Facebook ditches Apple IDs, warns its ad network is in jeopardy
Facebook says it will stop collecting Apple’s advertising identity data in a new move that addresses the ongoing privacy changes Apple has been making to its mobile phone software. Facebook also said Apple’s changes could hurt its ability to keep running its ad network, Facebook Audience Network, that serves ads to third-party apps.
“Ultimately, despite our best efforts, Apple’s updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” Facebook said.
Apple iOS 14 is the name of the latest-generation operating system coming to its devices in September. On Wednesday, Facebook delivered its most detailed look at what updates it will make to prepare for Apple’s new operating system, which the social network has said will hobble advertisers.
“Given the impact the policy will have on businesses’ ability to market themselves and monetize through ads, we’re sharing how we’re addressing iOS 14 changes and providing recommendations to help our partners prepare, while developers await more details on this policy,” Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday.
Apple’s upcoming privacy changes impact apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, and ad networks like Facebook Audience Network and Snap Audience Network. Here is what Apple is doing: App developers are now required to get direct permission from their users to collect what’s known as the IDFA, identification for advertisers. That special code is key to connecting the dots in internet tracking, and it is used to target ads and measure their effectiveness. The IDFA can show when a person saw an ad and later downloaded the app promoted in the ad, for instance.
Developers fear that users will not opt-in to permit the tracking, and that accompanied with Apple’s other anti-tracking programs could devalue the mobile ad marketplace.
Apple has ruffled feathers in the developer world because of its strict limits on how apps can collect data, and marketers are afraid they will be flying blind when they try to serve ads to Apple’s platform. Facebook and Google have both pushed back against Apple’s new policy priorities, while also looking for new ways to conduct advertising without relying on highly personal data. Many of the solutions include using aggregate sets of data, unlike IDFA, which is directly tied to one device, and also doing more “contextual” advertising, which focuses on the environment in which an ad appears not the exact consumer.
Facebook and Google have argued that Apple’s rules harm developers and publishers, because less data means less effective ads, which ultimately lead to less value. The internet ad giants have claimed ads can generate half as much revenue when they don’t have the backing of robust targeting data.
On Wednesday, Facebook said it wouldn’t even use IDFA, so it won’t request permission from users to collect it. The move also affects developers with apps that use Facebook Audience Network.
“We believe this approach provides as much certainty and stability that we can provide our partners at this time,” Facebook said. “We may revisit this decision as Apple offers more guidance.”