Facebook is whining – again – that iOS 14 will hurt ad business

Facebook (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iOS 14 will include new privacy features.
  • Apps will need to ask a user's permision to collect data based on their device's identifier.
  • Facebook says that's going to be bad for its advertising business.

Facebook is again complaining about Apple's iOS 14 privacy features, saying that the release will limit its ability to target ads to users based on their device identifier. In essence, iOS 14 will prevent Facebook's apps from tracking users based on the devices they are using and then use that information to push ads at them.

Facebook's new blog post points out that it will no longer collect the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) because of iOS 14, something it believes will put its ad partners at a disadvantage.

For developers and publishers using Audience Network, our ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 will be limited. As a result, some iOS 14 users may not see any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads from us, but they'll be less relevant. Because of advertisers' reduced ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns, app developers and publishers should expect lower CPMs on Audience Network and likely other ad networks on iOS.

Facebook is also concerned that its partners will not be able to track their own ad campaigns becauase of the move, suggesting that they should treat iOS 14 devices differently to others.

We expect these changes will disproportionately affect Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted, and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease. Ultimately, despite our best efforts, Apple's updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14.

Ultimately, all of this is exactly why Apple is making apps request permission to collect data based on a device's identifier and should probably be taken as proof that its iOS 14 changes will work. Facebook seems to be suggesting that its own ads won't be affected and is instead saying it will be its partners that will struggle most. Which is a bit of a shame, really.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.