4 minutes

Apple’s iOS 14 data privacy policy update and how it will affect advertisers

Last year, Apple announced data updates to their recently released iOS 14, which are likely to have profound impacts on advertisers and consumers alike. Apple has increased its privacy protections with every iteration of iOS, with iOS 14 being one of the biggest yet. Most notably, iOS 14’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) – giving users the choice to block their IDFA identifier for any app, and requiring opt-in for app data sharing. 

What is an IDFA?

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is a unique identifier assigned to a user’s device, which is used to track data for the purpose of delivering customised advertising, without identifying the user’s personal information.


Here’s our takeaway of the most important things impacting iOS users and advertisers, and what you need to do to minimise the impact.


What does the update look like to iPhone users?

The aim of the latest privacy update, according to Apple, is to add transparency to the data tracking process. The biggest privacy update with iOS 14’s release is that all apps now require explicit permission to track user data. The most notable difference for users is that, in the App Store, before you download an app you’re shown a summary of privacy practices.


Apple has also required developers to receive express user permission before tracking them with their apps, meaning iOS users now have the choice of which apps have permission to track them. Users can even decide whether or not they even want to allow apps to request to track them. Ultimately, this means Apps are likely to see a significant drop-off in data tracking from their users. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

iOS 14’s requirements for users to explicitly opt-in to IDFA sharing will mean that, ultimately, advertisers targeting users across their mobile devices in-app  will receive less data from iOS users, and have less opportunity to target and track certain audiences. Many types of targeting, including device-level retargeting, will no longer work for users who opt out of IDFA sharing. Whilst the likes of Google and Facebook are still able to identify devices based on things like email and phone numbers, other programmatic platforms are likely to see reductions in targetable audiences. 

On Facebook specifically, this will affect how conversion events are received and processed using the Facebook Pixel. Businesses advertising apps, and that target and report on web conversion events from Facebook’s business tools will be affected. Businesses will also be limited to the use of 8 conversion events per domain, so these will need to be prioritised in order of importance.

Depending on user opt-in rates, with varying expert sources placing anywhere between 20% and 70%, advertisers could see a drop in targeted impressions of up to 50%.


How can you be prepared as a business?


Facebook has provided advertisers with a full rundown of actions needed to be prepared for these updates. For advertisers planning to deliver ads optimised for conversion events within an app, the key action is updating to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1. For those optimising for conversions on a website, you may need to verify your website’s domain, and configure your eight preferred web conversion events in the Events Manager.


Apple’s ATT changes will reduce visibility into key metrics that show how ads drive conversions, including app installs and sales, and will affect how advertisers value and bid on impressions. To improve iOS monetization rates, Google is encouraging app developers to upgrade to version 7.64 of the Google Mobile Ads SDKAdNetwork support. Here’s more on how app publishers can prepare.

Advertisers running web-based conversion goals (Display, Video), may see performance fluctuations as the policies go into effect, and will expand modelled conversions to more iOS 14 traffic.


Facebook is fighting back!

Facebook have really made their frustrations felt in response to Apple’s privacy updates, taking the stance that the iOS 14 policy will have a “harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat”. Their ‘Speaking Up For Small Businesses’ article, directly from Facebook’s VP Ads and Business Products, suggests that Apple’s policy is about profit not privacy, they’re hurting small businesses, and they’re not playing by their own rules. No holds barred here!


What are Ortus doing?

To ensure that our clients stay on the right side of this update, we’re working with them to:

  1. Ensure their domain is verified on Facebook.
  2. Identifying and prioritising the 8 most important conversions for each client.
  3. Ensuring conversion attribution windows are set to 7-day post-click.
  4. Embracing changes to policy by reviewing opportunities to minimise risk from the targeting data we might lose.
  5. Look ahead to new opportunities with first-party data collection and use.


For more information, speak to the experts at Ortus.