On April 26th, Apple made some of the most fundamental iPhone privacy changes ever released. Apple auto opted-out users from cookie and web tracking on iPhones. Previously, Facebook could track users even if they didn’t have the app open. This was done if you were still logged into Facebook with it running in the background.
This actually happens a lot and makes sense for apps to run in the background for notifications, messages, and alerts to continue on your device from Facebook. Now, with these new changes by Apple, Facebook can no longer do that. This is a blow to their advertising platform for sure.
Google’s Ecosystem is Different than Facebook
Google is an entirely different ecosystem. With all things Google, you don’t just use an app, you use the web itself. You use Youtube or Gmail or you use Siri or simply search on the web. There are even millions upon millions of websites that are tied into the Google ecosystem using what is called site analytics. With special code added by publishers to millions of sites, Google can tie into those sites and further expand its robust network. This helps site owners know more about their user’s habits on their website.
The service is free and completely anonymized; you don’t even know the user’s IP address coming to your site as Google does not allow you to see that for privacy reasons.
Google Ties into Millions of Websites
What website owners can gleam are details about what city or zip code users visit from, how long they have been on their website, the most popular pages, and information on purchases using Google Analytics and e-commerce data. The trade-off is that Google also has that information and can use that for their own tracking purposes. Overall, there has never been anything nefarious about this, it makes sense and is good business for both.
How Website Publishers Make Money from Google
Millions of websites are also tied into a program called AdSense. This is Google’s advertising platform for publishers, bloggers, sites like NYTimes.com, ESPN.com, and tons of local news channels use this to run ads on their website through the Google display network. This is how Google makes money and how they also pay publishers for allowing ads on their website or blogs.
The Story of Why Facebook Attacks Apple & Vice Versa
With the background out of the way, Facebook doesn’t have as robust a network or ecosystem as Google. That is why Facebook has attacked Apple as they felt singled out by Apple’s user-tracking privacy update. This is because the new changes will greatly affect how advertisers can target users across the web and their interest in topics outside of Facebook. Facebook can track you all it wants inside the app but it can no longer track users as soon as they leave it. This presents an issue for Facebook and they know that many advertisers’ ads will not be as effective.
So why did Apple make the iPhone privacy user-tracking updates in the first place? It stemmed from the Cambridge-Analytica scandal in 2015. 87 Million users’ private and personal data was hacked and leaked in this data breach which was essentially caused by Facebook’s limited privacy oversight. Apple was one of the many companies outraged by this and decided to take a strong stand.
This isn’t to say that Google Display ads won’t be affected by these changes as well, it is very possible that they could be but not to the extent that Facebook will. Google has so many more tentacles into your data from Siri, to Search, Youtube, Gmail, and even just visiting websites that it won’t be the drastic change that many in the media and Facebook are naming it to be. Rene Ritchie posted a fabulous video that explains what the changes mean for Google Ads. In essence, not so much. Again, thanks to Google’s robust ecosystem that we talked about above, it will not change so much from the digital advertising side.
For a more detailed breakdown and analysis, watch our video on this topic below.
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