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How iOS 14 Updates to Privacy Rules Could Affect Your Business

Posted by Kacey M. on Feb 1, 2021 7:05:36 AM
Kacey M.

Tech companies are responding to consumer's concerns over data privacy with increasingly strict requirements for tracking and advertising. One of the most recent changes has been to app tracking with Apple's iOS 14.

This will have a widespread impact on many online businesses. In this article, we'll explore why this is happening, what you need to know about iOS 14, and how it could affect your business.

Why the concern over data privacy?

How many times have you seen a digital ad and wondered if The Powers That Be are listening to your conversations? Did Alexa report back that you were debating the best bedding brands over dinner? 

These highly targeted ads aren't the result of espionage—they're the outcome of thousands of data points about you being offered to advertisers, from the type of content you consume and share to your online purchase behavior. Perhaps they're targeting you because you've shopped bedding on competitors' websites. Or it could be a combination of less obvious factors, like a move to a new home coupled with your likelihood to make an online purchase through an advertisement. 

These data points are invaluable to marketers and businesses, but there is increasing concern from consumers about what is collected and how it is used. Documentaries like The Social Dilemma have made information about Big Data readily available and easily digestible for the curious. Memes about Big Brother watching are abundant on Instagram and other social media channels. And news coverage of security breaches and data leaks show consumers a near worst-case scenario resulting from companies collecting their private information.

The global data industry is expected to be worth $274.3B by 2022. (Source: Statista)

What do I need to know about iOS 14?

In some regions, governments have begun to establish regulations for how data is collected, used, and stored (such as the GDPR in the European Union and CCPA in California). While all companies and advertisers are governed by these laws where they apply, some tech companies are committed to taking data privacy one step further and are developing their own requirements.

The most recent updates (as of January 2021) have been from Apple and Facebook. In June 2020, Apple announced that an update to iOS 14 would force all iOS mobile apps to display a prompt to users, asking them to consent to have their data tracked. As you can imagine, the likely outcome will be that many users decline to allow this tracking of their activity within apps.

In response to Apple's announcement, Facebook released changes for all advertisers on Facebook. These included the introduction of Aggregated Event Measurement, which allows for compliant tracking of performance. That is, it will gather insights as effectively as possible without violating consumers' privacy settings. With this, each domain will only be allowed eight conversion events to track, which should be prioritized within Events Manager. Read the full list of changes on Facebook's Developer blog.

How will this affect my business?

Any business with an iOS mobile app or that uses Facebook or Instagram for advertising will be affected by the changes to some extent. The likely outcomes are decreased audience sizes and less precise targeting. Facebook and Instagram retargeting ads from app activity will be unavailable for shoppers who have opted out of app tracking on iOS 14. 

The good news is that your shoppers should see very little impact from the updates. Of course, they’ll see the notification from your iOS app asking them to opt-in or out of data collection, but this will be standard across all of their iOS apps. Your organic viewership of live sales, posts, and web will not be affected by Facebook's updates. The changes are only for advertisers on the Facebook platform.

Related Reading: Customer Contact: Best Practices For Common Communication Channels

Should I be worried?

In short: no! These are not the first privacy-related regulations, and they certainly won't be the last. When access to data is limited, advertising platforms have proven to be innovative and adaptive in the options they surface to advertisers. 

Shops using CommentSold are particularly well-positioned heading into these changes and the ones that follow. We have an expert team of marketers and engineers ensuring that you stay compliant. If your mobile app is with CommentSold, we will be handling all the recommended and required changes for you (such as updating the Facebook SDK). And—as always—we will keep you informed of what's to come, any actions you need to take, and what we're doing on your behalf. 


Topics: Technology, Mobile App, Facebook

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