It’s All About the Lookalikes!

Any day now, Apple is expected to release a new iOS 14 update that will prompt all iPhone users to expressly provide apps, like Facebook and Instagram, permission to track their data. This will undoubtedly have a significant impact on any apps that use this data for advertising or for other purposes and unfortunately, there’s no way to predict how many people will opt-in or opt-out.When a user opts-out of tracking, the app is unable to report back on user behavior on an app past their initial click, leading to a potentially significant drop in scale and the inability to report on website activities such as add-to-carts, email sign-ups or purchases.

3rd Party vs. 1st Party Data

3rd party data will see the largest negative impact with this prompt, so it’s safe to say that 1st party data and lookalike audiences created from 1st party data, will become more important than ever.

Utilizing 1st party data, like a CRM list, is a great way to retarget current or past customers. Lookalike audiences are also great as they’re created to mirror these current or past customer behaviors in an effort to clone and create new users in hopes they’ll convert and become new customers. The size of custom audiences generated via pixel events might likely be smaller, however, Facebook has stated that they do not expect the size of associated lookalike audiences to be affected.

Advertisers with a large amount of historical pixel performance data, using Facebook as an example, are at times able to forgo most other targeting tactics altogether as their lookalike audiences and algorithms are likely to perform better. What does this mean for the user? It means they can opt-in or opt-out of being tracked.

Why Can Opting-In Be a Better Option for the User?

A big benefit of opting-in to tracking is that the ads are much more relevant to each individual user based on their behaviors in apps and websites. When a user opts-out, they are likely to see much less relevant ads, which in my opinion is not an attractive alternative. What users ultimately need to take into account is that this tracking does not contain (and has never contained) Personally Identifiable Information or PII. There is a huge misconception around privacy and PII. It’s important to assure users that tracking will never include names, phone numbers, addresses, SSNs, etc. With this being the case, it’s not a case of big brother, but rather aims to increase ad relevance and thus creating better user experiences.Only time will tell how this update will affect targeting and attribution and not all iOS users update their operating system right away, so we may not see the full impact for weeks or months.

I am sure I speak on behalf of all advertisers when I say, here’s to hoping that more users opt-in than opt-out! I’ll be opting in, but then again, I am a media guy.

About the Author:

Jeff Rahm brings almost 20 years of experience in media buying and planning to OH Partners. Raised outside of Seattle, Jeff moved to Arizona in 2004 and he now resides in Central Phoenix with his dog, Hank. Jeff enjoys the outdoors, yardwork, house projects, chasing crazy weather and volunteering with various LGBTQIA+ organizations.