Apple VS Data – Is it the end for digital marketing?

Dan Smith - 19.08.2021

Hot on the heels of the EU’s Anti-competition cases against Google comes another clash of the titans; Apple Vs Facebook / Data Analysis. The general background is that Apple wants to limit access to user data on its devices and platforms where there isn’t explicit consent. You can read more here, but that spells trouble for platforms like Facebook, with estimates that this could halve income from its ad network. But what does that mean for the broader world of digital marketing?

A new era for digital advertising

Technology consultant Max Kalmykov wrote in Medium that advertisers had to “prepare for the next, privacy-focused era of digital advertising”. We’re all used to be chased around the internet by advertisers whose sites we’ve visited without making a purchase, but all that may well become a thing of the past, unless the advertiser has received explicit consent in advance.

And is that a bad thing? In principle, no, it’s right that consumers have control over the data advertiser have collected from them. But it will undeniably make things harder for marketers who have become used to using customer data and browsing history to target their advertising. And marketers that are ready for the change, and have trialled an alternative approach to customer targeting may well get ahead of the curve. As a challenger agency, it’s our job to ensure our clients are well placed to take advantage of any upheaval in the market.

A new breed of tracking technology

So what comes next? Well, the current approach is so entrenched that no-one knows for sure! What is for certain is that user privacy will be a core principle that will guide advertising targeting, and that users will have control over how their data is used.

This may mean that user data can be anonymised and still targeted with relevant advertising that is contextual to the product that was originally browsed. Or it may mean that e-commerce dependent platforms have to request permission for user data to be specifically used for re-marketing; you can imagine how detrimental that could be to an Amazon window shopping experience.

It will also mean that we may well have to re-write our marketing analytics dashboards, to ensure our measurement metrics don’t impinge user privacy.

Be prepared for privacy controls

I can hear you ask how we can prepare when we don’t know what is coming down to the line? Well, the big shift is our access to user information; it’s widely accepted that these changes will happen. We just don’t know when. So here are some ways you can prepare yourself:

  • Mitigate risk; if you rely heavily on re-targeting or social media-based marketing, you may well want to start to think of alternative ways to engage the users you are reaching on these platforms. Test alternative channels, and migrate spend to where you see the opportunity
  • Prioritise consent-based marketing; build closer ties with your customer base and open up direct communication channels through investing in your CRM
  • Capture email addresses and social ‘follows’ early in your prospect acquisition journey. This makes it easier to re-engage with them subsequently
  • Where you have legitimate interest in marketing to a prospect, you may well get more leeway to target them. For example, if an ad is placed in a site that is contextual to your offering. Cultivate closer ties with content providers in your sector now, and you’ll benefit once these changes come in

Want to understand how this might impact your business?

If your brand relies on digital marketing to power its growth, you’ll need to be properly prepared for these changes to the digital marketing landscape. At Fireworx we’re here to help you prepare, if you want to chat through your options just get in touch to discuss how we can help you.

Call 01202 559 559 or email