How Instant ‘Ask Apple’s Do Not Track’ Helped TikTok Fight Facebook

TikTok, Facebook and Instagram apps on the phone screen

picture: Ascanio (stock struggle)

In April 2021, Apple dropped a nuclear bomb on the world of online advertising. The company has launched a new iPhone privacy setting called App Tracking Transparency, or ATT, which shows you, as an iPhone user, a popup asking if you want to “Allow this app to track your activity across other companies’ apps and sites?” You have two options: “Request the app not to be tracked” and “Allow”. The vast majority of people opt for the former, which prevents apps from collecting certain data. Behind the scenes, the change has caused a drastic shift in the technology landscape. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, said one setup alone cost the company an estimated $10 billion. Its stock value is down 70% this year. But ATT had another side effect, one that has received far less attention than Meta’s problems. Apple TikTok’s iPhone privacy setting has given a huge step in its fight for social media dominance.

said John Donahoe, co-founder of automated advertising consultancy Up & to the Right, which has worked with major advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and Linksys. “Timing is everything in life, and its timing couldn’t be better than TikTok.”

ATT has stymied Facebook’s ad targeting systems, prompting advertisers to look for new places to spend their money. despite of This hurts TikTok In the same ways the short video The app was perfectly positioned to offer an alternative to Meta: its popularity was exploding, its newness meant ad prices were dropping, and it had built new ad models designed for the new world order of privacy.

Donahue said the privacy setting “demonstrated the risks of having the majority of your eggs in one basket.”

tik tok just lowered Expected advertising earnings for this year, but still It is expected to grow 155%, up $6.01 billion from 2021, according to Insider Intelligence. Meanwhile, Insider predicts that worldwide Meta ad revenue will decline for the first time ever, down 2% from 2021, down $2.25 billion. It would be absurd to give ATT all or even most of the credit for these numbers; The recession played a big part in Meta’s losses, as did the company’s long-term bet on virtual reality and the “metaverse.” Likewise, Tiktok’s gains have a lot to do with cultural changes. But there’s no doubt that TikTok hijacked advertising money that could have gone to Facebook and Instagram, and Apple’s privacy setting had a lot to do with that.

“ATT has accelerated the transition to start pumping more money into TikTok,” said Jasmine Enberg, social media analyst at Insider Intelligence. “While Facebook, Instagram, and others have suffered from ATT, TikTok has benefited in some ways.”

App Tracking Transparency is designed to prevent companies from tracking what you do across different apps, sites, and services. Specifically, the setting revokes access to an identifier number called an Identifier for Advertisers, or IDFA, that Apple has already created to help ad technology companies track you and target you with ads. Let’s say you have a gaming app that you want to monetize. You can connect the Facebook ad network, collect the IDFA, and send it to Facebook so they know what targeted ads to show you.

But most importantly, IDFA is used to measure how well ads are working. Companies like Meta monitor your activities across the web and watch as your IDFA appears across different apps, noting if your behavior has changed after seeing a particular ad. This process provides a basic metric for advertisers to determine where and how to spend their money. But ATT cut off that flow of data, which made doing all that tracking and analysis much more difficult. The Facebook ad network was built on the premise of easy access to that information, and the change caused an earthquake in its systems.

Draw ATT pitch. TikTok does a lot of targeted advertising, and the privacy setting has hampered the company The app is the same way I used Meta. But part of TikTok’s advantage, regardless of timing, came because the app developed ad formats that promised to engage users in compelling new ways. TikTok’sSpark AdsFor example, displaying ad spots that allow advertisers to slip into marketing that looks just like organic content on the platform has helped TikTok lure advertisers with a path to the “authenticity” that users crave. TikTok also provided opportunities to work with new and buzzing influencers, while capitalizing on the content creators’ trust with their audiences. Meanwhile, Meta and other older social media players have been fighting to catch up with TikTok, rushing to tweak their systems for ATT.

“Advertisers lost faith in Facebook because the platform was experiencing weekly and even daily fluctuations as they updated their algorithms,” said Alexa Kilroy, Head of Brand at Triple Whale, an analytics platform that manages data and ad campaigns for more than 6,000 companies. “Meanwhile, TikTok was building the plane in flight.”

When reached for comment, TikTok did not address whether or not ATT gave it an advantage, instead focusing on how the company is working to overcome the challenges posed by ATT. “We want to meet marketers where they are currently and also develop new solutions – with marketers – that will withstand changes in the data landscape,” said Kate Amery, a spokeswoman for TikTok.

Suddenly, advertising through Meta wasn’t a sure bet, and the new opportunities in TikTok were even more attractive. And while the timing was great for TikTok, it couldn’t be worse for Meta. Facebook and Instagram have been in deep decline for years. Young people abandoned Facebook, earning the site’s reputation as a A place for newborns. Instagram failed to innovate, and Features theft Other apps don’t work anymore. Where Instagram succeeded in snatching Stories from Snapchat was its effort to copy TikTok with Reels big failure. Meta crowded its apps with More ads And the algorithmically designed content, adjust their services to Post payment At the expense of a healthy and enjoyable user experience. These issues, along with years of controversy, have left Meta with a commercial issue that TikTok doesn’t have: Facebook and Instagram only. Not cool anymore.

ATT is part of a bitter public battle between Meta and Apple. It’s clear that ATT was poised to have a huge impact on the Meta, whether or not that was Apple’s primary intention. After the announcement of the ATT, the Meta . ran Full page ads In major newspapers, he criticizes Apple for harming small businesses by limiting their ability to advertise. The next day, Tim Cook responded on Twitter:

Despite Cook’s tacit admission that ATT was targeting Meta, Apple insists the move was about protecting consumers. “User data is theirs, and they should decide whether and with whom to share their data,” said Shane Bauer, an Apple spokesperson. “We’ve given users a choice whether or not they want to allow apps to track them.”

Apple has not addressed the impact of ATT on TikTok. Meta declined to comment.

“Even before the advent of ATT, advertisers were starting to diversify their revenue sources and a lot of them were already experimenting with TikTok,” Enberg says. Meta customers were ready to jump in, and the Apple Meta kicked in when it fell. We still don’t know how well the Meta will eventually recover from the blow, if at all.

But for all of Apple’s claims about “privacy is a human right”, the company is taking advantage of your data and backtracking from Meta, although perhaps not as much as TikTok. The iPhone maker is building a new ad network after marginalizing competitors and making room for itself with ATT. So far, Apple New ads dropped On iPhone, it works on it Apple TV adsand seems to focus on Overfishing Declared dead. Over the past few months, the company has also updated its tools to help advertisers track user behavior and measure how well ads are working. Apple, in general, is more conservative about harnessing user data than its competitors, but it does Following you when you explicitly promised not toAccording to research published this week. Once again, the company denies that ATT is part of a lengthy digital advertising hoax. Apple sent Gizmodo an academic study– which the company funded – arguing that ATT will not help Apple’s advertising business.

Aside from the potential hypocrisy, ironically, a setup aimed at protecting privacy helped usher in the era of TikTok, an act that raises new and troubling privacy concerns due to potential ties with the Chinese government. The geopolitical privacy questions are so severe that the Donald Trump administration has threatened to ban TikTok entirely, a threat that remains in the Hardcore Statements at the FCC. In the end, the privacy problems facing the entire tech industry are very bad It doesn’t matter who owns TikTokThere are plenty of other ways the Chinese government can get their hands on US data. But the worries are over TikTok Data Practices Not completely exaggerated.

What’s clear is that Apple’s restrictions on targeted advertising have given TikTok an extra hand in its battle to dominate the social media landscape, but that feature has likely run its course. “Mostly I think TikTok has tested its acceleration, and from here, it’s a natural trajectory,” said Donahue of Up & to the Right.

ATT TikTok gave a boost by knocking Meta out of its place, but it wouldn’t give the company much more advantage going forward. During Facebook’s rapid rise in the early 2010s, a complete lack of privacy rules meant the company could print money with targeted ads. TikTok is in a completely different situation. This field is crowded with competitors and ATT is making the social media advertising business less profitable.

“As long as TikTok users continue to grow, they will continue to be a hot platform and will be able to spend a lot on other social media platforms,” Donahue said. “But TikTok will battle it out to reach a level of dominance in the new world of privacy that Meta didn’t have.”

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