The Impact of Apple’s new iOS update on Social Media Advertising and Remarketing

There’s been a lot of media coverage of Facebook’s reaction to the latest version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 14.5. This update poses a challenge to Facebook’s revenue and Mobile Advertising as a whole. The new iOS update will require apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data. Currently, users can see what kind of data is being shared and how it’s collected. Some common examples are web activity (through the Facebook Tracking Pixel), or when a user logs into an app with their Facebook profile. This data is then used to show relevant ads to users.

With the new iOS update, re-marketing campaigns and app install ad campaigns (often seen on gaming apps) will be the most affected, as these will see a big drop in their targeted audience universe. This is because iOS users will be able to block all Facebook tracking codes on their devices, which limits some targeting options that are currently available. That being said, this update only affects iOS devices, so Facebook will still be able to track behavior from users that are browsing on computers and other mobile operating platforms like Android.

To get a clearer idea of the potential impact of the new update, let’s take a quick overview of the US Smartphone industry. According to an Insider Intelligence report, Apple is expected to gain 1% in market share, moving them from 45.9% in 2020 to almost 47% in 2021. Despite this small gain, Android will remain the most popular operating system with 52.9% of the market in 2021. This report also states that in the US there were 113.5 Million iPhone users vs. 129.1 million Android users in 2020. (Insider Intelligence, 2021)

This means that almost 47% of users (113.5 Million people) could potentially opt out of app tracking on their iOS device. This is a huge impact for Advertisers who could see their targeted audience drop by almost half. With smaller targeted audiences, the efficiency of re-marketing and app install ad campaigns will decrease.

Adjusting your approach

The new iOS update will have no impact on other targeting options like demographics, location, and interests because Facebook owns all the data that users provide in their profiles. However, as concerns of privacy and online behavior continue to rise, Facebook and small businesses will need to rely more on first-party data to segment their audiences. Diving into your current customer’s demographics and data will enable you to develop a very effective target audience for your Facebook campaigns. This means your Facebook ads can still continue to generate reach and awareness to a larger number of high potential targets, not simply those who visited your website.

Because of these changes, more and more big players in the Advertising industry may need to switch from a very narrow targeting strategy to a broader and more inclusive strategy to increase ROI. In fact, research data shows a greater and more cost-effective overall impact by using a strategic mix of Traditional and Digital media. Similarly, our approach of cross-platform communications for clients delivers measurable campaigns that generate leads and meet goals.

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