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The iOS 14 Update: What Does It Mean For Your Business?

You may have heard about the upcoming privacy changes with Apple’s iOS 14 update, but do you know what it means for your business?

What’s the issue?

The big issue with the update is the change to privacy permissions within apps installed on Apple devices. The update will let people choose whether their actions on the app can be tracked, through selecting between the options “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track” when installing (and, we’d assume, updating) an app.

This includes our social media favourites like Facebook and Instagram.

The important thing to understand here is that the default settings in iOS 14.5 will disallow tracking in apps.

Users will have to manually adjust their settings to enable tracking, which we’re thinking will be pretty unlikely given the latest public concerns around privacy and technology.

If you think about it, how many users would opt-in for being tracked when asked? Our guess is zero (or at least, very few), especially at the start of all these changes!

This, as you can imagine, is a total gamechanger, especially when it comes to paid advertising.

How will it affect social media advertising?

When we dive into the fundamentals of any good paid ads strategy, you’ll see retargeting at the very core. This is where we target users who have visited our website and interacted with our brand, making them more likely to be interested in the products and/or services we’re advertising.

The issue with the latest iOS update is that we won’t be able to see who has visited our site on Apple devices and therefore won’t be able to retarget them with our ads.

Not only are we saying goodbye to retargeting and, as a result, suffering the effects of significantly reduced targeting options, advertisers and brands will also have little understanding of how their advertising is impacting their ecommerce conversions and lead generations through digital platforms.

And the bad news doesn’t stop there

Small to medium-sized businesses will be affected more than the big corporations, as the changes might limit their ability to reach their customers in a cost-effective way (ahem, Facebook Ads). Bigger brands generally have substantially bigger media budgets and are already utilising more expensive advertising channels like TV and radio to build brand awareness. Social and digital is just an additional cog in their advertising wheel, rather than the whole wheel.

It’s not just Facebook that will be affected

 Most digital advertising platforms from YouTube to Pinterest to programmatic ads rely on tracking at some level. These changes are destined to result in significantly less data from consumers using mobile devices, which account for around 70% of all internet traffic for a majority of Australian websites.

While there’s a possibility some businesses will breeze through the changes unaffected by the privacy updates, some will see significant declines in sales and some will fall anywhere in between, so it’s important to have a backup in case you’re one of the unlucky ones to be negatively affected.

The icing on the cake

Interestingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly), Apple’s own advertising business is exempt from the new prompt requirements, giving them a significant advantage in the paid ads space.

While it doesn’t affect your brand’s ability to produce great results based on mobile tracking, it’s an interesting tidbit that provides insight into how valuable tracking is and how big tech companies are putting themselves at an advantage, perhaps at the expense of SMBs.

So, what can you do?

The thing is (and we’ve been preaching this for a while now), no brand should ever be reliant on a single channel.

If we’ve learnt anything from the tech giants over the last few months (is it too soon to remind you of Newsgate?), it’s that we need to diversity our marketing activity to encompass multiple channels including content, organic social media, email and traditional marketing to make sure you have your bases covered.

Most importantly, if you are continuing to play in the paid ads space, make sure you are measuring your results and adjusting your ads as necessary.

Although the Facebook revolution has dominated our digital advertising landscape in recent years, successful businesses and brands have been built through consistent marketing and branding strategies for decades before social media existed and will continue to if it ever disappears in the future.

But these changes can still be hard to navigate, and if you need a hand from marketing experts to help steer you through, we’re happy to help.

Send us an email at or drop us a line here.