iOS 15 and its Implications for Marketers

Apple’s iOS 15 officially rolled out on September 20, making its several data and privacy updates a reality for marketers. Here are the most important things to keep in mind as you adjust your marketing and growth strategies.

What’s new in iOS 15?

Building on the privacy changes introduced by iOS 14, iOS 15 delivers updates to several Apple staples, including FaceTime calls to non-Apple devices, prioritized Notifications, changes to Safari tabs, and the ability to add state IDs to Wallet. The biggest change for marketers comes in the form of new privacy practices that render thirty party data all but useless.

The biggest changes for marketers come in the form of Hide My Email, Mail Privacy Protection, and the App Privacy Report.

Hide My Email

Hide My Email works by allowing users to create random email addresses for use on apps and websites, enabling them to keep their personal addresses as private as possible. Users can toggle back and forth between their personal addresses and the random ones, allowing them new control over their information.

Mail Privacy Protection

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection allows users to mask their IP addresses and block senders from seeing when they open emails. This update renders open rates virtually useless, and marketers will have to consider other KPIs when measuring the success of their messaging strategy.

App Privacy Report

The App Privacy Report gives users control over how apps use their data. This includes which apps use different features on their phone to collect data, including their microphone, camera, and location. This update also allows users to see if their data is being shared with third parties through any of their apps. Knowing this, users can then decide to change which apps can access these features in their settings.

IDFA is gone; what now?

The rollout of iOS 14.5 gave advertisers an idea of what a post-third-party-data world might look like. Without IDFA, marketers have been forced to think outside of the box and reimagine ways to deliver conversions.

Strict privacy regulations are the new normal, and Apple’s new policies are no exception. First party data is a marketer’s best friend in this new cookie-free world.

What is first party data?

First party data, or data collected from interactions between customers and your brand, is the new North Star in your marketing strategy. All first party data is, by nature, self-reported by customers. This helps to eliminate the need for third party data and helps your company to avoid potentially misleading data provided in the post-IDFA world.

That being said, third party data cannot be completely written off; it still provides important context about your customers and prospects. First party and third party data are most effective when used together to create personalized customer journeys and detailed buyer personas.

Shifts in Facebook attribution

Retina AI’s CEO Emad Hasan and CSO Chris Hill shared their thoughts on how iOS 15 will change the industry and how marketers will function.

“Most of our customers and prospects are seeing their customer acquisition cost almost double over the last few months,” said Emad of the impacts already felt by the IDFA changes. In reference to Facebook advertising, “the impact of iOS changes are such that fewer conversions are getting registered and the Facebook algorithm takes longer to learn. This raises the prices on conversions because the algorithm must now bounce between different audiences before honing in on the right audience.”

He also sees the potential for pent-up demand from venture capital and private capital alike going into consumer companies. “The auction price has gone up because the supply of people and ad slots have not fundamentally gone up,” said Emad. “Both this issue and the Facebook algorithm have now resulted in the almost doubling of customer acquisition cost for consumer brands on Facebook.”

Google has seen much smaller impacts. “They don’t rely on cookies as much and instead use last-click attribution,” said Emad. “On the YouTube side, it’s clear that they have increased their ad loads, or supply, to keep prices, or CPM, steady.”

Where do marketers go from here?

Moving forward, marketers will have to pursue new avenues beyond Facebook for their customer acquisition strategies.

“Some marketers have mentioned their renewed interest in connected TV given that Facebook’s cost has risen and could justify the cost of moving to TV,” said Emad. “The connected TV space has already seen a dramatic rise in programmatic advertising.”

That being said, television is not necessarily the answer for all businesses.

“Small and medium sized businesses may be unable to switch advertising to other channels,” said Chris. “Television is too expensive and complicated for almost everyone. Other emerging platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest require a more sophisticated media buyer who understands the nuances of those channels and can buy at scale in an efficient manner.”

Know your customers’ value

iOS 15 has made one thing perfectly clear: it is more important than ever to know your customers and the value they bring to your business. Take advantage of the valuable first party data they provide. Retina’s recent whitepaper, How Retina Solves the Facebook Attribution and ROAS Problems, highlights all of the ways we can help you use your existing tools to understand exactly which customers you should prioritize from their first purchase.