Major social media and internet companies have released statements over the last few quarters that have indicated the Apple iOS 14.5 privacy update have drastically affected growth and revenue.
The iOS 14.5 firmware update gives users the ability to choose whether they want apps to track and, subsequently, share their data. Notably, social media companies, such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Snap Inc., have had significant revenue losses continuing to this day.
Seeing that Apple has a large foothold on the smartphone market and subsequently the social media market — after all, most people access social media on smartphones — marketers are scrambling to find other options to understand consumers.
How Companies Respond to iOS 14.5
Facebook can no longer automatically track user behavior and location, so they have been forced to spend more on advertising. Facebook has responded by spending more money directly to Apple for displaying ads. On the user side, if you see more banner ads and expanded produced descriptions on the App Store, it is because they need to bring more users to the platform.
In a way, Apple allows users to hold the “Sword of Truth.” Collective distrust of Facebook’s parent company Meta’s data practices has led users to block FaceBook, and FaceBook-related websites, from seeing their data. The total effect of this fallout undoubtedly has that to blame, and Meta is forking a $10 billion loss because of it.
Given that Instagram is also owned by Meta, Instagram is also feeling the hit from Apple’s policy updates. Since being purchased in 2012, Instagram has expanded from an image-sharing app to a full-fledged social media app with marketplace features.
While Instagram’s revenue and total users have soared to unimaginable heights, way past expectations of the company when purchased by Facebook, less data means less revenue, despite it being more trusted than Facebook.
The Situation Broken Down
In general, social media platforms that target ads through algorithms have fallen. Algorithms are no longer able to track and learn from users without limitations.
Marketing and data companies that utilize these technologies have fallen in the wake and had to re-think business strategies. Small businesses now have to pay for more ads, which have become less effective.
Marketers Confront New iOS 15 Updates
Apple’s newest wave of updates, iOS 15, started releasing to the public in late June 2021. While many of these updates are cosmetic and functional, marketers should take notice of the privacy changes.
Users can now get weekly privacy reports on their apps and see expanded information about what data is used. Additional updates to voice search, location tracking, photos library, and iCloud have added more privacy options to avoid data tracking.
In a similar vein, users can hide their emails online when signing up for and accessing websites. The Hide My Email function gives companies a unique random email address that forwards newsletters and potential spammy marketing gobbledegook to their personal email.
The iPhone 14 is coming out on September 14, and while privacy features may be consistent between phone versions, demand is at an all-time high – with privacy being a key factor.
In a sort of way, Apple’s privacy updates have leveled the playing field for marketers and have led people to pursue more creative and traditional forms of marketing to reach consumers.
Marketing efforts should now rely more on getting data from other parts of the martech stack, such as web analytics, or data sources from non-Apple devices. Stick to the basics, like surveys, polls, and contests, to get data from Apple users instead.
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