How IOS 14 will impact your business


Tracking user behaviour is a key part of many online marketing campaigns. And, by now, we all know the impact tech giants, Apple, can have on the business world when they decide to change something — the company’s recent IOS14 update is a prime example of this. Here, Andy Kehoe, marketing executive at Stone Junction, explains the impact this could have on a technical marketing campaign, in particular one using ads as a key tactic.

IOS14 enables users to disable specific location tracking, stopping their whereabouts featuring in the analytics and limiting measurement and attribution.

With many businesses enjoying traffic from location-based Ad campaigns, the new update could be a real game-changer.

Why has Apple introduced this?

According to Apple CEO, Tim Cook, it was ethical motives that sparked the recent change. “Our Silicon Valley rivals are gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

For a long time, casual users have been unaware of the amount of personal data Big Social is gathering about them on a daily basis. With this move, Apple seems to be heading to a place of transparency about how companies collect and use data. (They still make shit devices though – Richard .)



So, what did the IOS14 update actually change?

Apple’s core web browser, Safari, has introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), an application that aims to protect user’s online privacy when browsing the web. It does this by limiting how site owners and advertisers are able to track you across domains. As a result, the ability to personalise ad content based on your personal information is significantly reduced.  

Put simply, this means that advertisers will be unable to track users like they did before, if that user is browsing on an iPhone, running IOS14 and using Safari.


How will the change affect your business?

The Safari user market share currently sits at around 20% — this is 20% of potential leads you could be targeting, providing you deliver significant conversions via mobile browser. However, we should remember that this only stops you tracking the user, so you can use remarketing or reverse IP tracking for instance, it doesn’t stop them enquiring or buying.

Facebook has reported that this is likely to cause a significant drop in sales — especially for smaller businesses. It will do this by impacting common advertising practices such as: 

  • Retargeting Ads – IOS14 users will not see your retargeted ads, even if you create them as an audience.
  • Demographic tracking – You will not be able to track the demographics of users. 
  • Ad personalisation – Age, Gender and region metrics will not be available.
  • Conversion tracking – Conversions can only be tracked after a period of 24-48 hours. 



What can you do to prepare for the impact of the change?

Separate IOS and Android analytics

It is probably best to separate IOS and Android when tracking conversion events. Tracking just Android will give you a better insight into how your ad campaigns are performing as an advertising platform, such as Google or Facebook, is still able to track Android users in the same way as before.

Verify your domain and enable conversions API

Facebook is advising that businesses verify their domains to ensure that data received using pixel tracking is reported accurately.

Conversion events

Facebook will limit users to eight conversion events. Therefore, it is important to prioritise which events are most important for tracking user behaviour.

Wider targeting

Consider widening your audience in order to account for the potential loss of customers.  



What else can marketers do?

You are unlikely to know the full impact of the update until you’ve conducted a few weeks of analysis on your data. As mentioned, it is important to analyse the differences in data between the affected IOS data, and the unaffected Android data to determine the true effect of this update.

However, there are a couple of factors which inoculate a technical marketing campaign against the effects of this update. The first is that it is affecting mobile users only and the majority of B2B sales and enquiries in most sectors are made from a desktop device. The second is that it is only

Overall though, the IOS 14 update is a perfect demonstration of how quickly and suddenly digital marketing can change. 

At Stone Junction, we specialise in dealing with new updates and difficult problems that can cause harm to your business. Need expert help in containing the impact of the update? Contact us here 


About the author

Richard Stone
Richard Stone - CHART.PR, MCIPR

Stone Junction is managed by Richard Stone, a chartered member of the CIPR whose previous experience includes campaigns for Arup, AIT Plc, CIENA, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SIG, SKF, Roche and WorldCom.

Our Clients
  • Technical PR for industrial computing - Beckhoff
  • Engineering PR campaign for Renishaw by Stone Junction
  • Engineering PR and technical PR for WEG by Stone Junction
  • Technical and engineering PR campaign for Sandvik Coromant
  • Technology and Technical PR for PEI Genesis
  • Technical PR for engineering trade shows - Advanced Engineering