iOS 14.5 and its Effect on Advertising Platforms

iOS 14.5 and its Effect on Advertising Platforms

The update:

To recap in brief, in April of this year, Apple released its iOS 14.5 software update, which, along with new features and bug fixes, included a privacy update titled App Tracking Transparency.

App Tracking Transparency gave Apple device users control over which apps they allow to track their activity across other apps and websites.

Apps now need to ask for the user’s permission to track them while using the app, which before iOS 14.5 was the default setting, users actively had to turn off.

The impact:

As a result of this update, external advertisers have a 72-hour delay in accessing data and in aggregate, meaning they have lost the user-by-user granular data they were accustomed to.

Apple still has access to this data, which means that if advertisers want access to that granular, real-time data for iOS users, they are required to advertise through Apple. This has resulted in a huge $5 billion windfall for Apple, and their Search Ads revenue is expected to quadruple to $20 billion over the next three years.

Snapchat stock fell 27% after their most recent quarterly earnings announcement, driven by their advertising business being deeply affected by the iOS update.

While we anticipated some degree of business disruption, the new Apple-provided measurement solution did not scale as we expected, making it more difficult for our advertising partners to measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS.” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

Meta (formerly Facebook) ads for iOS are not able to attribute as clearly as they did. Despite this, Meta is still essentially in a digital advertising duopoly with Google; they own/control about 80% of the market, so people are still going to advertise on Meta (fish where the fish are!).

It has been reported that Meta is trying to build its own ecosystem, which will allow advertisers to track users on websites accessed from within the platform. Advertisers could track users on external sites previously through having the Facebook pixel installed on those sites. However, third-party cookies being eliminated has caused issues with this. This new ecosystem will build on earlier technologies such as Instagram Shopping, FB Marketplace, FB messenger as a virtual assistant on websites and WhatsApp use as a B2B tool. The e-commerce customer journey could happen entirely within a Meta platform, from awareness right through to purchase potentially even using Meta’s cryptocurrency – Diem.

Pinterest has said that Apple’s privacy changes have impacted the company’s “ability to track user actions off our platform and connect their interactions with on-platform advertising.”

Pinterest is now taking a similar approach to Meta; they are becoming a one-stop shop where a complete purchase journey can take place without leaving the app.

Pinterest has integrated payment, so users are not redirected to an external site to complete checkout. Advertisers can monitor engagements and conversions within the app allowing for improved retargeting.

How the update has impacted Fonemedia clients:

ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) now applies to all iOS WebKit browsers, including Chrome. So, users on the web on an Apple device will be preventing third-party trackers such as Google’s Doubleclick from tracking their activity, limiting conversion tracking.

However, as of September 2021, we know that 21% of Apple device users opted into tracking. Meaning the update has only resulted in a 2.96% decrease in trackable devices worldwide.

Fonemedia’s iOS app install campaigns no longer have access to real-time reporting – results are now delayed by up to 3 days. Reporting is also calculated when Meta receives the data from Apple rather than when the app actually gets installed.

Our Mobile Social campaigns have seen a reduction in custom audience figures, as opted-out iOS device data is no longer included in these audiences. Where we need to increase the audience, Meta recommends targeting expansion. Re-targeting audiences are also smaller, as the data is not being passed back to Meta from iOS users who have opted out of tracking.

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