What the IOS 14 Update Means for Digital Marketing

In 2020, Apple introduced a new feature as part of the IOS 14 update that would give users more control over which third parties will get to control their data. While this update may arguably be great for customers, any brand that advertises through Facebook will likely be negatively affected. 

The IOS 14 update has created a lot of speculation in the media and has been scrutinized by digital marketers everywhere. And no wonder. When it comes to issues of data and user privacy any small change can have large consequences for users, app developers, and third-party advertisers. 

In this article, we will briefly walk you through what the IOS 14 update is, and what the IOS 14 update means for marketers.

What is the IOS 14 Update? 

The IOS 14 update has to do with the way app developers can access user information in order to deliver targeted and personalized ads. This is achieved through the “Identifier for Advertisers” (IDFA), which is an ID used by mobile devices that run an Apple Operating System. In order to deliver users with personalized ads, app developers and digital marketers use the IDFA to create an identity graph of the user. 

While it was already possible to disable data collection by third parties, users had to manually find the option in the settings. With the IOS 14 update Apple users will actually be prompted by the device to either opt-in or opt-out of data collection for every app they use. 

Through this update, when a user downloads an application from the App Store they will see a pop-up window asking them if they would like to grant permission to the app to track their activity on apps and sites owned by other businesses. 

Users who choose to opt-out of data tracking will greatly reduce that application’s ability to track the behavior of users on certain sites and apps. By impacting data tracking and collection permissions, the IOS 14 update also affects the efficacy of Facebook ads, making them less personalized for each user. 

What Does it Mean for Digital Marketing? 

It is expected that most people will choose to opt-out of data tracking when prompted with the option. This entails that the ads that the user receives won’t be tailor made to their activities. Non-personalized ads could cause a drop in user experience. But what the IOS 14 update means for marketers is even more drastic. 

On the marketing side, the IOS 14 update simply means that it will be much harder for companies to use digital advertising to reach their target audience. Facebook has spoken out in opposition to this update, saying it will negatively impact the many small businesses that advertise via Facebook’s platform. 

Furthermore, apps will no longer have access to ID-based demographic information, like age and gender, which served to personalize advertising for users. The IOS 14 update is due to have a massive impact across the digital marketing landscape. 

However, while the media has turned the issue into an Apple vs. Facebook one, it is not so. The in-platform IDFAs used by large companies like Facebook and Google are highly capable of providing them with their own audience targeting methods. Instead, the negative impact will largely be upon the smaller businesses that use in-app and on-site data collection to track user activity. 

Conclusion 

So here is what the IOS 14 update means for marketers. There are a few ways in which businesses can work around the IOS 14 update such as ensuring up-to-date additional tracking, through platforms such as Google Analytics. Further, advertisers could look towards other social media platforms. 

In any case, it is clear that the IOS 14 update will change the digital marketing landscape for advertisers. No matter what, businesses will have to adapt the methods by which they approach online advertising.