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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 01, 2021

Expert: How the iOS 14 update will impact merchants, brands

Apple's latest updates puts more people in charge of their own data. iOS 14 gives users the ability to opt out of data tracking, which is a good thing for consumers but could shut businesses out of crucial data they use to serve relevant advertising. We asked a digital expert to weigh in on the changes.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What implications does Apple's iOS 14 update have for digital marketers and brands?

Steffen Schebesta, CEO, Sendinblue: With Apple's new update, apps will be required to be more transparent with users, and users will have the opportunity to take more control over what data is tracked and how that data is used. This will impact how brands advertise, especially those who are highly dependent on personalized and targeted advertising. However, there is also opportunity here - opportunity for businesses to take a stand in being more transparent as well as opportunity to creatively find new ways to reach customers.

This update also allows businesses to better connect with their audiences through improved company values. Brands will be forced to move in a direction that is more transparent about data collection and will also have increased pressure to protect users' data. Further, brands will be impowered to make a commitment to transparency with consumers - ultimately creating a stronger line of trust between businesses and buyers.

Kristina: Why is this change being made at this time by Apple?

Steffen: As the world continues to become more virtual, there have been many calls for better data protection. Apple made this move to strengthen and protect user privacy as more businesses are scrutinized for not being transparent enough in our virtual world.

Social media, for example, continues to grow larger daily, and as it continues to be a dominating aspect of our lives, there has been a decrease in trust in social platforms and an increase in calls for regulation. While the decision of who will enforce virtual regulations and how these regulations will be enforced is still unknown, Apple has taken a proactive step to give users the option to better control their own privacy.

Apple has long advocated for protecting user privacy, as previously seen with similar data protection updates on Safari, so it's no surprise that Apple is continuing to take steps in this direction. This latest decision both pleases Apple users and offers incentive to non-apple users to switch and gain added privacy, and keeps the focus on parties that have lost user trust due to a lack of transparency, rather than on smartphones or smart products, which function as the medium between the apps and consumers.

Kristina: What impact could this have on businesses?

Steffen: Essentially, this update will change how businesses reach customers through personalized advertisements. If ads become less profitable, businesses will stop purchasing them and instead adjust strategies to invest in other channels.

Enterprises and organizations that have claimed that Apple is harming small businesses are not fighting for small businesses. In fact, it will probably be big corporations that suffer the most, since they rely on tracking much more extensively and throw significantly more resources into tracking than small businesses do. While iOS 14 will change how brands will market, these corporations going after Apple are really pushing back because this update has the potential to decrease their value as a business. If businesses are against users having control of their privacy, it's probably because the business model relies on tracking - and invading - user privacy.

Brands will shift away from methods that are no longer profitable, and will pivot to figure out where to invest to continue reaching customers. This includes exploring new ways to invest in first-party data, becoming more transparent about data collection, and investing in other channels that can still create personalized experiences with users.

Kristina: What steps or strategies should businesses adopt for data/data privacy moving forward?

Steffen: Digital marketing is a broad category that goes beyond traditional, targeted advertising. There are many great ways to connect and engage with consumers, and many methods will be more effective than personalized ads that consumers may never see. There are several other strategies that can be elevated instead, like email marketing, SEO, SEA, social media or content marketing.

To begin adopting a digital marketing strategy that keeps data privacy as a priority, businesses will first need to be more transparent with their audiences. Businesses will stand to benefit from the bonds they'll create with consumers when they become more transparent, and many consumers are more loyal to companies with transparency policies. Other steps organizations will need to take include creating strong trust and long-term relationships with consumers, sourcing first-party data, and keeping the data secured while keeping customers informed on what data is collected and how it is used.

From my experience, email marketing is a great way to build and develop relationships, and drive sales with consumers. There are a number of platforms and services that offer separate data tracking capabilities and are not reliant on Apple or social media apps, such as Sendinblue's Tracker which enables tracking that is automatically entered into marketing automation flows. I would encourage business owners to look into some of the vast offerings out there and leverage them as a way to continue making connections to appropriate customers.

Tags: advertising, advertising data, consumer data, data tips, data trends, ecommerce, mobile commerce, mobile marketing, Sendinblue

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