The Impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on M-Commerce
- eCommerce, Marketing, Privacy

The Impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on M-Commerce

A cornerstone of effective marketing is audience analysis. 

The majority of consumers — 76% to be exact — expect businesses to understand (and want to understand) who they are and what they need. 

To get to know the target audience as more than generalized personas, marketers collect data through engagement analytics, Voice-of-Customer (VoC) research, and more. 

The intent here is to base every marketing campaign on facts rather than mere guesses. 

In the age of e-commerce and m-commerce, advertisers have more resources than ever before to be informed, personal, and relevant when marketing to their audiences. 

But this doesn’t mean that a marketer’s job is easy. 

The news of Apple’s iOS 14 update, for instance, has left many business owners and marketers unsure about the future of social and mobile advertising. 

Though Apple released the update last fall, the privacy policy — i.e., the feature that has raised logistical concerns — was delayed until early 2021. 

This article brings to light everything we know so far about iOS 14’s impact on mobile ads and commerce, as well as tips for adapting to this change.

iOS 14: Let’s Talk About It

Apple shared this press release in June 2020, detailing which new features would be rolling out with the new iOS 14 updates. 

As part of this new update, users would be able to personalize their device’s home screen with redesigned widgets and pin text conversations to the top of their messages list. 

The Picture-in-Picture feature would help users multitask more effectively — giving them the option to stream a video or FaceTime with someone while using another app simultaneously. 

But in this press release, Apple also disclosed one new change that has turned many heads in the e-commerce community. 

Namely, a privacy policy could hinder a business’s ability to create and distribute personalized ads that align with users’ interests. 

This new policy, specifically the App Tracking Transparency feature, gives mobile users the ability to decide upfront if they want their data to be tracked across other apps and websites. 

Though this policy is based on good intentions, the controversy stems from the fact that businesses — including major players like Facebook — rely on this data to improve their digital ads’ quality and relevance.

In pre-update times, approximately 70% of iOS users shared their IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) information on platforms like Facebook. But this percentage will likely drop to 10% or 15% once the new feature is fully live. 

For several months now, marketers have been preparing for this extreme decline of inaccessible data and looking for ways to come out on the other side. But with the future of their businesses at stake, many are voicing their fears and concerns publicly.  

Why Marketers Are Speaking Out Against The Update

The 140 million businesses that use Facebook every month will likely feel the long-term effects of iOS 14. 

And many business owners are concerned that users may opt-out of data tracking without really understanding how this choice will impact small and local businesses. 

Monique Wilsondebriano, Michaela Corning, Hrag Kalebjian, and other professionals have openly shared why Apple’s update is harmful to small businesses like theirs. 

It all comes down to personalized ads. 

If the majority of mobile users opt-out of sharing IDFA data, they will still see ads on Facebook and other platforms. But instead of coming across personalized ads that are relevant or interesting to them, the ads will be more generalized. 

Marketers rely on data to better connect with mobile users who need their businesses’ products and services. 

In her testimonial video, Michaela Corning shares that she believes the iOS update will make it more difficult for mobile users to find and access the services they need:  

“The announcement from Apple is a little bit concerning if I think about my customers who desperately needed my product…the hijabi friendly masks.” 

Once the update is fully implemented, marketers may find it more difficult to measure an ad’s success or identify the best way to retarget ads and optimize outreach — missing opportunities to connect with mobile users who stand to benefit the most.   

The Long-Term Impact of iOS 14 on M-Commerce

The decline in revenue is not the problem but the symptom of a much larger problem. 

Though Apple’s push for improved privacy measures is a positive change, business owners and marketers’ issue is that personalized ads will become less accurate and data-driven because of the App Tracking Transparency feature. 

If ads aren’t relevant to mobile users, sales will suffer. If ads are relevant but not personalized for the target audience, sales will suffer.   

Though the potential fallout may seem imminent, there are resources available to help in the transition. Facebook offers this resource to help businesses adapt to the new regulations. 

It’s difficult to say how the iOS 14 update will impact e-commerce shortly. But in the long-term, I can say with certainty that marketers will continue to adapt and evolve their strategies to connect with audiences in new ways. 

Mackenzie Scott is a copywriter with Soundstripe, a royalty-free music and stock media company. From royalty-free rock music to stock video, Soundstripe provides creators with the resources they need for video and podcast production.

The Impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on M-Commerce

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