What Does the Latest Battle Between Online Giants Mean for You?

Apple and Facebook are fighting over online privacy and ad tracking. How will it change our digital experience?

Online privacy has been a point of contention between consumers and Silicon Valley for years now. Apple has finally decided to do something about it — though online advertisers aren’t pleased.


Here’s what causing all the uproar: Apple announced a new privacy measure coming with this spring’s iOS 14 update. Apps will have to ask each user if it’s OK to track their activity as part of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework.

What does this mean exactly? If users don’t opt in — which, let’s face it, many won’t — advertisers will receive less information to customize online campaigns. On the flip side, Joe Schmoe could start seeing ads and content that aren’t as relevant, which would disrupt his online experience. In other words: surfing the web and being bombarded with ads may get even more annoying.


Because Apple is so popular — 65% of U.S. smartphones are iPhones — the update forces digital giants to pay attention. Facebook is particularly up in arms about the announcement, going so far as to take out two full-page ads in the New York Times opposing the change.


To further explain the nuances of this fight between giants, Candor chatted with our resident digital gurus, Alex Joseph and Emma Allen. Check out what they had to say below.

Why did Apple decide to roll out this update?


Emma: Online privacy continues to be a hot-button issue, and people want to feel safer online. This movement really began when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in March 2018, and it hasn’t let up. Popular documentaries like “The Great Hack”  and “The Social Dilemma” have kept the public’s focus on how their data and information is being used by tech companies.


It’s important for consumers to understand not all online tracking is bad. For ad personalization, it creates a much less abrasive online experience. Hopefully we can find a balance. As a consumer, I don’t want my name and information to be given away just because I downloaded a game, but I also don’t want to be served a bunch of ads for something I don’t care about.


Why is Facebook so upset about Apple’s new privacy measures?


Alex: Facebook is relying on the argument that Apple’s update will hurt small businesses. In a way, it will. Because user data will be more limited, businesses will have a more difficult time targeting the right audiences. Many small-scale advertisers have seen great success with highly targeted ads. Facebook thinks if users opt-out of being tracked, then small businesses could lose significant revenue.


But let’s be real: at the end of the day, Facebook is mostly mad because they’ll probably lose advertising money. Marketers may receive poorer campaign statistics and performance tracking, causing them to reduce their advertising spend or take their money elsewhere. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out.


Will advertising platforms beyond social media be affected?


Emma: Marketers who leverage programmatic advertising will also receive less user information to optimize campaigns, deliver more relevant ad experiences and deliver ads to the people most likely to take action.


Brands utilize a variety of online channels — including social media, websites and email marketing — to reach their customers. Different people interact with brands through different touchpoints. In an omnichannel world, it’s vital for advertisers to understand which touchpoints drove which actions and which conversions. Without knowing where someone saw an ad — which is going to be more difficult with the Apple iOS 14 update — it makes it much harder for marketers to optimize their advertising dollars.


Will the change make it more difficult for less experienced online advertisers to keep up with the competition?


Alex: Honestly, yes. It’s going to be more important than ever for marketers to be experienced in advanced advertising targeting strategies and building online audiences. If a company can’t do these things, its online ad results won’t just be diminished — they’ll be decimated.


Working with a knowledgeable agency will ensure ads are being monitored and results are being tracked daily. At Candor, our clients can rest assured knowing our digital team checks on and optimizes ads multiple times each day. With the iOS update, we wouldn’t be surprised if cost-per-click on most ads increases and click-through-rate decreases. Skilled digital marketers will analyze these changes and create a game plan to ensure metrics improve with each subsequent campaign.

Interested in learning how Candor can help your business navigate the ever-changing digital advertising landscape? Contact us today.

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