Earlier this year, Apple rolled out a feature that allows end users to limit the personalization of ads delivered across their devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod).  At first you might be thinking: “Great! Fewer ads!”

But unfortunately, this feature doesn’t limit the actual number of ads you’ll be served. You may no longer see an ad for paper towels when you’re eerily low on coffee or paper towels, but you’ll see other, less relevant ads, in their place. 

How Personalized Ads Work:

In Apple’s words, “Apple delivers advertising helps people discover apps, products, and services while respecting user privacy. To deliver personalized ads, Apple uses information about you to serve ads that are more relevant to you.”

Depending on the sites you browse, the content you interact with, the purchases you make through Amazon, the fitness app you use to track your runs, the flights you booked through Google – the list could go on forever – you will receive ads tailored to your user behavior.  Personalized ads are a controversial subject some may say it’s spooky, others may say it’s smart and helpful. No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, it’s important to understand the privacy settings of your devices and what it means to users, advertisers and the mass population.

Impacts  of the Opt-out on Advertisers:

Advertisers use this information all the time. In fact, it’s the very information we (advertisers) need to generate a successful campaign.  

When campaign management teams go to set up campaigns in a platform, we have the capabilities to select from a list of personal identifiers. We can select from the general demos – Age, Gender, Location; and we can select from a wealth of In-Market, Affinity, or Contextual audience segments that have been identified through data sources. From a paid media placement perspective, it’s important to know where the ad spend dollars are going toward ensuring the right audience is being served. 

The more relevant the ad is to the end user, the stronger the campaign will perform. So if a user chooses to opt out of personalized ads through Apple, they no longer fall into the audience segments we have selected, and we lose the ability to target that person. Our audience pool may get smaller; however, the selected audience will at least remain relevant. 

For us advertisers, there’s no need to panic, at least not yet. Ad blockers – and features to limit the amount of personalized ads shown to end users – have been around for years. According to a study that Innovid ran in 2020, 43% of consumers think it’s important that ads are personalized; 32% of consumers like personalized ads, and 30% of consumers even like brands more when the ads are personalized. 23% of consumers said they are more willing to share information with brands today than they were a few years ago. 

Of course, internet behavior is constantly changing. We should look for reports and insights into this new feature over the next few months. Advertisers should also look at campaign performance pre and post Apple feature. Have you seen a dip in conversions, click-through rate, or costs per impression? Has activity across Apple devices dropped? The sooner you can look into this data, the quicker you’ll be able to pivot strategy, if needed.

We asked Bluetext’s campaign manager Georgia Putney her thoughts on these new features. “As not only an advertiser, but as an end user myself, I will not be turning off this feature. I would much rather prefer to see relevant ads over irrelevant, useless ads across my devices. And sure, maybe I do need an ad to remind me to stock up on paper towels every now and then.” 

But Don’t forget…

As mentioned at the top of this blog, keep in mind that turning off the Personalized Ads setting on your device “may not decrease the number of ads you receive, but the ads may be less relevant to you.” Personalized or not, ads won’t be going away anytime soon. So the choice is yours, more relevant and targeted, or more randomized. But the bottom line, is the free websites, and platforms are still reliant on advertising spend to operate and continue publishing content and features you enjoy.

Need support in setting up your digital marketing campaigns or optimizing performance around new features? Contact Bluetext to learn more about our campaign management services.