What’s up with Apple’s new privacy updates?

You might have heard that Apple made some changes to its privacy policy recently – and that these changes are likely to affect small business owners. 

If you’re a little unclear on the details, we’re going to iron them out in this month’s blog. 

What’s Apple up to?

Did you listen to our short podcast about changes to advertising cookies? If so, you might have noticed that Apple’s changes are a little similar to that. To quote our digital specialists on the podcast, cookies are the tiny files that advertisers use to record information about your activities on a website – including what products you looked at and what buttons you clicked. Essentially, cookies are little messengers that store small amounts of data about who you are and what you’re doing on the website in question. 

It’s important to note that cookies are depersonalised – the advertiser can’t actually see your name or any personal details. They can, however, track your activities across a website. In 2020, Apple modified its Safari web browser to block cookies, and Google has plans to do the same with Chrome. Even if you didn’t hear about this whole cookie thing, you probably noticed it a few months ago when every website started asking you to give them permission to use cookies! 

Now, these changes only applied to web browsers on desktop computers and mobile devices. Apple’s new privacy updates are very important in a marketing sense because they extend that level of privacy across all apps for all iPhone users… which is to say roughly one billion people. It’s huge.

So what actually is the update?

Apple’s recent iOS 14 update included app tracking transparency. As explained by Apple:

‘Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.’ With app tracking, you can ‘receive a prompt when an app wants to track you across apps or websites owned by other companies or share your information with data brokers and decide if you’ll give permission.’ 

Similar to the way web browsers use cookies, mobile devices use what’s called an Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) to store information about how you use your phone to deliver personalised ads and gain information required for remarketing. By opting out of ad tracking, iPhone users are essentially disabling the IDFA. Early data from Flurry Analytics has estimated that an astonishing 96% of US-based iPhone users opted out of the tracking. 

So what does it mean for me?

Well, the changes are likely to make it much more difficult to use remarketing advertising tactics. According to The Economist, it also means ‘direct-response ads’ that ‘require consumers to take an action (like clicking) lose their appeal. Advertisers will again have to gauge ads’ effectiveness by looking for a rise in sales in a region where an ad ran but not elsewhere.’ Essentially, we’re taking a step back in time to a more ‘primitive’ version of digital marketing – back before cookies and remarketing technologies were invented!

We at Roobix respect and strive to uphold privacy standards, so we will be working to help existing and new clients to continue advertising in line with emerging privacy policies. 

The good news is that everybody will be in the same boat, and everybody will have to change tact. Likely, that will mean pivoting away from remarketing and moving back toward simple but effective brand awareness campaigns. Businesses will need to work harder and advertise smarter to get consumer attention instead of just relying on IDFAs and cookies to hyper-target – but that’s when working with a strategic marketing consultancy like Roobix comes in handy. 

By placing tactical, critical-thought based advertising at the centre of any marketing plan, our clients are best equipped to handle tech adjustments like this one… and all the others Google and Facebook have thrown at us in the last few years!

Nevertheless, we’ll be keeping an eye on this evolving situation and plan to release a bit more information on how we’ll adapt to it in the coming weeks. 

As part of Roobix’s unique Managed Marketing Service, we’ll ensure your marketing is always taking into consideration the latest of the ever-evolving landscape of updates and technology changes. In the meantime, if you’d like a bit more information on IDFAs or app tracking, reach out for a chat on 13 30 40 or hit us up on info@roobix.com.au any time. We’re always happy to help!

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