05 April 2021

Apple and Facebook’s debate about data shows the importance of knowing your customers

A new update being released as part of Apple’s iOS 14.5 operating system looks set to have a wide-reaching impact on advertisers and companies online.

In turn, it’s sparked a high-profile falling out between Apple and fellow tech giant Facebook over what it means for the future of data sharing and advertising. One thing’s for certain – if it involves two of the largest companies on the planet, it’s bound to be pretty important.

So why the disagreement? What does it mean for advertisers who rely on platforms like Facebook and brands whose users are on Apple devices? And, whether they are Facebook and Apple users or not, what does it tell us about gathering data relating to your own customer base?

What is the Apple vs Facebook row all about?

In a nutshell, this is quite simply all about customer information and access to it. Facebook is so profitable because it collects and holds a lot of information about people, which allows it to target adverts at specific groups and demographics.

One of the ways Facebook does this is using the unique device identifier (IDFA) that’s on every iPhone and iPad to target ads and measure how effective they are.

Currently, this is turned on by default but Apple’s latest update will force apps to explicitly ask permission from users to access their IDFA. If a user says no, Facebook’s access to this precious information will be turned off.

They obviously don’t want this to happen because the IDFA tells Facebook a lot about user behaviour, which it can then sell on to companies and businesses.

Why is it important?

From a brand or company perspective, having insights into who your customers are, why they buy your products or services and how they do this is crucial. It allows businesses to be much more targeted in the way they advertise and sell, and focus resources more effectively.

Facebook’s true power as an advertising partner and consumer platform is how much it knows about its users. At Insyt, we also see how effective this knowledge is all the time through the sales promotions we run because the data we collect can be used to refine future strategies as well as evolve our partners’ ongoing projects.

What can other businesses learn from the Apple vs Facebook row?

Facebook can charge a premium for advertisers to use its data because it offers such valuable and wide-ranging insights. And, as much as an enticing advert or an attractive product is a draw for consumers, the wise use of data is really what’s at the heart of good marketing and advertising.

Intelligently targeted and tracked promotions are another way many big brands and successful businesses are finding out more about the purchasing behaviour of their core audiences. This sort of approach also delivers other benefits, such as increased sales, so in many ways it goes above and beyond the capabilities of simple targeted ads.

A quarrel between two giant corporations, especially when they have the size, scale and impact of Facebook and Apple, will always be of vicarious interest. And, looking beyond the headlines, there’s some practical guidance to be taken from this too.

How does this relate to sales promotions?

When we run promotions for our Insyt partners, they can be used to achieve various objectives – whether it’s to increase sales, build brand sentiment or drive customer loyalty.

The way promotions work also means that, by default, our partners are also discovering more information about how, why and when customers buy their products and what their motivations are.

Tracking this sort of data, as Facebook will attest, is arguably the most important way to ensure success now and into the future, and that’s why they are so opposed to the changes Apple is bringing in.

Insyt is your promotions agency with intelligence. We offer a wide range of bespoke promotions solutions that can help your sales, loyalty or sentiment as well as enabling you to gain insights into your customers and their behaviour. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business: hello@insyt.com