Apple revealed the iOS 14 update during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. They released the beta versions of the update publicly earlier on Tuesday. iOS 14 includes some major upgrades in the privacy feature. And this has got Facebook a little worried.
Following the release, Facebook has released a blog post voicing their concerns. The new iOS update allows users to disable tracking between apps. This means that advertisers will lose their chance to use their ads effectively.
The updated privacy feature on iOS 14 requires apps to ask users for permission. This lets users control how Apple’s device identifier collects and shares data.
But how does this affect advertisers, and why is Facebook troubled by this move?
Advertising companies assign a unique code – Identification for Advertisers (IDFA) to every device. Facebook and its advertising partners use IDFA for ad targeting purposes. You have definitely seen the same or similar ads on all the apps that you have logged in to, that’s because of IDFA. The new iOS 14 update will cause users to face many pop-ups across apps. The pop-ups will warn users that they are collecting your IDFA. And the users will have a choice to not share. Now, Facebook is speculating that many users opt to say no.
On their blog post, Facebook has said that the will no longer collect IDFA on their apps on iOS 14 devices. IDFA is a part of Audience Network, Facebook’s ad network for developers.
Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted, and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease.
The company says that the iOS 14 update will impact the Audience Network revenue. And thus Facebook has no choice but to stop the service on iOS 14 enabled devices. Facebook’s own ads won’t face any big blow by the decision. But this will definitely cause a lot of trouble for Facebook’s advertising clients.
While it’s difficult to quantify the impact to publishers and developers at this point with so many unknowns, in testing we’ve seen more than a 50% drop in Audience Network publisher revenue when personalization was removed from mobile app ad install campaigns. In reality, the impact to Audience Network on iOS 14 may be much more, so we are working on short-and long-term strategies to support publishers through these changes.
The latest update allows users to toggle the tracking settings. This users to disable the option for apps to track them. This is a big blow on the silent ad-related tracking that has been going on forever behind the scenes.
Facebook says stating that this move will hurt many of its developers and publishers. It is already a difficult time for many businesses, says Facebook. These updates have a far-fetching impact on the developer ecosystem.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with these industry groups to get this right for people and small businesses.”
The company commits to helping thousands of those who rely on ads from Audience Network. They are building monetization products for publishers. And also plan to support other platforms outside the iOS 14.
Apart from Facebook, there are also many publishers who share similar thoughts. Martin Clarke, publisher of DMG Media says –
It makes it much harder for us to monetize our Apple app users, who are an incredibly loyal readership. And quite frankly, it puts at risk our ability to provide an Apple app.
If a platform monetizes less than others, publishers and developers will definitely hesitate. They don’t see a strong point in launching an app for it.
Untargeted ads are basically worthless.
Provided that Apple offers more guidance, Facebook is ready to rethink its decision. Meanwhile, it will release an updated version of the Facebook SDK to support iOS 14. This version will provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.
For the users, however, the iOS 14 privacy update passes the reign on privacy to the users themselves. Maybe this is Apple’s move to stay true to the statement passed by its marketing team last year. “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”. Only time will tell.