Facebook (Advertising) Vs. Apple (iOS 14 and Privacy): Ongoing Updates
facebook vs apple ads war

Last updated: January 1, 2021

Facebook (Advertising) Vs. Apple (iOS 14 and Privacy): Ongoing Updates on the War

Facebook and Apple are at odds, and the result of this battle will have huge implications on the digital advertising industry. This article’s purpose will be to serve as a hub of authoritative information on the topic, gathered from first party sources (Facebook and Apple), third party journalists (The Verge, TechCrunch, WSJ, etc.), and our own commentary. We will constantly be updating this piece with new info as we find it.

September 3, 2020

Apple Announces Its New Policy

At Apple, we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right. As announced at WWDC20, App Store product pages will feature a new privacy information section to help users understand an app’s privacy practices. Today we are publishing more details for developers on what will be covered in this new privacy section. By the end of next month, you will be able to submit your information via App Store Connect to prepare for this feature rolling out to users by the end of the year.

In addition, on iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, apps will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier. We are committed to ensuring users can choose whether or not they allow an app to track them. To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to obtain permission to track users starting early next year. More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall.

September 10, 2020

Facebook Shares Its Response

In June, Apple announced iOS 14 updates that, among other changes, require apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data using Apple’s device identifier.

Given the impact the policy will have on businesses’ ability to market themselves and monetize through ads, we’re sharing how we’re addressing iOS 14 changes and providing recommendations to help our partners prepare, while developers await more details on this policy.

First, we will not collect the identifier for advertisers (IDFA) on our own apps on iOS 14 devices. We believe this approach provides as much certainty and stability that we can provide our partners at this time. We may revisit this decision as Apple offers more guidance.

Additionally, we will remind users that they have a choice about how their information is used on Facebook and about our Off-Facebook Activity feature, which allows them to see a summary of the off-Facebook app and website activity businesses send to Facebook and disconnect it from their accounts.

There are a few things our partners should know to prepare for iOS 14. First, we will release an updated version of the Facebook SDK to support iOS 14. The new version of the Facebook SDK will provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API, which limits the data available to businesses for running and measuring campaigns. In light of these limitations, and in an effort to mitigate the impact on the efficacy of app install campaign measurement, we will also ask businesses to create a new ad account dedicated to running app install ad campaigns for iOS 14 users.

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. We expect less impact to our own advertising business, and we’re committed to supporting advertisers and publishers through these updates. Learn more about the impact to Audience Network here.

We believe that industry consultation is critical for changes to platform policies, as these updates have a far-reaching impact on the developer ecosystem. We’re encouraged by conversations and efforts already taking place in the industry – including within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the recently announced Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM). We look forward to continuing to engage with these industry groups to get this right for people and small businesses.

Apple initially announced it would roll out the new changes with the release of iOS 14, but later said they would delay the inevitable to 2021. Learn more about Apple’s policy here.

Fall 2020 was fairly quiet until mid-December…

December 15, 2020

Facebook Takes Out Full Page Ad in Key Newspapers

Tom Warren from The Verge shares how Apple exposes all the ways Facebook tracks you:

December 16, 2020

Facebook “Speaks up for Small Businesses”


Facebook is speaking up for small businesses. Apple’s new iOS 14 policy will have a harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat and on the free internet that we all rely on more than ever. Here is an overview of what Apple is doing and where we stand:

  1. They’re creating a policy — enforced via iOS 14’s AppTrackingTransparency — that’s about profit, not privacy. It will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, meaning Apple will profit and many free services will have to start charging or exit the market.
  2. They’re hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic. These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively. Our studies show, without personalized ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. We don’t anticipate the proposed iOS 14 changes to cause a full loss of personalization but rather a move in that direction over the longer term.
  3. They’re not playing by their own rules. Apple’s own personalized ad platform isn’t subject to the new iOS 14 policy.
  4. We disagree with Apple’s approach, yet we have no choice but to show their prompt. If we don’t, we’ll face retaliation from Apple, which could only further harm the businesses we want to support. We can’t take that risk.

Click here to see the full post.

December 17, 2020

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, shared his thoughts:

December 18, 2020

Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, shared the tweet below about why people should side with Facebook over Apple:

December 20, 2020

Facebook launches a toolkit for small businesses alongside their #SpeakUpForSmall campaign. Ads by Facebook have been spotted in the wild around this campaign.

speak up for small facebook campaign


Facebook did give us at Wallaroo the recommendation for all our clients below:

To start, here are two actions you should take by early January:

  • If using the Facebook SDK, update to the latest SDK, version 8.1 or above
  • If using the Facebook pixel, verify your domain in Business Manager”

Make sure you do this for your accounts. Also, going forward, only 8 conversion events will be allowed per domain. Measurement will be different as well. 7-day click will be the longest attribution window.

Here’s a great tweetstorm on more data/implications:

That’s all for now. We’ll be continually adding to this post as we learn more, so check back for updates. Have questions? Email me personally at brandon at wallaroomedia dot com. If you need help with your digital advertising strategy and navigating these unknown waters, contact us today by clicking here, or fill out the form below.

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Brandon Doyle

CEO + Founder