FB shouts about personalisation perks as Apple clamps down on privacy

Facebook might have complied with Apple's privacy settings for its iOS 14 updates but the tech giant is not backing down without a fight. Just yesterday, Facebook rolled out an initiative titled "Good ideas deserve to be found" to highlight how personalised ads are an important way for people to discover small businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and how these ads help small businesses grow from an idea into a livelihood.

"Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalised ads is a game changer for small businesses," Facebook said in a post, such as a goat house farm connecting with yoga fans via personalised ads, for example. Facebook's latest video does not mention Apple.

"Limiting the use of personalised ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses," the tech giant said. Facebook added that the initiative aims to help small businesses navigate the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some product updates it shared included the simplification of Ads Manager to make it easier for SMEs to carry out personalised marketing, waiving fees for businsses selling with Checkout on Shops through June this year, and introducing new restaurants options to note for consumers who are eating out.

Quoting Facebook's spokesperson, the Wall Street Journal reported that the campaign was not a result of "Apple's planned moves" but rather "the latest stage in a long push" to raise awareness among businesses about Facebook's tools. The spokesperson explained that Facebook's intention is to point out the value of personalised ads and how crucial they are for users to discover small businesses on Facebook and Instagram.

The spokesperson added that Apple's privacy changes, however, will make it challenging for small businesses to engage with customers through personalised ads. Hence, Facebook disagrees with such an approach. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The latest marketing stunt by Facebook comes as Apple rolls out the privacy update which requires developers to obtain users' permission before tracking them via the identity for advertisers. Developers will also self-report their privacy practices, including data collected by the developer and used to track consumers across companies. IDFA is the individual and random identifier used by Apple to identify and measure iOS user devices.

(Read also: Analysis: ID that binds the industry: Impact of iOS 14 privacy efforts on brands)

Earlier this month, Facebook said it would show its prompt for consumers to gain permission in obtaining their data. However, it explained that doing so does not result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that the company can continue to offer users better experiences. Facebook also claimed that Apple's approach will hurt small businesses and force them to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue.

Last August, the tech giant said it expects changes on Apple's iOS 14 to "disproportionately affect" Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. The privacy update, according to Facebook, might led to some iOS 14 users not seeing any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads that are less relevant.

The feud between both companies do not seem to be abating. In January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that Apple "uses its position to help its own services", specifically its iMessage service, which is in competition with Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger, CNBC said. He also countered Apple by explaining that while the company claims its privacy changes will help users, "the moves clearly track their competitor interests", CNBC added.

In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a speech at a data privacy conference in Brussels the next day that "if a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all", it deserves reform and not praise. Although Cook did not explicitly name Facebook, CNBC said the latter was "clearly a target" of Cook's warning.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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