Facebook continued its protest against upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system, running print ads Wednesday in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and holding a press call featuring owners of small and mid-sized businesses bemoaning the potential effects.
The ads allude to Apple’s proposed phasing out of its IDFA identifier, which would reduce the personalization and targeting advertisers have long relied on to serve ads to select audiences:
In a statement to Adweek, Apple said: “We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites—and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”
The latest dustup between the two tech giants involves the labels Apple began rolling out across all of its app stores Monday.
Initially detailed in June, they provide information on three types of data collected by applications from devices: data used to track you, data linked to you and data not linked to you.
Apple said on its privacy webpage that the goal is to “require developers to get your permission before tracking your activity across other companies‘ apps and websites for ads or data brokers.”
Facebook has a different view, with vice president of ads and business products Dan Levy calling them “a discouraging prompt.”
Levy downplayed the impact on Facebook as a whole, saying during the press call, “Relative to the hit that SMBs will take, we will be fine. We’ve already been factoring this into the expectations for our business.”
Mobile app monetization platform Facebook Audience Network, however, is taking a huge hit.
Facebook said in August that being forced to stop collecting iPhone identifiers (IDFAs) meant that it “may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” but a source close to Facebook also pointed out at the time that Audience Network likely accounted for a little more than $1 billion of the company’s $70.7 billion in second-quarter revenues.
As a result, the social network revealed in October that Audience Network would exclusively use bidding to fill ads in iOS apps beginning in the second quarter of 2021.
Facebook continued to hammer away at the impact on SMBs, rolling out a website stocked with stories such as those depicted in the videos below.
Levy quoted an old adage during the press call: “I know I’m wasting 50% of my marketing budget. I just don’t know which 50%,” adding that this has been true for decades, and that SMBs don’t need to waste marketing dollars—particularly during a pandemic—when they can reach the right people through personalized ads.
Levy also cautioned that developers of free apps may be forced to turn to subscription models or in-app payments, which will drive potential users away.
He wrote, “Small businesses have small budgets. For these small budgets to work, they have to be targeted at the customers that matter. It doesn’t do a local wedding planner any good to reach people who aren’t planning a wedding. Likewise, it doesn’t do a small ecommerce outfit selling customized dog leashes any good to reach cat owners. Put simply, by dramatically limiting the effectiveness of personalized advertising, Apple’s policy will make it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audience, which will limit their growth and their ability to compete with big companies.”