Why Facebook is freaking out about Apple’s iOS 14 update

It’s official. Apple’s iOS 14.4 update is being rolled out as we speak.

And it might change Digital Marketing forever. 

Here’s what this update means, and most importantly, why we think that this could be a golden opportunity for you and your business

Wait, what’s happening?

Apple is officially implementing something they are calling ‘App Tracking Transparency’ (otherwise known as ATT).

ATT will give iPhone users more privacy and control over their data and their cookies. 

The jist is fairly simple – everytime an iPhone user opens a new app, they will be prompted to turn data-sharing off, or to allow it. 

Like this.

This little notification is a BIG deal for digital marketing

iPhone users have always had the ability to turn data-sharing off – but to do so, they would have to navigate deep into the settings of the app.

This meant that very few people actually turned off their cookies.

But now, users will be prompted about their data-sharing front-and-center when they open the app.

Which means a TON of people will be turning off their cookies. 

What does this mean for business owners advertising on Facebook?

Ultimately this update is good for iPhone users as they will have an easier time controlling how they want their data to be shared.

But what is good for users, is not always good for businesses. 


Because no cookies means digital advertising is going to change in a big, big way.

Here are the two biggest reasons why…

#1 – Retargeting Limitations

Up until now, if you were running a Facebook ad campaign, you could retarget Facebook ads based upon your user’s web history. 

This is done via cookies.

Facebook tracks your cookies, which means they can track your browsing history.

This is why ads are following us everywhere these days.

You know how this works. If you visit a website browsing cat food OFF of Facebook, then you will get served cat food ads ON Facebook. That’s cookie-based advertising at its finest.

With iOS 14.4, this will essentially be dead.

#2 – Shopping conversions

For marketers, possibly the most painful effect of this update is the lack of tracking when it comes to conversions.

Up until now, you could advertise products on Facebook, and if a user clicks on one of your ads and makes a purchase OFF of Facebook, you would then be able to track the exact source of that conversion.

Very powerful stuff. The more granular the data, the more conclusive business decisions we could make. 

Now? Marketers and businesses will be more in the dark, which can be frustrating.

Digital Marketers post-iOS14.4

Also it should be said that this update will disproportionately hurt SME’s and local businesses who are on an advertising-budget, and need to optimize their marketing spend as much as possible. Larger businesses won’t feel the pain as much.


What percentage of your audience will be affected? 

It should be emphasized – this update only affects iPhone users who choose NOT to share their data, which will only be a portion of your customer base. 

iPhone users account for 45% of all smartphone owners in the US, 44% in Hong Kong, and around 15% worldwide. Because of this, the location of your target audience will greatly dictate the impact this update has on your advertising strategies.


Is Facebook fighting back? 

Many critics around the world are questioning Apple’s incentives for the update, claiming they are using ‘privacy’ as a shield for their true (and more sinister) plan. Facebook has arguably been the loudest critic. 

Here is a quote from a Facebook exec (warning; shots fired). 


So… How exactly is this a golden opportunity?

Marketers and business owners around the world are freaking out. People are claiming that Facebook ads are dead, and planning to completely abandon the platform.

Which is exactly why we think this is an opportunity.

With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the largest social media platform in the world, and the most important place to advertise your products and services. Excluding Google Ads, nothing can compare to the sophistication, targeting, and scaleability of Facebook ads (even with the 14.4 update).

With so many of your competitors prematurely abandoning Facebook ads, this creates an enormous opportunity to acquire new customers.


And while this update might seem burdensome now, it might actually improve the efficiency of Facebook ads moving forward.

Simply put, this update will change Facebook ads, but it will absolutely not kill them. If you are using a marketing agency that knows how to navigate the Facebook-ad waters, they’ll be able to handle it like pros.

What should you do now? 

If you are a business owner or marketing manager, here are a few takeaways you can implement for immediate action to help you weather this storm.

1. Take control of your data

Make sure you are keeping your leads organized in a safe place, especially contact information from your customers/buyers. You can then use this information later for retargeting, as well as to create high-quality lookalike audiences for Facebook ads. 

2. Hire a marketing company (if you haven’t already)

marketing agency apple 14.4 update
Here at First Page we are staying on top of this update – reach out to us if you have any questions about how this update will affect your business

The data and privacy wars have only just begun – we anticipate that similar rollouts will occur on Android operating systems, as well as Microsoft. This will make navigating the marketing ocean more challenging than ever before.

But this can put you at a serious advantage. Many of your competitors will abandon their ads, or try and handle them in house, which will lead to some really juicy opportunities. Stick with a marketing company that has the staff, network, software, and experience to deliver quality ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) month after month. 

3. Authorize your domain on Facebook

Over the last few weeks Facebook has been pushing this really hard. Ultimately it’s very similar to putting the FB pixel on your site, but it will help with this iOS transition.

Simply go into your Ad Manager -> Business Settings -> Verify domain -> Done.

4. Be patient 

There are already talks about workarounds involving 3rd party software, and regardless of what happens, Facebook it still an irreplaceable platform for marketing your products.

Final thoughts

This will not be the death of ads – in fact, it might even strengthen them. Just make sure that you take our above precautions, and always contact us if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. 

We’ll be sure to update you as this progresses.

Do you think this update is a big deal, a golden opportunity, or both? Let us know in the comments below.