Are The IOS Updates Killing Your Digital Marketing?

Are IOS Updates Killing Your Digital Marketing? 



We all have them, whether it’s having to wait for a computer to restart because it’s installing update 1/531, or via your phone that lights up at 3am to download the latest software. The platforms we work with every day are, as I’m sure you’re aware, no different. However, just over 12 months after Apple introduced the IOS 14 update known as App Tracking Transparency (ATT), things are starting to go slightly awry for digital marketers. 



The update has introduced new options for privacy, meaning users now have the option to opt-out of targeted tracking within apps, which unfortunately digital marketers happen to use in advertising to help reach the right people. This will affect advertisers and business owners-alike who use social media, location-based and email marketing (so a lot). Facebook themselves even came out to openly disagree with the changes, stating that the update will negatively affect small businesses as they can no longer track the effectiveness of their adverts. Even in the short 12 months since the update has been around, impressions of adverts on Facebook have gone down and CPM has gone up.   


What’s Affected 

The update affects several key areas of marketing and we look into each of these below: 

Social Media 

For social media the issue is the lack of effective targeting, ie potential customers may have their tracking turned off and brands won’t be able to directly target them based on their information as they traditionally would, via age/gender etc. This lack of direct targeting has seen an increase in CPM as advertisers struggle to define their audience in the way they would have done previously and mean that they are possibly using the more competitive broad interest targeting instead of at the ultra-focused level.

Attribution is also being affected, with Facebook now offering only a 7-day click and 1-day view and return on ad spend is recorded on the day of impression. This is instead of the previous 28-day option where ROAS were recorded backwards to the day of impression. Thus leaving advertisers, particularly SMEs to base their marketing on estimates rather than actual results. This will undoubtedly mean that businesses are cancelling after a couple of days of seeing low results when traditionally they may have seen a rise after this point.  



Retargeting through in-app purchases has also been affected as well as targeted audience mapping, which is powered by in-app activity. Apple have chosen this time, perhaps not uncoincidentally, to up the advertising on their own app store, with plans to also introduce advertising on pre-installed iPhone apps.  



The new IOS 15 update means that recipients can now block their IP and email addresses through the Mail Privacy Protection option, meaning marketers may not see true results as to who has opened their emails. Another option within the iCloud+ subscription enables users to give a ‘fake’ email address to websites in order to cloak the person’s real email. Brands won’t have access to the real one unless the contact decides to share it. 


What Can You Do? 

Meta have produced a guide as to how you can maximise results even with these changes, but advertisers are still expected to see a dip in ROI.  

The key thing to note is that these changes don’t have to affect your overall marketing plan if you have designed an integrated campaign that can pick up traction elsewhere. Utilising the first-party data in your possession, whether through previous purchases or data lists, can be a strong start to identifying new audiences and sending them directly to your website.  

The IOS updates are something we have dealt with a lot of the past 12 months and we are keen to help you navigate these changes too. Give us a call or drop us a line below if you’d like us to take a look at your social media marketing.  


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