Recent privacy update by Apple to its operating system iOS 15, the impact of these changes on advertisers and marketing agencies, how advertisers can be prepared for these changes.
Facebook Ads and iOS 15: How can advertisers prepare?
Privacy is a good thing, particularly, in a world that is increasingly being driven by data. Today, user data gives tremendous power to the hands of the owner of that data to manipulate user choices. With the expansion of technology in every domain of life, it has become imperative to be aware of the dangers of relying too much on it. Cyber threats are on the rise and even sophisticated data protection software can be breached. Thus, the buzz around privacy and data protection is not uncalled for.
Governments and companies around the world are strengthening their data protection architecture. The most recent company to join this bandwagon is Apple. Apple released a new update to its operating system called iOS 15 in April 2021. The update is expected to be launched this fall season. The planned changes will primarily give users more control over their personal data. The update will bring a set of new privacy measures which will also enhance transparency.
This news definitely brings cheer for Apple’s customers but digital marketers, advertisers and marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners might find it hard to reach out to potential customers and engage with the existing ones. This will, in particular, adversely affect the marketers which rely on Facebook advertising since Facebook uses the mobile phone data of its users for effective ad targeting. These changes and many more yet to come will redefine digital advertising on mobile devices.
Changes in Apple iOS 15
The latest version of Apple’s operating system iOS 15 for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch includes several privacy features which allow customers to limit data-sharing. The privacy features which were released in iOS 14.5 would remain and along with that certain additional features have been added. Let’s have a look at these changes.
Mail privacy protection
This can give a hard time to email marketers. A marketer uses attribution pixels to monitor the performance of email campaigns. Here’s how it works. As soon as someone opens an email, these attribution pixels get downloaded instantly with images. The sender then knows which email addresses opened the email, when they opened it, how often they accessed it, and their IP addresses.
The mail privacy protection feature introduced by iOS 15 will outrightly block the attribution pixels, thus, hiding all such information from email senders. However, this change will only impact emails accessed through Apple’s Mail app and not through any non-Apple platforms like Gmail or Outlook.
App privacy report
A new section introduced in iPhone’s privacy settings lists the types of data your apps have access to, such as the location or even the domains where those apps send data. iOS 15 also contains transparency features like Privacy nutrition labels.
Special features for iCloud subscribers
These additional privacy features are only for subscribers of Apple’s iCloud+ service. They are paid features and include:
Private relay is an internet privacy service, like a virtual private network that encrypts web traffic and hides users’ browsing data. It does so by assigning an anonymous internet protocol (IP) address to the user, making it difficult for sites to track their browsing activities.
Hide my email: This feature allows the users to sign up with a random email address when they register with an app or website. The sender sees the fake id instead of the actual email address. It gives more control to the users over the emails they receive. This feature works on Safari and Mail apps which are logged into an iCloud email.
Should advertisers be concerned about iOS 15?
The recent changes brought by iOS 15 are relatively less disruptive than iOS 14.5. However, the advertisers and marketers need to prepare well for it. Mainly, the email marketers will find it difficult to reach target users on iPhones. A straightforward solution to analyze the email campaign’s success is by excluding the Safari and Mail recipients from your email results and monitor the rest of the recipients.
Thus, the advertisers should take these changes in their stride. They need to understand that privacy concerns and more robust security measures are here to stay. It will require a lot of innovation from them to adapt to these constant changes that lie ahead.
What would these changes mean for advertising on Facebook?
Apple already asks its users whether they want to allow apps to track their activities with their ‘Allow app to track activity’ option. What’s interesting to know is that only 24% of people globally are allowing the apps to track their movements. With the new changes in Hiding my Email and Mail privacy protection features, things will get even more brutal to run profitable ads on Facebook. This will also help Apple grow as a social media network through its pre-installed Facetime and iMessage app. Therefore, the privacy changes released by Apple will impact Facebook advertising and Facebook’s revenues directly.
How can advertisers be prepared?
Personalized messaging is the way to go.
Even though the Hide My Email feature prevents consumers’ tracking by marketers, entrepreneurs still allow for personal communication between the brands and consumers who opt-in to receive promotions and offers by the brands.
Brands need to understand their audience very well and provide them with something relevant to convince them to share their personal information. They can conduct short surveys to gather information about consumer behaviour and preferences. After gaining much more profound insights, brands can double down on sending the correct email or SMS at the right time to make people interested in their brands.
Thus, personalized messaging can lead to long-term connections with consumers along with respecting their privacy.
Look beyond IP addresses.
With the new Private Relay feature in place, it will be difficult for marketers to track the users with the help of IP addresses. Today, users are more concerned about their privacy and their data being shared with undesirable elements. Thus, many tech giants are working to address this concern and make people feel secure. For example, Apple blocked all third-party cookies used for online tracking in its Safari browser last year. Google has planned a similar move by the end of 2023.
It is better that advertisers move away from these old technologies like cookie tracking and be creative and develop alternatives. They need to understand their audience and connect with them at a human level by listening to them and then using that information to improve their services.
Be it Apple or Google, or any other technology company for that matter, they are laying the groundwork for addressing the privacy concerns, which are pretty severe and will become even more significant with further technological advancement. Even though these privacy changes in iOS 15 are still at a nascent stage, the key takeaway for marketers is that digital advertising is dynamic. No one knows what the future holds. Therefore, advertisers should always be on their toes and keep innovating to adjust to the constantly changing digital landscape rapidly.