website. We’ll show you exactly what you need to do when the time comes. 

Predictions for the future

Privacy is becoming an increasingly important topic and it’s likely that we’ll see more privacy-related changes in the years ahead from both hardware manufacturers and service providers. 

As the digital marketing world continues to evolve, we’re dedicated to staying one step ahead of the game. If you want to discuss how these changes could affect your marketing, please get in touch with us.