Apple Inc. App Tracking Transparency hit wallets of social media platforms very hard: Did ATT divert nearly $10 Bn. to iPhone maker’s accounts?

Apple Inc. App tracking Transparency Social Media Lose Business
Social media companies lost billions, and Apple Inc. gained them? Pic credit: William Hook/Flickr

Apple Inc. introduced App Tracking Transparency or ATT arrived with iOS 14. It appears social media companies lost nearly 10 billion worth of revenue due to the system-level setting.

The ATT has undoubtedly been a game-changer. The prompt prevents apps on an iPhone from tracking users across the iOS ecosystem. No wonder multiple internet tech giants relying on advertising, have suffered huge losses, presumably to the tune of almost $10 Billion.

Apple Inc. ATT disrupts the targeted advertising business, affecting social media companies badly:

A report from The Financial Times claims social media companies such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, collectively lost around $9.85 billion in revenue. The report attributes the loss to Apple Inc. introducing App Tracking Transparency or ATT.

ATT is essentially a system-level security prompt that every iPhone updated to the latest iOS version, has. Apple Inc. introduced ATT back in April this year.

ATT arrived in iOS 14.5. The iPhone operating system is currently on version iOS 15.0.2. Simply put, the feature has been available to nearly every iPhone user for quite some time.

Multiple reports indicate that iPhone users have overwhelmingly welcomed and used the power ATT offers them. More than 90 percent of iPhone devices have the setting activated, with quite a few users flipping the switch across the iOS ecosystem, and not just for select few apps.

Suing the ATT feature, Apple-branded device owners can essentially deny access to their Apple Advertising ID, a unique identification number. This, in turn, prevents advertisers from tracking iPhone and iPad users across apps, websites, and online services.

This feature significantly reduces the effectiveness of targeted advertising. Needless to mention, companies that heavily depend on targeted advertising are losing a big chunk of the smartphone market due to ATT.

Apple Inc. ATT impacted Facebook worst in terms of money, but Snap lost most in terms of business:

A new report on the financial impact of ATT on businesses, claims Facebook lost the most “in absolute terms” when compared to other social platforms.

However, Snap “fared the worst as a percentage of its business”. Snap predominantly relies on the smartphone ecosystem and does not have a desktop app. Meanwhile, Facebook is by far the biggest social media company, and hence, lost the most among its peers.

It is interesting to note that businesses invested in digital advertising and AdTech companies haven’t given up on targeted advertising. Apple Inc. has made some older and simpler advertising models redundant.

However, advertisers quickly got busy developing alternate techniques to recognize user behavior, location, and other data that are critical for targeted advertising.

Some experts have even indicated that benefitting iPhone users, and protecting their privacy, was never Apple Inc.’s true intention behind introducing ATT.

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