Many iPhone users would’ve woken up this week to the most talked about iOS update in many years – iOS 14.5! Apart from being a privacy first update, what does it mean for your business and will you be able to work around it?

Essentially, the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework with iOS 14.5 will shut off a stream of data that app developers, measurement companies, and advertisers have used to link user behaviour across apps and mobile websites – a move that could change the face of the digital ad industry.

The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) will be switched off and users will need to grant apps explicit permission to access it. With many apps being updated to allow in-app prompts asking users to track their activity – there will no doubt be a low opt-in rate.

This will be a major blow to targeted advertising which is crucial to the business models of online content such as Facebook, Google, and many news outlets.

Smaller companies that rely on targeted advertising to reach customers and mobile measurement providers which collect and organise app data would like to find it harder, something that Facebook has been talking about with their recent campaign against Apple.

“Digital Adverting Reimagined”

One thing with this update is that Apple is re-imaging the role that advertising plays within its ecosystem by allowing the company to control a users’ app experience and content curation more tightly. On the flip side, it will also allow Apple to push the adoption of its own targeted advertising solution.

While ATT might be the most impactful change to the digital advertising ecosystem, more restrictions around user privacy are in the making, with private click measurement and the end of third-party cookies in Google Chrome, alongside government regulations such as GDPR, all these point to a new privacy-centric era on the horizon.

However, this approach presents a clear problem for advertisers who rely on targeted advertising, and that will make it much harder to create meaningful links between user behaviour across apps and mobile websites in the iOS ecosystem.

These changes will effectively roll back some of the innovations that have been made possible through digitisation, but how can businesses adapt to these new privacy-focused updates?

1. Embrace Privacy Methodologies

When privacy policy changes, many see it as a added expense to invest in new infrastructure, but view it as an opportunity to invest in new and innovative technologies which complies with new legislation.

2. Gimmicks and Workarounds are not a viable solution

As they say – short-term investment leads to longer-term rewards. Investing in gimmicks that find loopholes or workarounds will not help you in the long term, so instead invest in solutions that deliver long term value in the future of digital advertising

3. Transition advertising away from user-centric models

As we enter this privacy-first era, start looking at advertising in a more holistic way. Look at the variations in ad spend and revenue over time to attribute efficiency to channel-specific ad campaigns. This methodology was used by marketers prior to the data influx, so going back to these will help your brand in the long run.

4. Deepen your Understanding of your audience and rely LESS on niche products

Cannot stress this point enough!  Products and services that will feel the impact the most in the loss of identifier-based targeting will be those who target super niche product areas that depend on high rates of monetisation. To understand who you are targeting you need to create personas for your potential buyers or clients and the community they operate in.

Knowing your audience will help you create content and ads that will resonate

“Right Person, Right Time, Right Message”

5. Get Creative

Advertisers should focus on content that resonates with their audience. This will take some adjustment and, in some instances, will not replace the efficiency lost in digital advertising, but it can help you reach the most relevant segment of an audience by penetrating through generic or non-descript advertising from competitors.

Privacy-first is only just beginning, and companies will need to start embracing and innovating on digital platforms to continue to stand out. Getting to grips with your product and your audience will help you create content that is meaningful and relevant.

Need some help in refining your content or digital strategy to remain relevant in a privacy-first world?

Get in touch today with our expert team to learn more about how we can help you