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Apple’s IDFA Announcement Stirs Up the Data Privacy Debate

Does this mean the demise of digital advertising as we know it? Here’s our take.

Apple’s IDFA Announcement Stirs Up the Data Privacy Debate

3 Min Read

Technology giants Apple and Facebook went head to head last week, when Apple announced the impending Spring rollout of their new iOS 14 privacy updates – which mandates apps to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier. If users opt-out, it’s problematic for both publishers and social media platforms who rely on this data to effectively target ads – and you can bet that a lot of people will want to remove their names from that list. Additionally, earning potential for these parties is likely to take a hit too. 

A David and Goliath Battle for the (Tech) Ages

Facebook lashed back at this news last week, with a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal, lamenting that “Apple’s move to give users the ability to block ad tracking is bad for small businesses.” This is on top of a rumored antitrust lawsuit as tensions build between the two companies. Unlike Facebook, who emphasize the need to track user activity across apps and websites to deliver a personalized experience, Apple believes that “standing up for [their] users” is paramount, and that users have the right to know how, when and why their data is being collected and shared – including the choice to allow it or not.

RIP Digital Advertising?

One thing’s for sure, Apple’s latest move threatens the $80 Billion dollar mobile marketing industry, assuming that 90% of users opt-out of IDFA tracking.  Additionally, Google and Facebook will need to get a head start on workaround, given the amount of data they have on hand to monetize (in turn, giving them monopoly power in the industry). Earlier this week, CNBC announced that “Facebook announced a prompt on its mobile app for iPhone and iPad, designed to convince users to allow ad tracking…which will provide [them] with early data on how Apple’s privacy change might affect [their business].”

What Steps Can Advertisers Take Now?

Since attribution is going to be affected by these latest changes, Apple has developed the SKAdNetwork. This is an API that measures the success of marketing campaigns and allows users to retain their privacy, as well as notify advertisers if their ad campaigns resulted in any conversion events. However, there are concerns regarding the level of accuracy.

One way advertisers can combat this is through considering other direct-response channels beyond mobile, such as Connected TV. This has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, thanks to its ability to target users with precision across premium streaming television and other household devices like laptop and desktop. Connected TV advertising platforms like MNTN Performance TV use IP targeting paired with third-party data to serve relevant ads on television and other devices. Since IP addresses are routed in a network way, not a device way, you have the ability to target multiple devices in a single household – paired with in-market and demographic data that is appealing to many advertisers seeking  alternatives beyond mobile advertising.