This week, Apple released their ‘controversial’ new update to their flagship mobile operating system. Whilst it had a number of new features such as the ability to use Face ID whilst wearing a mask; the one addition that has advertisers worried is its new privacy policy. From now on, data that is collected through Apple’s mobile devices will change. Here’s how.

Apple’s New Privacy Policy

Apple confirmed with the launch of iOS 14.5, there is also a change coming to ATT (App Tracking Transparency), in layman’s terms, the ATT is Apple’s data sharing and privacy policy.

From now on, Apple now requires all mobile app advertisers receive an ‘opt-in’ from users in order to track their web and app activity. Whilst this seems like a great thing for consumers, being offered the ultimate privacy, security and control over the ads they see, it’s expected that not all users will accept this prompt to opt-in. This could make it much harder for businesses to reach their target audience and deliver relevant ads.

From now on, whenever an iPhone or iPad user downloads your app, they’ll be shown a prompt which asks if it’s okay for the app to track them. As i’m sure you’re aware, when offered this choice – the majority of people will ask for their details not to be tracked.

Whilst Apple’s new policy might seem shocking for us advertisers, they’re not the first tech giant to take action when it comes to data privacy. Just in the last year, Google, another huge player in the advertising world, announced that it will phase out third party cookies on Chrome and will be offering replacement tracking tools such as it’s new ‘Privacy Sandbox’ from 2022.

The Response to Apple’s New Privacy Policy

As you can imagine, the new update has caused ripples across the mobile advertising ecosystem, and some of the biggest players have already responded. A spokesperson for Facebook said:

“Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ad personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events,”

Meanwhile, Google, who have also been taking on their own privacy initiatives, provided information for developers and advertisers about how the change will impact them, whilst also reminding users of the importance of digital privacy. A spokesperson for Google said:

“At Google, we’ve always put users and their privacy first. Transparency, choice and control form the bedrock of our commitment to users, and advertising is no different. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open app ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected,” the Google post explains. “That’s why we’ll continue to invest in privacy-preserving technology ― including aggregated and on-device solutions ― like what we’re developing for the web, along with ecosystem partners, in the Privacy Sandbox.”

Tips for Navigating Apple’s Privacy Changes

This change will likely impact your current ad campaigns, however the size of its impact is still somewhat uncertain, there are a few areas you can still lean into and optimise your content for the right audiences.

Use Android campaigns: the iOS 14.5 update only affects Apple devices so you can still segment your audiences by Android users and target them.

Turn to your website: Use your website’s tracking capabilities or analytics tools to understand where your visitors are coming from and create audiences based on those visitors.

Use Organic Efforts: Take a closer look at your organic social media and content strategy. Use that data to strengthen your brand.

Whilst the times ahead may seem a bt more difficult for markets and advertisers, it’s important to note that the industry is likely to evolve and find ways to reach prospective customers. As Apple rolls out this update, we’ll be paying close attention to how advertisers respond. As always, if you need to get in touch with a marketing expert about your digital strategy – don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

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