Apple’s iOS 14 Updates – What Agencies Need to Do Now

What’s Going On?

In summer 2020, Apple released what would immediately be received as a doomsday signal by all digital advertisers alike; iOS 14 updates were coming – and with it – a new option bestowed upon consumers: do they want to be tracked by advertisers? Or do they want to retain their privacy?

The answer seems like a no-brainer to most; today, many internet users agree that digital channels such as Facebook and Google have become seemingly lawless lands, which not only encourage – but thrive off of a gross invasion of privacy. In a 2019 Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey, “84% of respondents indicated that they care about privacy, care for their own data…and they want more control over how their data is being used. Of this group, 80% also said they are willing to act to protect it.” (data privacy manager)

Now, most advertisers will agree – the ads game isn’t about stalking users and forcing them to buy products they’re not interested in. Our whole job is to efficiently find groups of people who are likely interested in the products our clients are selling. Still, for many, the term ‘advertiser’ implores images of snake oil salesmen and deceptive used car dealers. Of course, this isn’t true, but we don’t need to wonder if consumers will trustingly opt in to let us observe. The reality is obvious; most won’t.

So what are advertisers to do? The ability to adapt is what separates successful businesses from those that sink, and in times of digital crisis, our clients are looking to us to protect, innovate, and carve new paths through a dark, dense forest. 

Getting the Innovation Gears Turning

If you’re currently running Facebook ad campaigns for yourself or clients, your first and top priority should be developing an immediate and transparent strategy that will best ensure you’re able to continue understanding campaign efficiencies and define success with the new + limited data available. Client trust is of the utmost importance right now, particularly as many agencies will now be relying on modeled data – be sure you are leading your clients proactively and not reactively here.

Although no one yet understands the full extent of impact the coming changes will bring, we recommend your team consider each change outlined in the table on the next page, and ensure the appropriate team members are aligned on the explicit approach you’ll take to address.

What’s Next?

So now, you’ve got your iOS 14 game plan, but the road doesn’t stop here. Search Engine Journal suggests that while advertisers do need to take a moment to prepare for iOS 14, the larger point of focus should be what hints this rollout can help us forecast when looking ahead, and potentially preparing ourselves for other subsequent changes that fall in line with increased consumer privacy. We tend to agree.

For example, Google conceptually introduced their new Privacy Sandbox in 2020, a product that aims to help bridge the gap between advertiser and consumer agendas. Google notes that ultimately, their goal is to “eliminate third-party cookies by replacing them with viable privacy-first alternatives”, and that “technology advancements such as…fraud protection and anti-fingerprinting are the future of web advertising — and the Privacy Sandbox will power our web products in a post-third-party cookie world.” If Google spots a trend, we suggest you act on it! 

The Bottom Line

More likely than not, this is just the beginning of a data privacy revolution. As advertisers, we are consistently caught in the crossfire between brands’ reliance on consumer information collection and the consumer’s desire for privacy. Some will see this as an insurmountable challenge and fail to meet the demand for innovation; others will see this as an opportunity to create and adapt, and will serve as pioneers lighting a new path that those to come can follow.

Regardless, we all currently sit in the same boat and face the same challenge. In the insightful words of Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. 

So, let’s get to work.

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