A few months ago, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) function as part of its iOS 14.5 update. Umm, “App Tracking Transparency”, we hear you say? “ATT” we hear you cry? What? Why should I care?
Firstly, if you’re a running any kind of targeted campaigns – you NEED TO KNOW THIS.
Secondly, if you’re not running any social media campaigns, well maybe you should be, but that’s a blog for another day.
Now, you can rest easy that we will do our absolute best to explain what the hell is going on – in four parts!
Hold on hold on… what exactly is app tracking?
Everyone knows that applications can track our activity while we’re using it – that’s nothing new. But a lesser-known fact is that applications can also track your activity on other companies’ apps, even while you’re on the web too! Combine this with the unique “advertising identifiers” on every Apple device and you’ve got everything you need to create a veeeeery detailed record of data on how individuals use their devices – eep! Data which can then be sold to companies for advertising purposes (particularly via social media marketing) – double eep! If you’ve ever been innocently browsing a website and then the next day you’ve been served with a suspiciously specific ad (umm, how did the Internet know I was looking for cow-print clogs…?) then you have experienced it firsthand too!
Why should I, as a business, care about app tracking?
From a business perspective, we can see how these insights would be immensely powerful for businesses like yours using social media platforms to reach your target customers. Not only does this data help you identify who your audience is, it also puts you in front of them while they are browsing their Facebook and Instagram feeds. Then, you can grow your customer database and take them through a strategic journey which eventually feeds into a digital marketing plan.
What changes are being made to app tracking?
The new App Tracking Transparency function requires that applications now ask users for permission to track their activity across apps and websites, but only those of other companies, not its own! For example, Facebook can track your activity in the social media apps it owns (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp) without asking, but if it wants to know how you interact with other companies’ apps or to track you across websites you visit, it must ask for your permission. Basically – it is designed to prevent apps from collecting your information without your consent.
You may have seen it appear as a pop-up notification when you open an app that wants to track you, and you can then select “Ask App not to track” or “Allow.”
What does this mean for businesses?
While ATT doesn’t stop ad networks from serving ads per se, it does make it significantly harder for them to target and personalise their campaigns on ad networks – they can still collect some information about user behaviour, but it’s not nearly as specific as what they’ve been using for years.
For small businesses that rely on audiences’ personal data to create personalised ads, while this may present a slight challenge – don’t worry, not all is lost! Ensuring you have a compelling social media campaign and effective branding and design to reach your target market, should see small businesses like yours strongly equipped to take on these changes.