Apple has spent some time over the last few months releasing and updating its mobile operating system. With iOS 14, there are tons of new additions to the Apple experience, as well as a few areas where things have arguably changed for the worse. With the new update, for example, it has transpired that Facebook advertising has taken a major hit and the end result has arguably made it ridiculously challenging to get the best out of ads.

The dreaded pop-up

The update means that Apple will display a pop-up that will stop advertisers from collecting personal data of users unless the user explicitly agrees. This may not seem earth-shatteringly important at first glance, but it does have potentially huge ramifications if you are a business that uses Facebook ads.

On top of that, the lifespan of cookies will be reduced down to 30 minutes. That is a significant issue immediately if you are an advertiser. Primarily, it will make it very difficult for advertisers to monitor users who come back to a platform.

If users do not accept the terms that come via the pop-up, then it will become more difficult for advertisements to track users and serve them with ads that are meaningful. Essentially, ad targeting will be incredibly difficult.

This change has not been missed by Facebook. Facebook is built on advertising, and if it suffers in its huge impact for ads in any way the hit goes straight to its core business plan. It’s safe to say that the new change has affected advertisers on Facebook in a negative way, and what’s even more important is the fact that Facebook itself has noticed the issue and is actively kicking up a fuss about it.

On the Facebook.com business website the brand had this to say about the changes Apple has made:

Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

It’s easy to see that Facebook is not happy about it all. Facebook has also stated that the move away from ‘automatic’ personalised ads will have a huge effect on businesses, even going so far as to say that it will cut profits for businesses by up to 60%.

What does this mean?

Well, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to appreciate that if users are opting out of ads, this will affect ad revenue for Facebook. However, it is even more complicated than that due to recent events and their impact.

One of the most popular documentaries on Netflix right now is ‘The Social Dilemma’. It’s chilling stuff, from a user point of view. In it, the case for limiting the use of data by companies like Facebook is articulated very clearly.

And that is part of the rapidly turning tide. Ever since Cambridge Analytica broke, users have been quite rightly anxious about how their data is being used by big companies. Apple is clearly acting in what it feels is the best interests of its customers, but unless Facebook finds some kind of solution, it will lose ad revenue.

Some users will allow ads, others will not. In the end it is a percentage game. But in 2020, even with the pandemic and subsequent drop in ads, Facebook still reported 84.2 billion dollars in ad revenue.

Imagine just 5% of that disappearing.