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With Apple and Facebook fighting over ads, mom and pop stores fear they will be the victims

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If Apple is King Kong and Facebook is Godzilla, Mama and Pop online retailers fear they are the screaming, scattered citizens about to be trampled on as these two giants compete against each other.

It’s about a seemingly minor change to the iPhone and iPad operating systems that is turning the last decade of the online advertising industry on its head by asking users to choose whether or not to be tracked by the apps they use .

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the iOS update that is currently being introduced is about respecting the privacy of users. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has accused Apple and Mr. Cook of a seizure of power, an attempt to take control of data that advertisers and data brokers have long been available. Facebook has launched an advertising campaign warning that the small and medium-sized businesses, which make up the majority of the social network’s more than 10 million advertisers, will be hardest hit by Apple’s changes.

Everything that Facebook says about the advantages of unrestricted access to our data should be viewed with appropriate skepticism. But according to small business owners who advertise heavily online and the agencies that help them, Facebook is telling the truth about how Apple’s change could disproportionately affect them. Additionally, the privacy-focused promotional tools that the iPhone maker is offering instead are unlikely to provide the same clear view of target customers.

It’s possible that companies end up having less insight into their ad spend and paying more for less effective advertising. Whether this change is enough to harm a business depends on its size, maturity, and the goods sold.

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