Digital privacy has been a hot topic for some time, and for the first-time tech leaders are making changes that could disrupt digital advertising for marketers across.  The first big changes to hit the advertising world come from Tim Cook’s Apple.  Cook has always been a proponent of giving users more control of their personal data.  But new changes coming to iOS 14 in April or May of this year could significantly impact marketers’ ability to target users on iOS devices and track the effectiveness of that advertising.

“Privacy means peace of mind, it means security, and it means you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own data,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

iOS14 Update: What is it?

Apple is introducing changes as a part of their iOS14 updates. Starting “sometime in early 2021”, Apple device users will be able to select whether they wish to “allow tracking” or “not allow tracking”. In truth, Apple device users already have the ability to make this decision, but it is buried somewhere in their privacy settings. With the iOS14 update, the option will be front and center. This simple user experience change is expected to decrease “allow tracking” from around 70% of Apple device users currently to a predicted 15% – 30% of Apple device users once the iOS14 update is initiated. Many digital marketing experts agree that Android OS will follow suit.

Who does it affect? Hint: Facebook advertisers face the biggest challenge.

All digital marketers will likely be impacted by this tech change. Specifically, marketers that leverage user data from apps and pixels (such as Facebook’s Pixel) to target, optimize and report on campaign performance. Facebook (Instagram, WhatsApp, et. al) isn’t the only player affected, but they are one of largest players with over $84 million in ad revenue in 2020 according to Statista.  Marketers will no longer be able to granularly target iOS users who opt out of tracking from iOS devices including remessaging, finding look-a-likes, and reporting on conversions from clicks originating from digital ads and social posts.

Is it as bad as it sounds?

The digital marketing world is constantly making changes. This isn’t the first major shift and it won’t be the last. If we put this in perspective, it is not a “sky is falling” event but it will impact the way marketers identify and target consumers.

AMG has been helping clients navigate the changes as they come.  Testing new strategies, we’re finding alternate ways to deliver targeted messages and convert prospects while maintaining return on ad spend (ROAS) and overall marketing ROI.

The reality is digital marketers won’t know the full impact of the changes until they take place.  AMG will continue to monitor campaign performance and test multiple tactics to deliver the best results for clients. In the end, overall marketing campaign performance will not suffer. Will strategies change? Yes, most likely. Will the media mix evolve? Of course. But marketers can’t afford to let tech changes negatively impact overall campaign performance.  After all – change is inevitable.

We owe it to our clients to navigate through this, innovate and adjust as needed and continue to deliver expected, measurable results. And that is exactly what we will do.

Why are we focusing on Facebook?

Facebook sees the Apple changes “as an existential crisis.”  They claim Apple is trying to kill small business. This is an interesting spin on the issue. Of course, marketers relying on Facebook ads will be impacted.  Small businesses have gravitated to the Facebook platform because of the ease of use and wealth of consumer data.  As Facebook’s access to consumer data plummets, business of all sizes must invest more time developing and testing alternatives

The bottom line – Facebook will be blind to opted out users and unable to serve social re-messaging ads that identify users based on their behavior on a website or e-commerce store. So, while marketers will adjust campaigns to maneuver through this tech change, the net result may be dollars shifting away from Facebook and its extended ad network.

Make no mistake, Facebook will do all it can to hold onto its digital advertising market share and is already recommending changes to campaign set-up in order to navigate the expected outcome of the iOS14 update. Nobody will be surprised if Facebook introduces new targeting options in the future—or even new advertising options altogether.  Just as marketers adapt, Facebook will too.

What should I do to tackle the update?

In the short-term, with iOS14 features like App Tracking Transparency and certainly in future updates, marketers will see changes campaign performance: ad frequency tactics, campaign attribution, and measurement. As these tech advancements occur, we are emphasizing the importance of partnering with a digital marketing firm that not only is knowledgeable on these changes but also can implement what they know to innovate solutions and optimize clients’ campaigns as much as possible.


The digital advertising industry is always changing, and AMG is leading the way forward for our clients with customized strategies for marketers across industries and applications.  Contact us today help you navigate the changes.



By Published On: April 23, 2021Categories: Data, InsightsComments Off on Apple iOS Updates Scheduled for April 26th Could Hurt Digital Campaigns – Especially on Facebook

Share this Story

Contact Us Today