April 23, 2021

How Apple’s Controversial iOS 14 Privacy Policy Would Affect the Advertising World

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc. has announced recently regarding their updated policies pertaining to user privacy in the iOS 14 update. The tech giant aims to offer an advanced form of user privacy policy, giving the users complete control over the sharing of their data. But this can seriously impact the online advertisers.

Now this is a real shocker for the Ad Giants like Google and Facebook. On his twitter, Tim Cook stated that Apple users should be given complete privacy and freedom to choose if he/she wants to share their personal information for receiving personalized ads & recommendations. Tim believes that that privacy is a user’s right and cannot be accessed without the proper permission.

So why is this a concern for advertisers? And how is the new policy going to affect the users? Here are some of the good and bad sides of the latest buzz.

Pros & Cons

As Pablo Picasso once quoted, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”; there are always two sides to every crisis. One benefits while the other suffers.

Pros (For Businesses)

  • Advertisers would need to devise new strategies which have probably not been discovered before. Now this is good in terms of discovery of new methods and one could potentially find out several sub strategies while on the process.

Pros (For People)

  • The iOS 14 users can have more privacy while browsing through websites as their browsing behaviour data would not be shared to any external parties. In short, you would be on incognito.

Cons (For Businesses)

  • The companies would potentially witness a huge decline in the reach of ad campaigns directed towards iOS 14 users.
  • The cost involved in finding a formula would be huge as several new proposed methods would have to be tested which involves money
  • The companies would have to spend additional hours on extracting a counter measure.
  • The more time they spend on finding a counter measure, the lesser are the earnings due to decline in focus towards other work.
  • The limits in targeting options would cause the delivery of ads to a completely irrelevant set of audience.

Cons (For People)

  • They would receive non personalized ads on their devices
  • This can mean that the ads could be anything that has no relation to your demographics, behaviour and purchase intentions.
  • This could be annoying to the user due to interruptions by irrelevant ads.

“Google and other Advertising Giants have not yet come up with a promising solution to this problem yet, but Facebook recently updated their guidelines with respect to Apple’s new Privacy Policy.”

Whoa! But does this mean that it is the end of the advertising world? Not really! There are a few methods to ‘bypass’ this issue. Now this can be a little confusing for beginners, but here is what you can do.

For Facebook Advertisers, Here Are Some Pointers:

  • Update to Facebook SDK for iOS 14 (version 8.1). It can help you deliver personalized ads to the iOS 14 users.
  • Verification within Facebook Pixels should be done for the top level domain.
  • In the events manager, you should consider configuring the top 8 events for which you would want Pixels to do the tracking. Otherwise Facebook will automatically configure/place the event trackers based on it’s intelligence that would best suit your business needs.

“You would be restricted from creating more than a limited number of Ad Campaigns that targets the iOS 14 users.”

Facebook’s Limitations Due to the New Apple Policy

  • Limited Ad Creation
  • Limited Ad Reporting
  • Limited Dynamic Ads
  • New Delivery Statuses

Let’s try to understand what each of these are about.


If you are targeting your business APP for conversions, here’s what you should know.

  • Each Business’s App can have not more than 9 campaigns and each campaign can have only 5 Ad sets under the same optimisation.
  • On choosing your business goal while creating a campaign, you have to select the Auction option in order to target for the iOS 14 devices.
  • Once turned off, you cannot restart the campaign. Your only option is to delete the entire campaign and start a fresh one. But then you also have a 72-hour reset period where you can make amendments to your campaign if you incorrectly turned it off/on or accidentally deleted the campaign.

If you are targeting the WEBSITE of your business for conversions, here’s what you should know.

  • Facebook will track only the top 8 events that it thinks are the most relevant for your business.
  • Events outside the selected 8 ones could be utilized for partial reporting in Ads Manager and creating Custom Audience.


  • Projections with Statistical Models would be used if multiple Ad Sets exist within a single campaign. This can potentially cause a variation when you compare the projected data with the actual ones.
  • Delay in Reporting is yet another drawback where the data could take up to 3 days to reflect in your Ad Account. The time during which the data received from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API would be different from the time when the event actually occurred.
  • Certain Reports are Unsupported that are based on Age, Gender & Region for both Web and App conversions.
  • Account Attribution Window can be found at Ad Set Level while creating your campaign for flexibility. The click attribution window has been updated to 7 days but the App Install Campaigns for iOS 14 devices would be decided by the SKAdNetwork API.


  • For Dynamic Ads, you would have to redirect the iOS devices to a common landing page or web browser destination where your app would be placed instead of directing to the App or App Store directly. You can create a new campaign for link clicks here in order to track conversions.
  • Ensure that the Pixels which have been linked to the Domain have also been linked to your catalogues. Try sticking to one Pixel per Domain.


  • Unsupported Events: When you try to optimise a website conversion event without setting your top 8 events. Update your Pixels for the events or run campaigns for the ones where Pixels have already been set.
  • Updating Limit - Shown when you have created more than the permitted number of iOS 14 campaigns or ad sets. It can take up to 3 days for the hits to stop being counted.
  • Set Up Error - If the Facebook Pixel is not associated with any domain, your ad would be switched off. First configure the pixel into your domain to seamlessly create and run your iOS 14 ads.
  • Pending Limit - This happens when you create more than the allowed number of campaigns or ad sets. In order to run your campaign, you would need to turn off an existing iOS 14 campaign and then wait 3 days (72 hours) for the period to reset.
  • Updating Events - Shown when the event conversions are being updated in your events manager or the data is being imported from partner apps. During this period, your campaigns would be turned off. It can take up to 72 hours for the data to complete the update, after which you can turn on your campaign once again.

Is this the Social Media Apocalypse?

It is true that we have survived the worst of the global crises and that we would survive this too. The updated policies have given the users their privacy, but at its own cost.

I mean think about it. Who would want to see an Ad related to iOS games when one is looking out for iOS E-books? Such a disaster right?

There are still a million smartphone users who are unaware of the reason behind the tracking processes and hence the rate of people opting out on the ‘tracking permission’ could potentially be high. In layman terms, the word tracking would point us to the word ‘tracing’ which means ‘You are being watched’; and this could create a sense of anxiety in them.

But we know that tracking only means sharing certain data which does not cause harm (other than displaying a few personalized ads for their own good). The real challenge here would be to make users understand as to why their data needs to be shared. Perhaps this is one solution. Sure enough, it would be a time consuming work, but in the long run, you wouldn’t compromise on missing out a single prospect.

Meanwhile, creating a database of your existing audience with their contact mails can prove to be useful so that advertisers could at least target them in their inbox.

“Let’s not forget that Apple has not stated that it would give the users the right to block all ads. It just means that the Ads displayed on their screens would not be personalized.”

What do you think would be the next move by Facebook & Google? How far do you think that the new iOS 14 Privacy Policy could affect your business goals?

Let’s Discuss!

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