It’s long been know that Facebook, Apple and Google don’t always play nicely together (sometimes they do, like triplet siblings!), and the next battle is over privacy, cookies and (most importantly to us) the Facebook Pixel.

The next triplet to throw a punch is Apple with the software update iOS 14, now this hasn’t come out of nowhere, Apple has been teasing tighter privacy control (in the current iOS 13 users can turn off ad tracking within settings, although it is buried quite deep in the menu). However with the launch of iOS 14 soon, users will have much more control over what apps can and cannot collect their data.

What does this change mean for companies?

It means users will clearly have the option to either ‘Allow Tracking’ or ‘Ask App Not To Track’. It’s a great move for users who may be unaware what apps are collecting data unlawfully, but a potential nightmare for apps that make their money from tracking you across the internet. I think the first victims won’t actually be Facebook and Google who follows users across browsers and track website activity, it will actually be in-app advertisers who take advantage of Audience Network and Google Display in free games as these are much more likely to track your behaviour between third party apps (rather than switching between Facebook and a 1st party browser like Safari).

What does this mean for Facebook Advertising?

Unfortunately until iOS 14 launches its difficult to predict how this will affect event tracking in the Facebook Pixel across standard browsers. We’ve already spoken about the impact it may have on gaming and advertising within games and I expect budgets will decrease as less developers use in-game ads to promote their games, resulting in  less revenue for Facebook and also less game installs and revenue for Apple. 

What are Facebook doing about this? 

Facebook do have an ace up their sleeve called Conversions API (previously called Server to Server API) which is a alternative to the standard cookie based Facebook Pixel which relies on the users device to cooperate. The Conversions API can pass user and event details from the website server back to Facebook’s server (you can see why it was called Server to Server!) to record important events and conversions. 

Although it does exist and can be implemented now, the setup isn’t straight forward and does rely on manual development using the API but hope is on the horizon for e-commerce sites using Shopify as platforms are busy developing plug and play integrations to setup the Conversions API quickly.

In the near future as this battle continues between Apple, Google and Facebook, I expect savvy brands to rely on event conversion data from both the Facebook Pixel and Conversion API.

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