Apple’s app tracking policy cost four social media platforms nearly $ 10 billion

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Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter have lost around $ 10 billion (£ 7.3 billion) in revenue so far to Apples Application monitoring transparency policy (ATT).

Apple announced the policy last year, saying that apps would need to get user’s permission before tracking their data on apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising purposes, or share their data with data brokers.

The policy went into effect in April of this year with the rollout of iOS 14.5.

According to advertising technology company Lotame, talk to Financial Time, the four social media platforms lost 12% of their revenues in the third and fourth quarters, for a total of $ 9.85 billion.

Of the four platforms, Facebook lost the most money in absolute terms – estimated at over $ 8 billion (around £ 5.8 billion) due to its massive size, while Snapchat lost the amount. maximum income “as a percentage of its activity”, because its advertising is mainly linked to smartphones.

Lotame chief executive Mike Woosley told the FT that advertisers see their revenues drop because most iPhone users have chosen not to follow social apps.

Verizon-owned analytics company Flurry said in May that just 4% of iPhone users in the United States had agreed to allow apps to track their online activities. However, the membership rate was higher globally, with around 12% of users allowing apps to track their internet activities.

Flurry’s results were based on a sample of 5.3 million daily active mobile users with iOS 14.5 worldwide and 2.5 million such users in the United States.

The loss of user tracking has forced ad companies to rework their systems to cope with the idea of ​​privacy.

“Some of the most impacted platforms – but especially Facebook – have to rebuild their machines from scratch because of ATT,” said Eric Seufert, adtech consultant. FT.

He said new tools could take at least a year to produce because they must “be developed from scratch and tested extensively before being deployed to large numbers of users.”

Facebook CFO David Wehner described the ATT feature as “a little more disruptive than expected.”

When Apple first announced its intention to update its iOS privacy settings in June 2020, it resulted in an immediate setback for the advertising industry at large, including Facebook which placed full page ads. in several US newspapers in December 2020, criticizing the iPhone maker for the decision.

Facebook argued that the new privacy changes would be devastating for small businesses that rely on targeted ads and that the changes would reduce the ability of businesses to effectively reach their customers.

Dan Levy, Facebook’s small business program manager, said Apple’s privacy policies are about “profit, not privacy.”

He also accused Apple of behaving in an anti-competitive manner by using its App Store in a way that benefits its bottom line at the expense of small businesses and developers.

Apple defended the move, saying it was “defending” the people who use its devices.

“Users need to know when their data is being collected and shared between other apps and websites – and they should be given the choice of whether or not to allow it,” the company said.

Apple finally introduced the ATT feature in the iOS 14.5 update in April.

Since the introduction of the privacy changes, Apple has seen its advertising activity improve, prompting calls for hypocrisy from the company.s party.

“None of this is altruistic,” said Cory Munchbach, COO of BlueConic.

“Apple did a great job turning privacy into a PR game, but they wouldn’t if there wasn’t the money in it.”


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