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How Apple’s iOS 14 update limits your advertising efforts

Apple's iOS 14 update will limit your advertising efforts


Privacy is going to be at the forefront of Apple’s latest update. As a result of iOS 14, Facebook Ads and other advertising platforms will have more limits on the information shared with them. Apple has announced changes to the way users share their information to advertisers by giving them the choice to block the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) at app-level.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used,” Apple says.

What is an IDFA?

The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique, randomly generated identifier Apple assigns to each individual’s device.

It is used to track and identify a user without revealing any personal information. As advertisers we rely on this data so we can deliver customised digital campaigns.

What’s changing?

Once a user has installed or updated to the new operating system, a prompt will appear giving them the option to either opt in or out of sharing the IDFA. It’s similar to the GDPR update whereby websites needed a prompt to allow the use of cookie sharing.

iOS 14 Prompt

Previously users had to opt out themselves by going into the privacy settings. Now apps are going to be required to ask users for permission to collect and use their data for each install.

What’s the iOS 14 impact on advertisers?

With the opt-out rate expected to be high as a result of iOS 14, Facebook Ads and other platforms such as Google Ads will have advertisers who are no longer able to deliver personalised ads via remarketing campaigns.

If you have access to your mailing list, you can however upload this and retarget that way, but that’s going to limit your reach. Putting more focus on email, in-app messages, push notifications and chat bots is going to be more important than before.

The majority of advertising platforms provide advertisers with an SDK (Software Development Kit). This allows app developers to integrate SDK with their app. Developers are therefore able to track and measure the actions users take on their app. Apple has announced that conversion data will still be able to be passed back to advertising platforms. However there’s still going to be some impact on the clarity and depth of information available. Yet, most platforms are looking to update their SDKs so tracking isn’t affected.

For local campaigns it’s going to be more difficult to measure footfall due to Apple allowing users to share their approximate location rather than their exact location.

What next?

If you have a mobile app then you will need to ensure that you update your SDK to the latest version.

Advertising platforms are thought to be making changes to their SDKs and Facebook has already made great strides in doing this. You can see their latest guidance on this on the Facebook website.


This doesn’t mean that users who have decided to opt-out will no longer see ads, it means the ads they see will not be personalised and performance will suffer as a result.

Facebook is continuing to protest against this update for SMBs. You can follow via #StandUpForSmall.

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