What Apple iOS 14’s Privacy Focus Could Mean for Advertisers

Alight Analytics Alight Insights

Apple's new iOS 14 could limit advertisers' ability to track and target audiences across apps and the web.

Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 release will offer more privacy to users, but could make it significantly harder for advertisers to target iPhone users across apps and websites. 

After iOS 14 is installed on a device, when someone opens an app, a pop-up will ask them if they consent to being tracked by advertisers. 

If a user says no, their device’s anonymized IDFA ad identifier won’t be passed along to the app publisher and its partners. Because it’ll be so easy, opt-outs are expected to skyrocket. 

Losing that user-level data could undermine the value of app-based advertising because it’ll make it more difficult to retarget relevant advertising to specific individuals. As a result, ad performance could suffer and drive the cost of CPMs down. 

Facebook is one of the biggest critics of the change. It’s estimated that publishers on its Facebook Audience Network could see a 50 percent loss of ad revenue as a result of iOS 14. 

In a blog post, Facebook wrote: 

For developers and publishers using Audience Network, our ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 will be limited. As a result, some iOS 14 users may not see any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads from us, but they’ll be less relevant. 

Because of advertisers’ reduced ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns, app developers and publishers should expect lower CPMs on Audience Network and likely other ad networks on iOS.

Facebook says it won’t be collecting IDFA from any of its apps running on iOS 14. In another post for developers, the company wrote: 

The new version of the Facebook SDK will provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API, which limits the data available to businesses for running and measuring campaigns. 

In light of these limitations, and in an effort to mitigate the impact on the efficacy of app install campaign measurement, we will also ask businesses to create a new ad account dedicated to running app install ad campaigns for iOS 14 users.

Tinuiti, an Alight client, has a great post about the iOS 14 changes, with advice to focus on first-party data as a way to continue marketing to individuals.