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    New iOS rollout set to disrupt Facebook ads

    Posted on January 12, 2021

     

    In the coming weeks, iOS 14 will be rolled out onto Apple devices – an update that will be throwing some curveballs in the way of Facebook advertisers.

    The latest update to the operating system of tech giant Apple includes a new prompt for all apps. This aims to make users aware, before they install the app, of the data it will use to track them. This includes location, contact info, browsing history, financial info and identifiers. When a user then installs the app, they will receive a pop-up box asking for them to either opt-in or out of the data tracking. This has been named “Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT)”.

    Apple’s Tim Cook tweeted about this back in December, saying:

    “We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 ill just require that they ask your permission first.”

    This is great news for those users who are concerned about their privacy and the use of their data. For Facebook, however, this presents a particular problem. When it comes to advertising on Facebook, the social media giant heavily relies on usage information from its users in order to report on ad conversions, like purchases or ads to cart, and to create remarketing ads – ads shown to users who have visited a website but not made a desired conversion, like making a purchase.

    While the option to opt out of sharing this data is already available to Facebook users, it has not been easy to find. With the new iOS update, however, and the choice being presented so clearly, it is likely that many users will make the decision to opt out. ATT was first announced in summer last year, and Facebook released a statement* at the time that made clear it wasn’t happy with the update. Apple did delay the launch, but said it would still be rolling out around February of this year.

    While Facebook takes centre stage and will be the advertiser the update affects the most, other apps that follow a similar advertising structure will also be affected. It is also likely that this is only the beginning of users being able to take better control of their data and privacy, and companies taking measures of their own – Google, for example, has stated its intentions to be free from cookies by 2022.

    The new iOS update will undoubtedly have an impact on reporting data for Facebook ads, but advertisers should note that this will only relate to iOS 14 users, and until the update is launched, there is no telling what the opt out rate will be. In addition, it’s important to note that this won’t stop ads being seen or conversions taking place – it will just affect data reporting afterwards. Facebook has also released recommended steps for advertisers to take in preparation for the ATT release, which can be viewed here**.

    If you would like help in running Facebook ads, or want to to learn more, give our team at Engage Web a call today.

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