How Apple’s New Software Update Impacts Advertising

Overview of the change

A new privacy feature was released on Monday 4/26/21 with the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 14.5. This includes a new feature called App Tracking Transparency, a significant step for user privacy, giving people more control over their mobile phone app data and how it’s used by companies, like Facebook and LinkedIn, for personalized ad targeting.

The first time users open an app on their iPhone or iPad after they update, they will be prompted with an option to opt out of tracking that monitors their behavior and shares that data with third parties. It’s generally believed that a small percentage of users will opt-in to allow tracking. Time will tell exactly how small, but early predictions have ranged from 2% to 20% opt-in. Recently, a mobile attribution firm AppsFlyer ran a study that showed a 39% opt-in rate.

While it’s an exciting development for users, this update is causing apprehension in business owners and marketers because it impacts data tracking permissions and therefore efficacy of some campaigns. This won’t necessarily mean an end to all tracking, but as more and more users opt out of tracking, we will experience some notable changes in how we’re able to measure performance and tactics/strategies we’ll be able to deploy.

Impact on Facebook / LinkedIn Ad Campaigns

The changes to the Apple iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework including the Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) will have a limited impact on these types of ad campaigns.

LinkedIn impact:

  • Shifts in delivery across LinkedIn Audience Network placements.
  • Smaller target audience sizes when using Matched Audiences data
  • Smaller audience sizes for website retargeting.
  • Potential decline in conversions, if dependent on IDFA.

Facebook impact:

  • Some campaign results will be counted differently
  • New limit on web events (limited to 8 conversion events)
  • A domain will need to be selected for each ad to measure conversions
  • Audience sizes may decrease

What we recommend for the short term

  • Enable or update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1
  • Verify your domain and enable the conversions API
  • Configure and prioritize your 8 conversion events or choose to rely on your website analytics tool to track conversions from your campaigns
  • Rethink the customer journey–review strategies and where you might need to pivot your approach

What we recommend for the long term

Consider developing “value exchange” strategies to collect first party data that you can use to build direct relationships with prospects and customers. First party data includes any data collected directly from your audience, such as the following:

  • Events/Webinars
  • Email subscriptions
  • Resource downloads
  • Form submissions
  • Data collected through web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics

Key takeaway

As digital platforms tighten up on privacy, knowing your customers, their pain points, resources and tools they need is more important than ever. Ask yourself, how current are your personas? Do you need additional customer research? How can you collect more first party data?

Sales Enablement Through Technology and Process


Technology and training are having a great impact on sales enablement for businesses in 2021. New sales tools in AI and automation will also enable businesses to capture consumer information and engagement activity automatically, freeing salespeople to focus more on deeper customer research, culling insights from data and creating more meaningful interactions with their buyers.

With this in mind, marketing leaders must have a direct pathway to sales management in order to stay ahead of the tools needed to continue the brand’s story and track accountability and conversions.

According to Forrester, 40% of B2B sales representatives plan to modify their tactics to better fit remote sales, looking for more dynamic ways to earn buyer’s attention than the traditional email, phone calls, and screen-sharing interactions. Additionally, since buyers are increasingly comfortable with e-commerce, marketers are adding more value and functionality to their platforms.

Three trends that will make all the difference:

Sales intelligence technology


Sales intelligence includes technology to identify, track, analyze and interact with existing and potential clients. Better targeting and communication will mean more relevance throughout the process. You need to know who your prospects are and how your campaigns are landing with them.
Not only must the sales function deliver timely insights, but those insights must be regular over time and evolve throughout the buying process from previous interactions. Success rests on the right systems.
You may have the urge to automate these systems, but keep in mind that they need close monitoring. Remember, using “sales intelligence” is not the same as “creative intelligence.” The lifecycle varies across demographics and very much depends on an understanding of your audience’s journey.



Consumers are now experts at finding information online about the products and services they want. Impersonal, generic sales scripts will no longer win them over.
Sales professionals (with the help of the right tech) are expected to learn, understand and anticipate the needs of their customers like personal consultants.
For inspiration, consider Netflix, a company whose algorithm is famous for highly personalized viewing recommendations. But the company goes far beyond that, using its real-time data to do things like attract viewers with artwork that changes with what someone’s just watched. The takeaway: an approach that changes moment by moment.

Sales coaching

Technology will only amplify any poor practices in your sales processes, and successful businesses are investing more in sales training and coaching to ensure that sales teams are in control.
When the world is happening (mostly) online, sales leaders have to figure out how to keep tabs on what team members are doing, and how they’re doing, both personally and professionally. This means going back to the foundation:
  • Daily communication with each rep
  • Coaching for all staff, even the top performers
  • A common sales huddle space to share wins and solve problems

In closing

There are big changes on the horizon as 2021 brings continued COVID challenges for marketers and the companies they serve. From a sharp increase in the work-from-home workforce, to a renewed commitment to “digital first” and an excellent customer experience, teams will be forced to be innovative and inventive with almost everything they do. Lean, agile, flexible and reliable partners who can complement internal teams are becoming a necessity, not a luxury.


Check out the first three installments of our CMO Intelligence series: