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New Apple update: Will it impact SMB advertising?

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If you’re a small business owner and rely heavily on social media platforms (specifically Facebook) to reach targeted audiences, a new Apple update could have a big impact on your marketing plans.

In case you don’t know about the issue, fast coming to a crescendo, Apple has announced its next iPhone update will include a specific opt-in to tracking on individual apps. If you want some in-depth reading on the change, here are some resources for you:

If you don’t have the time to read through those credible sources of information, I’ll spell out the major issues here, just so small business owners and operators understand why this could become a very big deal.

Increasingly, small businesses have turned to social media apps like Facebook to reach potential new customers. Whether you sell HVAC services or pastries, the efficiencies of Facebook to reach your perfect customers are unquestioned.

As a person, you may like the idea of being protected from the cookies that track your every interaction. As a small business owner, Facebook is warning that you may lose a huge contingent of potential customers when Apple makes this switch.

The reason Facebook is such an effective marketing tool is because they have the ability to track everything you do – something that has caused plenty of debate over the past decade. (If you want to understand why that is frightening to a large contingent, there’s no better place to start than by watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix.)

When users interact with Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest or LinkedIn), liking images, clicking links and sharing images, which are analyzed by all sorts of Artificial Intelligence, these platforms create a virtual replica of the user.

Based on all sorts of algorithms, Facebook can then take your information and use it when it sells advertising to any business. If you like baking and bikes, and you indicate such on social media, your page will be served advertising by Gold Medal flour and Schwinn.

New Apple Update will change tracking

While most have come to accept that it’s part of a new digital lifestyle, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been dogged about protecting users from companies that track and then sell personal information. This is not a new position for Apple, and Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been at odds for years.

As a person, you may like the idea of being protected from the cookies that track your every interaction. As a small business owner, Facebook is warning that you may lose a huge contingent of potential customers when Apple makes this switch.

If a majority of iPhone users don’t enable tracking, Facebook will not be able to send those users the most current, targeted advertising.

Of course, Facebook is saying this will muddy the experience you get on its platform going forward. They’re not going to stop serving your page advertisements, but now they warn that ads may not completely match up with your current tendencies.

It’s a difficult dilemma for certain. To have the new Apple update offer protections against tracking is a good thing. To have a reduced pool of potential customers may also be a bad thing for your business, forcing you to find different ways to increase revenues.

Facebook already owns a ton of data on the billions of active users they have. When Apple makes this switch, Facebook won’t throw away all its old data – that’s for certain. So they’ll still be able to target advertising, even if users opt out of tracking.

Meanwhile, we can all agree it’s kind of fun watching two of the most powerful companies in the world go at each other.

 

 

Jonathan McElvy is the CEO of McElvy Partners. His company includes the Greensheet, The Leader, Fort Bend Star, Charlotte Media Group, Coastal Bend Publishing and Texas Printers. He has managed and owned small businesses for 20 years. If your business would like to talk more about your individual needs, click HERE for contact information. You can follow him on Twitter @mcelvy.

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