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To track or not to track? iOS 14.6 and customer data tracking and how it will impact your business

“Ask App Not to Track”

Noticed anything new popping up on your iPhone lately? How about a little pop-up asking you to approve your apps to track your activity across other apps and websites? It’s a win for customer data privacy from Apple but how will it impact your business’s paid advertising efforts online? This article provides you with some info on the new iOS update and how it might impact YOUR business. And hint: It may not be that bad (yet).

“Ask App not to track” – Apple’s answer to protect customer data privacy on iPhone

It’s been known for a while now that big tech companies such as Apple are wanting to show social responsibility and show how they are doing more to respect the privacy of online consumers. Apple is one of the first to provide users with the option to “Opt-in” and allow apps (like Facebook) to track your activity online across other apps and websites. And as of June 2021, a whopping 95% of Apple users have chosen not to allow it. Google will be the next big tech company to allow users to choose whether they want their customer data to be tracked online, with an “Opt out” option for consumers coming later in 2021.

But whether it’s Opt-in or Opt-out, it’s no doubt that consumer online privacy is being taken seriously and will shake up the way businesses perform their digital marketing efforts online.

Or will it?

What are you like?

Let’s be clear, your movements, your behaviours and the way you use the internet and apps on your device allow Google, Apple, Facebook etc to provide businesses with the ability to learn about you. This means businesses can choose the audience they market to using a very specific set of criteria. Criteria such as interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes and other demographics are used by businesses to “hyper-target” their customers and choose how they communicate with you. It’s one of the reasons why Digital Marketing is so impactful over other traditional forms of marketing. Billboards on the side of the highway advertising ladders at Bunnings are seen by everyone who drives past it, BUT not everyone is interested in buying a ladder. The ability to hyper-target customers using specific interests has seen the Digital Marketing Industry explode.

The great customer data free-for-all

Up until now, it’s been a data-free-for-all. Apple, Google and Facebook are just some of the companies using information about your likes and dislikes based on your online behaviour. And they haven’t had to ask your permission first. Apple has been one of the first to jump on the socially responsible bandwagon, and is asking customers if they mind if other companies, like Facebook, can use your online data to help with learning about your likes and dislikes. This is the reason you might Google ‘plants that are unkillable” on your phone and the next minute you open up Facebook only to be presented with several advertisers in your feed showing you their “plant identity’ app or “hardy Australian native plants” advertisement. It’s a powerful form of hyper-targeting by showing you ads that YOU might be interested in.

But, only 14.5% of users access Facebook via an Apple device but a whopping 80% access Facebook via an Android device.

I will allow you a minute or so for that to soak in…

I’m gonna say it, I don’t mind being tracked.

Eek, What???????? Well, let me explain.

I’m one of the 14.5%. I have installed iOS 14.5 and chose the “Ask app Not to Track option” for demonstration purposes on my iPhone 11 and just this morning I typed in “alcohol shops near me” into my phone’s native browser (hey, it’s my birthday today and girls gotta celebrate). I then logged into Facebook and though I am delighted with the lovely birthday messages appearing in my feed, Facebook doesn’t show me advertising for BWS or Dan Murphys and I gotta say, I got the response I expected but I prefer it the old way. I don’t mind when my phone makes my life a bit easier for me. I shouldn’t even mention the fact that there is a Dan Murphy’s across the road from me right now so I can’t help but be a little disappointed that my phone won’t remind me of that. (If it told me that Moet and Chandon were on special today and I get 20% off cause it’s my birthday, then I would be even more impressed.. but I digress).

Be cautious but be prepared

So for businesses who want to provide this hyper-targeting for their customer, then my advice is to be cautious but prepared. Apple has made the move and its impact is relevant but not massive and Google will follow later in the year with its version and other tech companies are likely to follow the trend too. There is a reason Digital Marketing is one of the fastest-growing and dynamic industries in the world, changes happen frequently and we need to be prepared for them.

Here are a few suggestions to help YOUR business start adjusting to Apple’s change and prepare for other likely future changes:

  1. Increase your Organic effort – take another look at your content strategy. The right content on your website and Facebook sites is a fantastic way of attracting YOUR customers organically without having to rely on paid advertising
  2. Don’t forget Android users – Remember this update is just for Apple devices. Androids users are not affected (yet) and 80% of users access Facebook on an Android device
  3. Website tracking is more critical than ever – To get a better understanding of where your visitors to your website are coming from, ensure your tracking capabilities on your website are up to scratch.

So, like any changes in the Tech industry, we need to adapt and change our strategies based on industry trends. Data privacy is an industry trend that isn’t going away any time soon and like this trend, if we are prepared and well-informed we can adjust and prepare in advance.

Now, off to that Dan Murphy’s!

Trish 🙂

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