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How Apple’s Privacy Changes May Impact Small Businesses

Written by Live Oak Bank

How Apple's Privacy Changes May Impact Small Businesses

When Apple's privacy changes were released in April 2021 to enhance consumer privacy, small businesses that leverage digital marketing were in for a shock. If a small business uses email marketing, digital ads or even has a mobile app, these changes likely affected how small businesses approach marketing. While these updates are not ideal, there are ways in which savvy business owners can pivot and strategically market to their consumers.


What is the iOS 14.5 Apple update?

Along with some cool features like unlocking your iPhone while wearing a face mask, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update also enables users to opt out of tracking. The new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy requires apps to get users’ permission to track their personal data across apps, which is the same data that’s used for targeted ads. Since the update went live in April 2021, only 25% of users have opted in for tracking, which hinders the $189 billion mobile ad industry across the globe.


How does this affect small business marketing plans?

This Apple update creates hurdles around delivering personalized, targeted ads to a company’s target audience. Advertising on social channels including Facebook has become challenging because businesses can no longer retarget their audience on Facebook unless the user has given permission or has liked the company’s Facebook page. The new mail privacy protection feature is another obstacle — all emails sent to Mail users will be opened by Apple’s proxy server first, which means open rates will be skewed. Additionally, when evaluating a subject line with an A/B test, the results will be inaccurate.


What can small business marketers do to work around these updates?

First and foremost – this update only impacts Apple users. There are still plenty of Android users available to target. Globally, Android users account for 72.2% of market share, while 27% are iOS users. This also presents a new opportunity to renew a focus on website analytics, as many platforms offer robust metrics around key users. Amp up organic social media posts, which are a free and simple way to get in front of consumers. Another tactic includes collecting data straight from the source – the user! The target user is likely willing to give personal info (like an email address or a phone number) in exchange for a valuable content piece or asset. This data is considered “owned” and can be utilized in a variety of ways.


To learn more about the potential impacts of Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, check out these additional resources.

Here’s How Apple's iOS 15 Update is Affecting Ecommerce Businesses
Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s iOS 14.5 Update
Apple, Meta and the $10 Billion Impact of Privacy Changes

You might also be interested in: Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with data privacy laws like the GDPR.

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