Media Unleashed

Unleash your media. Run.

Facebook’s Response to Apple® iOS 14 User Privacy and Data Use

By: Cody Albright    January 4, 2021

What’s the one topic that seemingly goes hand in hand when talking about marketing and 2021? That’s right: privacy (how did you know… were you in my head?!).

Limiting Data Collection Is Nothing New

Consumer privacy as it relates to marketing has been the topic of discussion for months, if not years, so many of the steps that various web browsers, data collectors and even government entities are taking are nothing new. From the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to companies like Apple®, Mozilla and even Google blocking third-party cookies by default, marketers and ad platforms have been adapting quickly to continue reaching relevant audiences with the right messaging, while still maintaining the required levels of tracking transparency.

But Then Comes Apple iOS 14 …

Most businesses probably didn’t feel or even see any of these changes, except perhaps noticing some new pop-ups or banners on websites asking for cookie consent. Many of the changes affected only a select number of businesses, so there may have been some element of “so what?” when it came to all the talk about privacy updates; however, Apple’s updated terms on user privacy and data use with iOS 14 will be felt by businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

The short version of the updated terms is this: In the very near future, Apple will ask iOS 14 users (for every app that’s downloaded) whether they would like to allow that app to track them as they browse the internet via apps or websites.

While this has implications for any app that’s available on Apple’s App Store, we wanted to specifically focus on how this will affect one of the biggest and most used apps for business advertising: Facebook.

Lots of Changes

As mentioned above, not all businesses have had to worry about GDPR or the deprecation of the third-party cookie, but it can be assumed many more businesses use Facebook (and Instagram) to promote their product or service – so this update from Apple will be one felt by the advertising community at large. Thankfully, Facebook has already done a good job of laying out what can be expected and done to prepare. It’s highly recommended that every marketer and business keep a close eye on that announcement page, as this news is still fresh and decisions are fluid.

The first and most pressing action item for businesses is to verify their domain in Facebook Business Manager, which can be done by using a DNS verification or by uploading HTML files to the web root directory of the domain. While this may appear intimidating or difficult, Facebook provides instructions on how to verify your domain so the process can go as smoothly as possible.

Additionally (and this isn’t so much an action as a passive change), the available attribution windows will be reduced from 28 days to a max of seven days for click attribution, and a view-through attribution of no greater than one day. This change will mostly affect businesses with long sales cycles, but it is definitely something to keep in mind when reporting on campaign performance (especially for campaigns being optimized for conversions or leads).

Nowhere to Go but Forward

Regardless of anyone’s opinion on this new “ask for permission” prompt for iOS 14 users, businesses and marketers must prepare for its inevitable implementation. Given the trends in data transparency that were briefly discussed above, we should be bracing for similar changes from other companies in the near future. That being said, only time will tell how the Apple iOS 14 update will affect businesses and marketers.

The good news here is that, according to a Salesforce research article from 2018, various generations of consumers would prefer to have an ad tailored to their individual wants/interests, and they aren’t afraid of giving their data to a brand they trust – they just want to know how the data is being collected, used and shared.

Basically, it’s not that people don’t want to share their information; they just want to be in control of what information is being shared and to whom it’s being given. This is just one more step in that direction.