Apple vs. Facebook on privacy, does the public care?

SUMMARY: Later this year, Apple’s App Store will help users understand an app’s privacy practices before they download the app. Developers are expected to understand not only what data their app may collect, but also how it’s ultimately used. Facebook is so upset at this they are running full-page ads in newspapers. Do consumers really care and how will this affect brand marketers?

Unless you’re off the grid, you have probably heard about Apple’s new privacy requirement in iOS14 that’s pissed off Facebook so much they’re throwing a hissy fit.

So let’s look at the people who are most effected:


According to HBR “while consumers say they care about privacy, few have placed any real value on protecting their data. … The survey reveals an important new group of people — 32% of respondents — who said they care about privacy, are willing to act and have done so by switching companies or providers over data or data-sharing policies”.

We also need to understand the levels of privacy. Apps that are more intrusive and follow people are mistrusted than apps that generate anonymous user profiles for targeted ads.

Apple is also requiring that third-party partners need to disclose what data that partner uses and for what purposes — like displaying targeted ads in the app, sharing location data or email lists with a data broker, using data for retargeting users in other apps or measuring ad efficiencies.

IMO if an app offers real value to users I don’t believe consumers will object but, if apps sell that data and consumers are bombarded with SPAM or ads that could be anther story. Overall consumer effect: minimal

Mobile Marketers

We know mobile ad spending is rising rapidly and that marketers are shifting money into mobile. Ad Age says ” App usage is off the charts. And at a time when consumption and purchasing habits are being greatly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, mobile devices are playing an even bigger role in driving commerce in categories like food service, retail and travel (as the recent hype around the DoorDash IPO would attest). Increasingly, mobile is viewed by all companies—not just those normally thought of as mobile-centric—as the most effective way to reach and engage with consumers”.

So how about brands? Simply put, they’re going to have more digital-savvy when it comes to analytics. New tools and platforms will emerge that will help brands measure the analytics that is really important instead of vanity metrics.

If brands can easily communicate the value of any collected user information, consumers will respond. If, however, they use language that’s not user-friendly, consumers won’t read it, and they will complain when the media highlights a story about how some company is using their data.

Apple’s position is a good first shot and Facebook, who thrives on user data, should feel threatened. I might remind readers that Facebook as misused our data over the years and continues to violate the trust of its users. It’s gotten so bad that some big brands have pulled ads from Facebook.

If users want local information when they search for a coffee shop, user data will be required. Still, consumers really need to understand that the data collected do not include names and addresses. It’s just an app that understands someone in Carmel, California, is looking for a coffee shop.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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