How Will The iOS14.5 Update Affect Online Marketing?


Apple has confirmed that it will require customer opt-in to be tracked by IDFA or “Identification For Advertisers” with iPhone and iPad users who have the new iOS platform sometime in early Spring of 2021.

How Does This Change Things?  When you visit websites, use search engines or use mobile apps, your activities, in most cases, are tracked using IDFA by advertisers like Google and Facebook to create a profile of what ads would appeal to you.

As it stands now, there are settings in existing iOS versions that allow you to opt-out.  The new version will require you to actually opt-in, or give permission to be tracked by IDFA.  This will result in less IDFA data being sent to advertisers.

I believe that less “big brother”, or more accurately, big data and machine learning for advertisers, is a noble cause.   However, it may come with a steep price.  Google, Facebook, and other internet platforms have to make money.  Right now, the data that is provided by IDFA creates huge income streams for these advertisers.  Without these income streams, there will have to be alternative income streams.

The actual effect on online advertising of this change is to be seen, but Google is reportedly going to follow suit with Apple to “keep up with the Joneses”.   Google is instituting a new program which is purportedly 95% as efficient as the current system.   Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is a solution that is with Google Chrome only that groups those with like interests into groups for ads.  All privacy will be preserved under this solution.

It seems that there might be a return to good old-fashioned online marketing based on searching for keywords or phrases as opposed to marketing based on interests and intent.  Will this drive the cost of google ads or Facebook boosts up?  Google Display and Facebook ads are some of the most affordable ways for our clients to promote their brands.  Will we return to an online environment where small-sized companies will not be able to afford to advertise extensively on search engines and social media platforms?  

I am confident that these platforms will figure these problems out, but the one certainty is that the digital landscape will again change in the near future.  Most advertisers should also strengthen first-person strategies like email collection, rewards programs, customer data platforms (CDPs), and automated marketing solutions like Sharpspring.

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Thanks.  Please stay safe and healthy.

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