What Do Apple’s New iPhone Privacy Changes Mean for Consumers and Businesses?

On 4.27.2021REUTERS News Agency reported that Apple recently began rolling out an update of its iOS operating system with new privacy controls designed to limit digital advertisers from tracking iPhone users. For Apple’s more than 1 billion iPhone users, the change will mean a new pop-up notification in some apps seeking their permission to collect data that Apple believes could be used to track their browsing habits across third-party apps and websites.

Personally I’m delighted to hear that these new rules will bring a seismic change to the nearly $100 billion mobile advertising market if most iPhone users decline to allow data collection - although the exact impact remains unclear at this time. How Android’s OS is upgraded is another unknown – although my bet is that ABC will not follow suit as a similar privacy update would make a dent in its bottom line. Some analysts believe that fewer than one in three users are likely to say “yes” to an app’s pop-up like this: “XYZ would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. [ Yes | No ]” 

My iPhone has a “tracking” menu in the privacy settings where I can opt-out of tracking from any or all apps on my phone. 

The relatively FREE Ride is finally over!

Both advertisers and app developers who sell ad inventory claim that the opt-out option will make advertising less effective. The ad industry has gathered data about people’s web browsing behavior in order to serve up ads since 2008.

Before that multi-media audience projections based on media surveys was the foundation on which an affective advertising campaign was built. The high cost of media research limited the number of Canadian companies that utilized media research. Smaller, insightful companies created VERY effective advertising campaigns by carefully testing the response to their creative and media options over time – effectively doing for themselves (at a price) what Google and social media claimed to do (better) for them – for free.      

The fear that “a shrinking pool of user data could lead to lower sales for brands” is unfounded and will prove to be false. While the “brand” will lose “price shoppers”, if the brand’s foundation is build on “price” – it’s not a brand anyway. So nothing’s lost. While I agree that there will be “Lower ad revenue for mobile apps and publishers.” and  that “Apple’s move has deepened a rift with Facebook Inc, which has said the change will hurt small businesses because it will impede their ability to cost-effectively find local customers to target with advertisements.”, this is bullshit and it shouldn’t worry you. This is what capitalism is all about. No one cried when online search and social advertising shut down classified advertising in millions of print publications around the world. I’ll be damned if I’m going to shed a tear for app developers or facebook. 

I’m delighted that Apple is giving customers more control over their data. I like that Apple has introduced privacy “nutrition labels” to its App Store to show users what data an app collect.

I’m fine with first party data in-app ads.

I’m delighted that apps that want to send me ads based on data from third-party websites will need to seek permission.