Apple’s looming privacy update has many brands and social media platforms feeling uneasy about the future of ad retargeting.

In previous blogs, we discussed the initial reaction from Facebook and advertisers regarding the iOS 14 privacy changes and later postponement of the update. In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at Facebook’s reasoning behind their stern stance and what led up to the eventual surrender.

No More Secrecy

The impending iOS 14 update will require app developers to ask for explicit user permission before tracking any activity. Apple hopes that giving users the option to “opt-out” of data sharing will make them feel like they have more power over what information apps have access to.

Many have celebrated Apple’s continued transparency efforts as a step in the right direction when it comes to personal privacy protection. However, if you’re a brand that relies primarily on third-party audience data for your advertising strategy, it could be a major setback.

The End of Retargeting?

Apple’s announcement of its privacy update back in June 2020 was met with so much backlash from brands and marketers worried about their future ad targeting that they ended up postponing the update indefinitely.

The change is inevitable. It’s widely predicted that Facebook will be one of the most heavily-affected businesses when push comes to shove — if brands can no longer build successful campaigns around specific audiences based on interests or other targeting data on Facebook, there could be a steep decline in advertising on the platform.

Having Power Over Your Information

For years, the 2+ billion monthly active users have been providing Facebook with personal information regarding their interests and demographic data without even realizing it.

74% of U.S. adult Facebook users surveyed claimed they did not know Facebook maintained a list of their interests and traits, while 51% said they are not comfortable with Facebook compiling this information.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has been in the spotlight for sharing audience data, either — in 2018, they updated privacy controls and removed advertisers’ access to Partner Categories from Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, TransUnion and other major consumer research sources in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Since the announcement of the iOS update several months ago, Facebook has been vocal about its disapproval, even launching ad campaigns criticizing Apple’s decision. The platform claims that the impending update is attacking small businesses everywhere by not allowing them to use their advertising budget effectively.

Suddenly, though, Facebook changed its tune.

The social media giant is launching its own supplemental popup to follow Apple’s. While still in the testing phases, the prompt will explain why they want to track your data and how it will be used to improve each user’s experience on the app.


To help people make a more informed decision, we’re also showing a screen of our own, along with Apple’s. It will provide more information about how we use personalized ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free. If you accept the prompts for Facebook and Instagram, the ads you see on those apps won’t change. If you decline, you will still see ads, but they will be less relevant to you. Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences. We feel that people deserve the additional context, and Apple has said that providing education is allowed.


Adapting Your Approach

Without easy access to the stockpile of information Facebook has on your key prospect demographics, reaching your target audience might be a lot more challenging. Like Facebook, you’ll just have to get creative in your approach to this issue.

Not sure where to start or how to adapt your current strategy? Don’t sweat. Schedule a free 30-minute call with a Smirk team member or consider a full digital audit to identify your advertising pain points. We’ll take a look at your brand and help you chart the way forward.