Advertisers and Facebook in panic as majority of iPhone users reject “tracking”
With the release of iOS version 14.5 earlier this year, iPad and iPhone users have the option to opt out of cross-site and cross-app tracking and targeting for advertising purposes (so they can “see” customized ads based on their interests, needs, etc.).
According to new data from polling and analytics firm Branch, just 25% of users allow tracking within and across sites and apps, causing panic in the advertising and marketing industry (you can read about the extremely important change in iOS 14.5 here).
As noted in a Bloomberg report, this change in user preferences for Apple’s mobile devices has most affected advertising companies operating on Facebook, as the social network can no longer offer specific metrics and indicators to advertisers to help them understand whether their ads are working, i.e. having any influence or not: “The biggest impact was seen last month mostly among Facebook advertisers. Those companies that ‘run’ Facebook ad campaigns can’t reliably see how many sales their clients are making, so it’s harder for them to know which Facebook ads are working. The loss of this data also affects Facebook’s ability to display ads featuring a company’s products to potential new customers. It also makes it harder to “re-target” people with ads that show users products or items they have searched for online but may not have purchased.”
Although Facebook declined to comment on the Bloomberg article, data from the Branch company shows that just 25% of iPhone users now running iOS 14.5 or a later version that has the “App Tracking Transparency” feature allow their activity to be tracked by apps and websites.
Facebook says it is working on a number of new features to compensate for the loss of specific data due to the “App Tracking Transparency” feature including “new ad features that require less data to evaluate the success of an ad.” The company is also reportedly exploring ways to serve ads based on data stored on the user’s device.
“Apple’s policy hurts businesses’ ability to effectively leverage their advertising budgets, and the restrictions that have been put in place are due to Apple’s prohibitions in its favor,” said a spokesperson for Facebook, which has tried to prepare advertisers with alerts, blog posts and webinars. “We believe personalized ads and user privacy can coexist,” the Facebook spokesman said.