Last summer, Apple announced a new privacy feature that would require all apps to ask for explicit permission to track a user. This is great! Right? No more creepy ads about what you were just thinking about (we’re sure you searched it somewhere, but we’ll move on). Finally, no Big Brother watching and stalking your every move. This has to be a good thing, we’re certain of it. At first glance, it seems that yes, you do get a bit of privacy back. But let’s take a look at how this will change the way we receive ads.
When Apple first announced the change, there was some obvious pushback from key corporations, including Facebook. Even so, there is now an official release date of “early spring” 2021 for the iOS 14 update. That means that within a month or two, the way we run Facebook ads will change. Drastically.
This will also affect Google, Bing, Pinterest, and others, but for the sake of this blog – and my job – we’re going to focus on Facebook. Basically what the new update will do is ask users if they want to be tracked or not. Instead of in the past, where you had to search through every setting in your phone to find a way to opt-out of certain things, you will now be asked to do so as soon as you open any app. As Forbes reported: “You’ll receive a pop-up notification that reads: ‘x would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. Your data will be used to deliver personalized ads to you.’ You will then be able to choose between ‘Allow Tracking’ or ‘Ask App Not to Track.’” No more searching to get out, no more giving up and allowing the ads to find you, you can now say, “No!” to it all.
So how will this impact the way I run Facebook ads? Well for starters, Facebook will no longer gather the information it always has unless people actually opt into the tracking. As more people opt-out of these tracking features, personalized ads and overall performance will decline substantially. The information that people can now opt-out of is key to the Facebook Pixel and actually seeing results of your ads. The Facebook Pixel is basically a code on a website that knows you’ve been there. It’s also how companies or agencies, much like myself, can run remarketing or follow-up ads. Conversion reporting will change and it will decrease. We simply won’t have the data or tools necessary to reach who we want anymore.
I’m very interested to see how these changes actually play out once Apple officially releases the iOS 14 update. Will Facebook find a more effective way to track visitors? Will we see lost revenue in companies across the nation? Will Apple keep pushing the release date? Will Apple reverse its decision after a month or two of insanely low Facebook numbers? I’ve been wondering these questions for months, ever since Apple and Facebook announced their initial plans. How will this all affect Facebook ads, in general, as well as my ability to continue performing successful Facebook ads for our clients? Only time will tell and I will update you when that time comes.