Apple’s iOS update: the marketing world will continue to turn (if you’re prepared)

Apple's iOS 14 is the wake-up call marketers needed to get serious about advertising to today's privacy-aware individual, suggests Tiger Pistol Australia chief client officer Jaime Nosworthy.

The phrase ‘digital transformation’ gets thrown around a lot, and now more than ever it holds meaning. Instead of being in fear that existing ad tactics and results are going to be affected at what feels like ‘any moment’, marketers should invest in their martech stack and ensure it is optimally integrated and media-ready – collecting and connecting siloed first- and second-party data sources to maximise high-accuracy signal capture, personalisation and measurement.

In July 2020, Apple first unveiled iOS 14, its newest operating system which includes a number of privacy features in line with Apple’s stance on user rights.

The most significant change requires all apps to clearly describe what data is being collected and then request permission from users to share that data via a series of push notifications.

All digital advertising will be affected by these changes, and media companies are only now beginning to understand the impact and therefore, the actions we need to take to mitigate these changes. Currently, Facebook is still currently the most vocal about the stance, having to make drastic changes that will impact performance on its powerful ad tech, to comply with Apple’s new policies.

Gone is the ability to track every single event on your website (we’re now limited to 8 per domain), attribution windows have shrunk and reporting on conversions will no longer show the demographic granularity that we are so used to, to name just a few of the changes.

This, of course, is just another step towards the fundamental shift in the digital marketing ecosystem that started back in 2018 when Apple’s Safari browser began blocking third-party cookies by default, with Firefox following in 2019. The biggest event is yet to come when Google Chrome no longer supports third-party cookies as of 2022.

As of 4 March 2021, Google has reiterated there will be no shortcuts or workarounds when this change comes into play in 2022, putting an end to new proposed solutions by martech companies such as Unified ID 2.0, which uses authenticated logins such as emails anonymised for advertising use.

Workarounds or new technology aside, the fact is our ability to create hyper-targeted, personalised campaigns is becoming harder.

And while none of this should be news to advertisers, somehow it is, because the latest iOS changes and its effect on our favourite advertising tools are being met by surprise, annoyance and fear by advertisers and marketers alike.

Many are thinking they will need to turn back to broad targeting and contextual advertising, and that the digital budgets they worked so hard to grow will get slashed in favour of those traditional above the line tactics.

This however goes against everything consumers are telling us. Yes, the modern consumer is privacy aware but it doesn’t mean they don’t want a tailored personal experience with your brand.

The ability to purchase hyper-targeted ads and receive granular reporting in return has only been available to us for less than a decade. If we could create valuable, meaningful experiences for our customers before then, we can do it again.

All it takes is for marketers to refocus their attention on getting to know their consumers better, and speak to them in a one to one capacity by acquiring and nurturing first-party data, just like we used to not so long ago.

Jaime Nosworthy is chief client officer of Tiger Pistol Australia.


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