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What the Apple iOS 14.5 Privacy Update Means for Digital Marketing

The Marketing Impact of iOS 14.5 Update and The New Consumer Push for Information Privacy and Data Security

Consumers Want Control Over Their Personal Data

Privacy matters! Consumers are clamoring for privacy protections, with governments and big tech responding with solutions. From Google Chrome and the death of cookies to Facebook to Apple, steps to increase online consumer security and privacy are taking shape. These steps include Apple’s new focus on user’s concerns and demands for increased consumer privacy. All this has culminated in the iOS 14.5 update launched in early 2021.

While consumers want privacy, security, and control over their data, marketers have concerns about how the update will impact various media channels. Apple has taken steps in iOS 14.5 to give their product users the tools to protect their personal information. iOS 14.5 was released at the end of April 2021. Apple expected the full rollout/large-scale adoption by mid-June, with stragglers adopting late June and July. As of this writing iOS 14.6 is out with a few upgrades, patches, and bug fixes.

iOS 14.5 Update & Its Impact on Various Media Channels

This new demand (& bad PR) has driven providers like Apple & Google to crack down on privacy. Consumer concerns have been the driving force behind the changes that came with the iOS 14.5 update. Apple’s focused on privacy to empower consumers to have more control over their data. And give their users information about who/ what has access to their data.

Apple & Google have gotten bad PR about privacy, leading to increased user pushback. For example, Google has come under fire for data breaches and privacy concerns ranging from Google Chrome and Gmail. Furthermore, various watchdog groups have called out Google for tracking users through cookies, Google Fonts, and various Google APIs. Even reCATPCHA “could reliably de-anonymize many users,” effectively bypassing restrictions on third-party cookies settings when users believed they were verifying they were a human and not a bot.

Meanwhile, Apple has faced harsh scrutiny from privacy advocate groups in the EU over the iPhone’s IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). The IDFA allows advertisers to track users across various apps and better target them for personalized advertising. In response to these concerns, Apple responded with Data Privacy Day and plans to launch privacy features to empower users and improve transparency. These concerns and discussions led to the privacy features of the iOS 14 update.

“On average, apps include six “trackers” from other companies, which have the sole purpose of collecting and tracking people and their personal information.1 Data collected by these trackers is pieced together, shared, aggregated, and monetized, fueling an industry valued at $227 billion per year.”

Gröne, Florian, Pierre Péladeau, et al., “Tomorrow’s data heroes,” Strategy+Business, February 19, 2019

What is the iOS 14 update?

  • An update released by Apple that has significant implications for advertising/ marketers
  • Changes include a focus on privacy and transparency.
  • Allows users to see when an app wants to use their data for tracking purposes.
  • The data gives marketers specific information about users, which allows for more precisely targeted ads and messaging.
  • All app developers have to gain consent from users to use their data.
  • Methodology switches to an opt-in method instead of the previous opt-out method
  • Find additional iOS 14.5 features here.

How is the iOS 14.5 update impacting Social Media platforms and remarketing pixels?

Facebook and other social platforms like Snapchat that leverage pixels for remarketing have had to adjust. As users opt-out of being tracked, pixel actions such as ‘Add to Carts’ and ‘Purchases’ are seeing fewer numbers reported (across all social platforms that use remarketing pixels.)

Those who opt-out of being tracked will also be removed from remarketing pools. Not everyone will opt out of tracking, but audience sizes will be reduced for all social platforms that use remarketing pixels. In addition, the attribution window has changed from 28 days to 7, so if a campaign drives a purchase on day 8, the campaign will no longer get credit for that conversion. In many cases, data can be delayed for up to 3 days, which could impact reporting.

Previously we were able to track multiple conversion actions from a single Facebook user. If a user opts out of the tracking, we can now track one event based on priority. As a result, all audiences for social platforms using remarketing pixels that include or exclude website visitors will see a reduction, and CPCs [Cost Per Click] and cost/result are expected to increase across campaigns.

Enilon’s Responsive Marketing Strategy to iOS 14.5 for Facebook:

  • Enilon verifies the website URLs so that ads can continue to run.
  • Enilon prioritizes conversion events so that we can track them. This prioritization of conversions tells Facebook what is the most important for them to track.
  • Enilon uses first-party data to replace remarketing audiences.

How is the iOS 14.5 update impacting Google-related ad campaigns?

iOS 14.5 is expected to impact Google Ads, including search, display, YouTube, and PLAs [Product Listing Ads] as well. One result is that advertisers can expect to experience fluctuations in delivery and performance on iOS run ad campaigns.

In general, search ad performance should not be affected. However, Google Display, Discovery, and YouTube campaigns using interest-based targeting will see a data loss and performance decline. One Google campaign type that is particularly vulnerable is Google Universal App Campaigns. Universal App Campaigns specifically promote iOS apps and target iOS users. As a result, marketers will have to expect smaller remarketing audience lists going forward.

Enilon’s Responsive Marketing Strategy to iOS 14.5 for Google:

  • Enilon uses Google’s enhanced “modeled” conversion metrics, which mitigates the impact of the iOS changes.
  • Enilon utilizes Google’s ability to model conversion events to account for some cross-device and view-through conversion.

The Good News About Privacy Changes

The good news is that this news wasn’t really “bad news” at all. Change in marketing is a constant – change in today’s world is practically a commodity depending on your perspective. Therefore, responsive marketing sees change as an opportunity. Enilon is a digital marketing agency that thrives on tackling new challenges, taking change in stride, and creating timely responsive marketing campaigns that turn obstacles into opportunities.

First, the iOS 14.5 update does not impact Android users. As of June 2021, the worldwide market share puts Android users at 72.83% versus iPhone users at 26.35%. Second, Facebook still has the full ability to track what people are doing across both Facebook and Instagram. Meaning audiences that target people who engage directly with a brand’s FB/IG content will not be impacted. In addition, many Enilon clients use Facebook lookalike audiences – these are still valid and particularly useful for scaling audiences. Finally, the use of first-party data allows us to circumnavigate the impacts of the iOS 14 updates. Using that data cuts out any need for reliance upon pixel data.

So What’s The Big Takeaway

Maybe we should update the adage, death and taxes to include change. Death, taxes, and change — three things are inevitable, but only the last one is an opportunity. The Privacy First era in digital citizenship is here to stay. iOS 14.5, the Death of Cookies, and other privacy initiatives are just the beginning of the privacy changes that we can expect to alter the online digital marketing and eCommerce landscape.

Enilon thrives in this space of responsive marketing crafting and developing strategies on the cutting edge of digital marketing solutions. Our team of experts are life-long learners, constantly abreast of changes, updates, and shifts in the marketing world that impact our customers. We bring our expert knowledge and skills to the table as your partner, so you have a few less things to worry about. Enilon is a flexible, adaptable agency, learning and expanding our knowledge base to serve you better! We understand the difference between trends and long-term, impactful change. Enilon evolves with responsive marketing solutions to help you expand your online footprint, grow audiences, increase sales, and impact your bottom line.

Contact Enilon today to open a dialogue with our team about your marketing needs to help your marketing strategy evolve in an age of privacy and transparency. Of course, change is inevitable, but it just may be the latitude you are looking for to rise above your competitors and create some distance between those at the bottom and you at the top.

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For Further Reading:
Official release from Facebook
14.5 Release Notes from Apple
Blog update from Google

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