Two of the biggest tech companies in the world – Facebook vs Apple – have just started a war over Your Data Privacy.
Apple has taken a stand that 3rd party platforms should not track the private data of users without explicitly asking for permission.
But Facebook on the other hand is saying that collecting this data helps in advertising and that allows numerous small businesses to sustain and grow.
Both companies are refusing to stand down and there has been a war of words going on for almost a year now.
But now things have started heating up.
- Can this war completely change how the internet works?
- Can this impact the entire tech ecosystem in the world?
- And most importantly, how will this impact you as a marketer or a business owner.
It’s time to find out!
Table of Contents
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Facebook vs Apple – What is App Tracking Transparency
Apple announced that their operating system update known as iOS 14 will start forcing apps to ask for permission from users if they want to do Ad Tracking from 2021.
Companies like Facebook rely on tracking the behavior of their users in order to show them relevant Ads.
The more data they collect from their users’ behavior, the better the Ad targeting becomes.
Facebook’s whole revenue model is designed around the fact that people willingly share their personal data with Facebook. Without Facebook having to directly ask, you give your name, phone number, your residential location, your interests, the food you like and so much more.
Due to this, combined with their advanced machine learning models, Facebook knows a lot about you and that’s why its Ad targeting is so superior.
You might have heard that when a company lets you use the platform for free, then you are the product that’s being sold.
You don’t pay Facebook with money. You pay them with attention. And they monetize that attention through advertising.
On the other hand, Apple’s business model is diametrically opposite. Apple’s model is where you pay them upfront – whether it is for devices or for other services.
Apple is also different from Facebook because Apple does not collect the minutest details about its users.
Facebook vs Apple Privacy Wars – What are the Arguments?
Facebook has been doing a full-blown PR campaign in newspapers where it has been calling Apple out.
Below is one of the full page ads Facebook Released.
And here is another one.
Facebook has also put up a notification about this in their Ad manager where it is asking people to be prepared in case Apple gets its way.
Facebook has 2 issues with App Tracking Transparency:
Facebook does not appreciate users finding out all the data points it is collecting from its users because they feel it might scare them.
The privacy label that shows this information about Facebook to users is 12 screens long!
But the bigger issue is, Facebook thinks people will look at this huge list and get alarmed. And when the app asks for permission to collect this data, they are never going to opt in.
This is a huge threat to Facebook’s business model because they train their algorithms based on the data they collect. If they don’t get data, the algorithms are going to get less precise. That will hamper the laser-sharp targeting that is currently possible. This in-turn will make Facebook Ads less effective.
In a nut-shell, Advertisers won’t advertise on Facebook if the ads aren’t effective.
Facebook is actually going out and saying that this move will harm small businesses who use Facebook Ads to get sales and rely on them. If Ads stop being effective, the businesses will suffer.
Facebook also says that a lot of small business owners get revenue from advertising and because of that a lot of the internet is free to use. But if those people can’t make money from ads, they will have to start charging the users for content & services through subscriptions and in-app purchases. And that will lead to the internet not being free anymore.
Well, it won’t be wrong to say that Facebook is actually looking out for their self-interests while trying to get sympathy for small businesses.
Apple’s Response to Facebook’s Print Ads
To this Apple has responded and have stuck to their stand.
They said that it is obvious that if a company’s whole business model is designed around invasive tracking, they are never going to welcome transparency and customer choice. Savage!
Apple has been clear that Facebook and even Google can track users’ data through iOS apps. But the only condition is, they have to ask for permission and get that permission from users.
So what’s going to happen in Facebook vs Apple War?
In all probability, Apple is going to win this because Apple controls the App Store. If Facebook and any other companies fight, there is always a chance Apple can remove those apps from the App Store – saying they are going against platform policies.
And none of these companies can afford to lose out from App Store.
But this is something we will have to wait and watch for.
And now, the big question:
If Apple implements the App Tracking Transparency feature completely, what does it mean for you as an advertiser or a marketer?
The truth is, this might change how the internet ecosystem works.
Online advertising might cease to exist in the form we know it as. But that is true for any tech company. They are always at risk.
If Apple and Facebook don’t reach an amicable solution, there is a chance that Facebook Advertising might not be as effective as it is today.
So my suggestion is, if you have a business that heavily relies on advertising as an acquisition channel, you might want to start strengthening other channels.
There are three channels of marketing:
- Paid Media
- Earned Media and
- Owned Media
Paid Media encapsulates advertising.
Earned Media is what you get when other people or publications share your content without you having to spend money.
And Owned media includes your own assets like website, social media accounts, Email Lists, phone number lists.
I have said this many times before and I am saying this again. It is time to start thinking of increasing focus on other channels along with paid channels. That will put you in a fundamentally strong position and will mitigate the risks you face due to sudden ecosystem changes.
This is something that I am also going to teach in my upcoming Digital Marketing Course. If you are interested to learn Digital Marketing, Click Here.
In regards to the App Tracking Transparency update, you shouldn’t panic right now. Both Apple and Facebook need each other so there is hope that there might be a solution that might soon emerge.
I will keep tracking this and will keep sharing the updates on this. Make sure you have subscribed to my newsletter (go to the homepage and fill the form). Also, subscribe to my Youtube channel so you don’t miss my weekly videos.