What does the Apple iOS 14 update mean for advertisers?

Posted on March 30th, 2021 by True Media

Apple has announced upcoming data-permission changes with iOS 14 that will impact how advertisers, publishers and app developers can target and track users on Facebook and other platforms. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events will be affected.

Until now, advertisers could use a device ID number called the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) to better target ads and estimate how effective they were. In iOS 14, each app that wants to use these identifiers will prompt users to opt-in to tracking when the app is first launched. Users can choose “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not to Track.” If users want to provide more data for advertisers to serve them more relevant ads, they will need to explicitly opt-in (rather than currently being able to opt-out) in order to provide permissions to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier. This prompt will appear when using all iOS apps, including apps within the Facebook family and apps that monetize with the Facebook Audience Network.

Data permissions that will require user approval include:

  • Displaying targeted advertisements in apps based on data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies
  • Sharing device location data or email lists
  • Sharing a list of emails advertising IDs or other IDs with a third-party ad network that uses that information to retarget
  • Placing a third-party SDK in apps that combines user data from one app with data from another app to target or measure advertising

As users opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, advertisers will see a decrease in the number of conversions attributed to their paid advertising campaigns and iOS 14 limitations may cause some ads to be paused or stop delivering to certain devices. 

In its long history of conflict with Apple’s stance on data and privacy, Facebook has responded by testing a new feature that shows users its own prompt before Apple’s pop-up appears. In this test, Facebook’s prompt will explain to users why it wants to track activity and ask users to opt-in, hoping to convince users to allow ongoing tracking to provide a more relevant advertising experience. 

At this point, it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of this permission change, but we are working with our social partners to ensure that other tracking mechanisms are in place. Making sure pixels, SDKs and web domains are updated and verified is important for future conversions. We will continue to work with each client and determine best actions to ensure the best targeting and tracking tactics for each unique measurement strategy.