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Apple’s New iOS14 Update and How It Could Impact Your Local Ad Strategy

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Apple iOS 14.5 updates give a shock to the local advertising industry. Explore this Martech Guide to adjust your localized marketing efforts in response to the update.

Over the years, Apple has had many privacy updates that have come and gone without many multi-location marketers thinking twice about them. So why is this iOS14 update important? Apple’s new iOS14 update will give Apple users the option to opt-out of data sharing every time they download an app. We’ll dive deeper into specifics later, but as many marketers know, data sharing is how local search and social platforms gather data to inform ad targeting. Within this blog, you’ll learn how this update will impact your local ad strategy and receive tips on adjusting your localized marketing efforts in response to the update.

An In-Depth Look Into Apple’s New Privacy Update 

As mentioned in our recent industry news blog, the most significant updates to Apple’s iOS14 update include changes to its privacy and sharing policies, also known as Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework (AATTF)  and has to do with a string of numbers known as the identifier for advertisers (IDFA). Each mobile device that’s created comes with its own identifier that provides advertisers with aggregate data about your behavior & preferences. In the past, Apple users had to go into their settings to turn off data sharing functions. The new update will give Apple users a pop-up every time they download a new app that asks if they want to grant the app access to track your activity across other apps and websites. 

While many can agree that this new feature will give users more control over when they’re being tracked, some marketers are concerned that many Apple users will say no to tracking, leaving Facebook with less data for ad campaigns. By selecting “Ask App not to Track” in the above pop up, you are prohibiting the application from collecting data about the things you click on, download, or purchase within the app in order to share it with other companies/websites for advertising purposes. Why does this matter? This is the type of data advertisers use to target or personalize ads to you. So, if your multi-location business relies on local ad campaigns as a part of your localized marketing efforts, this update will have a major impact. If you’re not currently using local ads, it’s still worth understanding for future local advertising. 

How Apple’s New Privacy Update Can Impact Multi-Location Marketers

Now that Apple’s iOS14 privacy update is understood, it’s time to look at how it will impact multi-location marketers specifically. Currently, Facebook can track user activity on other websites and in other applications. Facebook pixels are a perfect example of this. Facebook pixels are typically installed on a website or app and can track actions users make on the website or app. The pixel then keeps track of that data and stores it in Facebook, informing ad campaigns. As of now, marketers can place as many pixels as they’d like across websites and apps to track all conversions that are happening on your pages, but that will no longer be the case. Apple will now allow businesses to place eight pixel objectives on a single domain. It’s also important to remember that users who opt out of the data sharing won’t be trackable by pixels. 

With fewer pixels, Facebook won’t track as much user data, which will then impact their targeting. If your multi-location business is using Facebook ads, your targeting options could be affected. Similarly, the lack of data also has the potential to impact Facebook’s reporting. The reporting will no longer include users who chose to opt-out for tracking and will only track a smaller number of objectives due to the pixel restrictions. Therefore, reporting may be inaccurate. If your multi-location business relies on Facebook reporting, be aware that these numbers may be off while Facebook figures out how to re-work their reporting. 

What You Need to Do Next 

While all of this information may seem concerning, there’s no reason to worry. As long as your multi-location business is aware of the changes that may come with this new privacy update, you can make changes to ensure your localized marketing efforts, specifically your local advertising goals remain strong. When it comes to Facebook ads, there are a few ways you can plan your ad campaigns so they aren’t as affected by this new update. 

For instance, your multi-location business can prioritize the eight most important events you want to track users by and use pixels for those eight events. You may realize that some of the pixels your multi-location business is currently using aren’t as important. Similarly, you can also split your audience targeting by iOS and Android users. The iOS14 update will only impact Apple users. Therefore, Android users won’t be affected, and Facebook can still track their data. If you segment the audiences by device, the Android data won’t be skewed on Facebook. This will give your multi-location business a more realistic idea of how your campaigns work and what your target audiences are interested in. 

Another way you can adjust your campaigns is to enable value optimization. Value optimization allows advertisers on Facebook to bid for the highest valued users, or in other words, the users who are most likely to take the desired action on your website. If your multi-location business enables value optimization, you may get a higher return on your ad spend. It’s important to note that only companies who meet specific requirements can enable value optimization, but it’s worth testing if you’re eligible. Value optimization also uses four out of your eight pixels but is likely worth it. 

Ironically, this reduction in behavioral targeting could mean increased demand for real-time proximity or “approximate location” targeting. For example, retail companies won’t need to know the device ID is IN the store at a point in time but near the store when the media is served. As a result, serving an ad in the right context or location will continue to be a viable advertising option despite all of the changes. 

Should Multi-Location Businesses Continue to Advertise on Facebook? 

Now that you’re aware of the impact of Apple’s update and understand how it will impact your advertising on Facebook, you may be wondering whether or not you should continue using Facebook advertising at all. The short answer is yes! Social media is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. It is always there, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep with our phone in hand. Despite the changes from iOS 14, no other online media gives you access to as many engaged consumers at any given time. The real question is – why wouldn’t you advertise on Facebook?

Consider these facts:

  • Facebook (and its family of apps) reach 3.1 billion active users monthly
  • On average, users spend 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on Facebook alone. This is about a third of our entire media time
  • 3 out 4 consumers now say they have discovered new brands/products through recommendations or posts on social media
  • In fact, social media is so influential, 78% of purchase decisions are now influenced by information seen on social

Change is inevitable and businesses must adapt and be prepared to engage with the impact these changes, and future ones, will have on their ability to communicate with customers and potential customers.

Start Re-Structuring Your Local Ad Campaigns NOW

As you can see, Apple’s iOS14 update will have a significant impact on Facebook advertising. While many people applaud this update for giving users more privacy, it does mean that you need to be more aware of your local ad campaigns on Facebook and take action early. By following the steps mentioned above, your multi-location business should adjust your strategies and optimize your local ad campaigns to their fullest potential.

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Darcy Bickham
Darcy Bickham is a graduate from Texas A&M University and has worked in education-related fields for the past four years. Over the years she has developed experience writing on a variety of topics including business, local politics, transportation, and both primary and higher education.

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