Apple’s privacy push will be a big deal for some

A major change in online advertising took place last week. It should have limited impact on the sort of B2B advertising which our clients concentrate on, but it’s worth knowing about.

The change came in Apple’s release of iOS 14.5, its latest operating system for mobile devices. Apple has changed its data sharing and privacy policies to require that all mobile app advertisers have specific consent from users to track their web and app activity outside of those apps. I suspect that many people didn’t even know that this was happening (although as ever, most probably don’t care). However from now on, iPhone and iPad users will be asked if they want to be tracked, and presumably given that option, the majority of people will say no, unless the company behind the app can give them a compelling reason to say otherwise.

The move is going to give Apple some good PR, as most moves to tighten up online privacy are popular. At the same time, it’s going to hurt many businesses which rely on exploiting online behavioural data; some 94% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile users, for example. I can’t see it having much (if any) effect on Google search ad performance, but Google Display campaigns using interest-based targeting, for example, will lose data.

If you’re interested in all this, I’d recommend reading up about SKAdNetwork, but be assured, if any of these developments start to impact our clients’ advertising campaigns, we’ll be on top of it.