Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 update, which was announced at WWDC 2020, may bring dark clouds over Facebook’s Audience Network, the company announced in a blog post. The new update brings some anti-tracking changes to the table that limit the ability of its apps and services when collecting identifiers for advertisers (IDFA).
IDFA is a random number issued by Apple for a device; it’s used by advertisers to track data and push personalized ads to the users via Audience Network. Audience Network is primarily used to serve in-app ads in mobile apps outside of Facebook.
On iOS 14, Apple has made the IDFA an opt-out thing which in turn prevents Facebook from collecting data for cross-app and cross-device tracking. To give you an idea, if you’re running the iOS 14 Beta you can go to Settings > Privacy where you’ll find a new ‘Tracking’ section. Here, you can bar apps from tracking your activity on apps and websites owned by other companies.
“We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.”
Facebook has warned that such changes limit the capabilities of its Audience Network and may even hurt publishers on its platform. The company says that publishers should expect lower CPMs due to the lack of personalized ads which in turn will lead to decreased ad revenue.
As a result, Facebook won’t collect IDFA on devices running iOS 14. It even went ahead to hint that it may pull the Audience Network from iOS 14 devices in the future if things don’t change.
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During its past testing, Facebook found that publisher revenue from the Audience Network dropped by up to 50% when personalized ads were turned off. The company is trying to find workarounds and says is working on short-term and long-term strategies. However, Facebook also said that it expects less impact on its own advertising business because of the changes.
Update: An earlier version this article described IDFA incorrectly and the same has been updated.