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Publishers join Facebook in fearing advertising slowdown caused by iOS 14 privacy changes


Following Facebook’s multiple warnings including a recent public post about concerns over lost ad revenue due to the iOS 14 privacy changes, other digital publishers have shared similar fears. Like Facebook anticipating up to a 50% drop in revenue, one publisher estimates ad rates on iOS could fall as much as 40%.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, a number of publishers are feeling the same as Facebook with concerns about how iOS 14 will change their ad revenue and as some point out, this comes during the difficulties of the pandemic.

The iOS 14 feature in question is one that will ask users whether they’re okay with being tracked across apps and websites. While many will welcome the privacy-focused feature, some feel it’s overly aggressive and will result in many opting-out of the tracking that provides experiences like more relevant ads.

Weather.com’s head of consumer business thinks iPhone ad rates could drop by 40%.

Sheri Bachstein, the global head of consumer business at the Weather Co., which operates weather.com, estimated that the price advertisers are willing to pay to advertise within iPhone apps could decline by as much as 40% as a result of the change. That is because advertisers generally pay a premium for ads targeted based on users’ interests and behavior on the web.

Meanwhile, the publisher of DMG — owner of Daily Mail said he believes Apple’s new iOS 14 prompt to ask users for tracking permission is “outrageous.”

“This seems aggressively aimed at getting people to opt out,” Mr. Clarke said. “For Apple to interject itself like this into our relationship with our readers is outrageous.” He said the Mail’s iPhone app draws about 1.2 million viewers a day of its total 16 million average daily users.

WSJ notes that a recent study showed Clarke’s concerns could come to fruition with the majority of respondents saying they’d opt-out of tracking, and that was based it being their “favorite app.”

In a survey by Tap Research Inc., 85% of respondents said that if they saw this message in their favorite app, they would select “Ask App Not to Track.”

Another publisher described the feature as scaring consumers to turn off ad tracking, while another is going to expect nothing from iOS ad revenue going forward.

Alex Austin, chief executive of Branch Metrics Inc., said the ad-tech company will assume Apple’s advertising identifier “is dead for everything we’re doing.”

However, among the fears and concerns, others interviewed like BuzzFeed’s CEO shared a different message.

Jonah Peretti, the CEO of BuzzFeed Inc., said while publishers may feel some effect in the short term, ultimately the industry will adjust.

“There are trade-offs for publishers. More direct, contextual advertising in the long run, but short term it could reduce the spending of some programmatic advertisers,” he said.

Business Insider’s publisher said he doesn’t see it as “life-threatening” but could see how it might be problematic for smaller publishers.

If you’re curious, here’s how tracking preferences and alerts will look and work in iOS 14:

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