In September of 2020, you might have updated your Apple Software to iOS 14, as suggested, and noticed beautiful design changes to your home screen and widgets. Behind the scenes, there are new tricks that allow for a more user-friendly experience, higher quality feedback from Siri, and simple solutions to things we didn’t even know were a problem!
Speaking of problems, some of the new features, like apps needing to request permission to retrieve user information, are really causing an uproar in some industries–particularly advertising and marketing.
A specific feature that supports the privacy of app users could, in fact, be the beginning of a domino effect that leads to the fall of the Facebook family and small businesses, or be the rise in new methods for advertising with consideration to an individual’s autonomy.
So what’s new with you, Apple?
iOS 14 updates have many perks for Apple users.
Users have really understood the benefit of widgets, and Apple responded with major advancements to them. Categorize your widgets into different pages for different interests (work, sports, etc.). Set up your home screen so your phone shows you certain things at certain times, like the weather forecast first thing in the morning. What’s known as the SmartStack feature allows users to stack widgets on top of one another with a simple swipe option to scroll through them.
Before, you would have to slide left from your home screen to get to widgets, but now, you can have pages entirely dedicated to widgets like you can apps! The widgets have also expanded to everything from weather to fitness reminders. Various sizes are available to help your organize and utilize the space on your screen.
App developers also have the option to develop their own widgets, which users can choose to have on their screen. Are widgets the new apps?
Speaking of apps, the new Apple Library organizes your apps for efficiency on your home screen. They can be organized automatically and sorted by category. Don’t be alarmed if you see them change randomly, as Apple has implemented a system to reorder based on your app usage, suggesting the right app for the perfect time. Since this may get confusing when looking for an app, you can easily search the app you want in the search bar.
Siri, Incoming Calls, and Video
Siri and incoming phone calls are now presented in a banner, allowing you to navigate through your home pages at the same time and stay focused. Swiping up or down will allow you to close or open the call and Siri. Siri’s findings will be displayed in the same banner style at the top of your screen. In addition, you can video chat with your friends, family and colleagues, while still scrolling and browsing other apps! The camera follows you. The same applies for that interesting video you want to listen to and occasionally glance at while you attend to other duties.
Best of all? Siri’s IQ went up some, and now she’s able to provide information to questions she was limited on before. According to Apple, she has 20x more facts than she did three years ago. She now makes recommendations to you based on your phone usage. The perfect virtual assistant! In fact, all search consoles will provide you with the most relevant information based on your patterns and interests.
Perhaps some of the most convenient updates are in messaging. Now, you can pin the conversations you don’t want to forget or miss out on at the top of your messages. Right now, this is limited to nine conversations, but you can stream them across all your Apple devices.
In group messages, you can send and receive direct messages by tagging the person’s name as you would on social media, and you can mute group conversations and receive notifications only when you are specifically mentioned.
If you’ve ever used Whatsapp, you might be familiar with the ability to respond to a specific message by swiping it left. Now, you can do this within iMessage.
Maps and Keys
Apple Maps updated to offer bicycling trails and information, as well as city guides! Whether you are cycling or wandering around a city, you can see where there is congestion, what places are highly recommended in specific categories, and even steep inclines. The guides can be saved for future use–your Apple bucket list in each city. They are frequently updating, so you will likely never face the question “What should we do?” on trips.
Electric car drivers can also see the best routes to take in alignment with charge. Electric or gas car drivers will benefit from notifications of upcoming speed traps and red light cameras. Ask Siri to deliver your ETA to a friend. You can also connect your phone to your car, unlocking and starting your car without having to dig for your keys. Share your keys through Apple Wallet, so family members also have access.
On the topic of traveling, the updates on the translation feature are pretty impressive. Split screens allow you and another person to speak back and fourth to one another. Text and audio are available. If you are planning to be in a new country for longer periods, you can download the language and have translation when you are not connected to the internet. There is also a built-in dictionary and save feature to better understand the language as you travel.
Update Controversies Around Privacy
These are just some of the highlights of the update, and just when you thought Apple couldn’t get any better! They continue to outdo themselves, providing great customer experience solutions.
With all this “good,” it’s no surprise that there is a “bad.” Apple is undergoing, possibly, one of the biggest debates ever over their system to explode in the media. What and why?
There is one new feature that is in controversy between businesses and consumers: apps are now required to request permission from the user to collect and share data! Not only is it mandatory that they request permissions, the exact information of how each individual’s information is used is completely revealed. Talk about transparency!
Let’s remember, however, this only pertains to Apple users who have updated their phones to iOS 14. As the fire rises and the smoke gets out, is it likely to convert many (or a majority of) consumers to Apple?
This is a big advantage to consumers who are concerned about their privacy and the exploitation of their information and interests. Businesses, on the other hand, are struggling with this change and biting their nails as they await Facebook’s new solutions to this severe obstacle.
According to Jon Loomer, a trainer for Facebook Marketers, the update for privacy is not just a matter of adding a sort-of-email-pop-up form upon entering the app, it is a manual opt-in, opt-out setting the user has to change on their own in most apps, not connected with Facebook. And the question arises, how many people know this option exists now?
Facebook previously was giving users the ability to opt out, but, again, how many people knew that was the case? Now, with the iOS 14 update, all apps of the Facebook family, as well as apps that utilize Facebook’s tracking systems for advertisements, are getting a break with a simple request to allow tracking or block it. This is similar to an app asking to use your location.
Facebook for Business, in particular, is heavily influenced as small business owners and advertisers are seeing a reduction in who their ads are reaching, resulting in higher costs per clicks and fewer conversions.
“[The new updates on privacy] will affect your ability to understand performance, control who sees your ads and make informed decisions about your advertising budgets,” says Facebook, “you may see an overall decrease in ad performance and personalisation and an increase in cost per action….which will limit their growth and [small business’] ability to compete with big companies.”
Whether Facebook is more concerned about these small businesses or their own economic system they’ve developed is a mystery, but it’s safe to conclude that one needs the other.
“We believe in the opportunity for new ad-supported businesses to start and grow, but we do not agree with Apple’s attempt to disrupt the online ad ecosystem and the small business opportunities it makes possible and sustains,” says Facebook.
Although Facebook cannot guarantee certain outcomes for reliant businesses, they are working hard to develop new strategies to help advertisers optimize their money. If you are wondering how to prepare your Facebook ads for iOS 14, be sure to continue reading and follow Facebook for updates.
“We will continue to support your business through these changes, and will do our best to introduce new ad features and measurement solutions to offer the best ad performance and measurement we can despite the limitations announced by Apple. We will provide additional updates as Apple chooses to provide more transparency and makes more information available,” says Facebook.
Facebook is taking on the challenge by implementing new distinctions, so users don’t waste time or money delivering ads to iOS 14 users if they wish. They have a couple other temporary solutions under their belt in place until they develop more promising solutions.
“We believe that free, ad-supported businesses have been essential to the growth and vitality of the Internet, and that personalised ads and user privacy can coexist. We support proactive privacy measures and data transparency, but we don’t agree with Apple’s policy changes,” says Facebook.
So far, Facebook has said they are going to offer a new Facebook Ads option for a target audience within iOS 14 users, in which you can use as a business if you desire. Until further notice, the remaining users’ information will still be tracked to your benefit. This will allow you to determine if it’s financially worth it to advertise there. Who knows, society could surprise us all by opting in!
Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android allows developers to create apps for Facebook that track Android user analytics. The update allows users to better personalize the ads they are sending to iOS 14 users, continue to install and measure automated app ads, and share analytics of iOS 14 users if their preferences allow.
What Facebook refers to as the advertiser tracking-enabled flag is recommended in Facebook-integrated apps, in order to protect the privacy and legality of users with these new updates. Any flag set to no will not be included in the tracking for Facebook Business.
Facebook uses Facebook Pixels to help process conversions as they receive them. For users of Facebook Pixel, you are recommended to make the following changes: verify your website domain in Business Manager with the “top-level domain plus one (eTLD+1)”; configure up to eight conversion events per domain in Events Manager; edit your conversion events if you don’t agree with Facebook’s automatic selection of which are the best for you.
Off-Facebook Activity (for Facebook Users)
Not only is Facebook taking care of these businesses, they even have in place an option for non-business users to better understand how their information is used, so they can make the choice for themselves if they want to have that data collected.
The Off-Facebook Activity feature might pop up for you or your customers, so it’s important to get familiar with it’s transparency.
The Truth Comes Out
This entire uproar is quickly bringing to the light information about how consumers’ information is being used. As Facebook and its businesses fight against these new changes, the more users will learn about the situation and how their information has been being used in the past.
Have you ever heard of a data broker? Someone who acts as the middleman between apps collecting things like your locations and email lists and businesses, like Facebook, who buy it. Apps you have probably never even thought about have been in on this act, and they will be exposed as they now have to request permissions to access your privacy.
Also, your login usernames and emails are tracked to all the apps you use so to advertise consumers the same information!
From a consumer’s perspective, who is tired of receiving ads and living in the question of “Am I being listened to?”, this is a huge step in the right direction. And the big question is, will small businesses survive without this information and behind-the-scenes abilities? Because they are having to spend more to see higher yields, businesses and advertisers will have to seek a different solution unless Facebook reacts quickly enough with success-driven strategy.
In conclusion, there are no conclusions. Only “what-ifs”.
Although these new changes and their unpredictability can be really intimidating for businesses and advertisers that rely on Facebook, it’s important that you continue to keep your head up as new solutions are presented from Facebook, adjustments are made from Apple or new ways of advertising online become available through various sources.
We’ve covered the dilemma with Facebook, advertisers, and consumers, but what does this actually reveal for users of Facebook Business? You can expect targeting options to reduce in quality and quantity, as conversions might be inaccurately reported.
For example, just because the ad didn’t do well in the audience you selected, how much of that was due to the fact that your target audience is on iOS 14 and opted out of data tracking? It could do really well in that population were there to be access!
Fewer options translates to higher percentages of wasted money and not a thoroughly personalized ad.
Currently, many websites ask if users accept or deny cookies. While many opt out, many opt-in. Some websites you can’t use unless you opt in, so many people shrug it off and continue onto the website. Will this be a similar case for apps?
Also, it’s important to take into consideration the percentage of people using their phones versus computers. It is possible to target audiences on laptops and desktops, rather than phones. Considering the large increase in people working from home since 2020, it’s not impossible that you might find your target audience here.
Really, when it comes down to it, Facebook generates most of its income from large companies, who spend millions on advertising, rather than small businesses, who barely chip in in comparison. Will it be so shocking if Facebook crumbles under the movement of large corporations away from Facebook‘s advertising?
As a small business, it might be worth looking at how Facebook or Instagram advertising has really helped you, and what “traditional” strategies might be needing a revisit. Facebook may not survive these alterations, so having a backup plan never hurt! Turning to places like Google Ads will ensure you are still able to reach audiences online.