Social networks and others that depend on user tracking worried that Apple’s iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature would put a hurt on their earnings as a majority of users have tapped “Ask Not to Track” on their apps. However, it appears that the impact has been much less than expected.
Facebook has loudly protested Apple’s iOS 14 privacy features, but its most recent earnings do not show a huge decline in ad revenue. Twitter saw the same with its earnings.
Now, Google parent company Alphabet is reporting that it is seeing minor effects on its revenue, as it reported YouTube revenue of $7.2 billion, just a bit short of analyst predictions of $7.4 billion.
“[We’re] pleased with the strength across our business in the third quarter, it was broad-based, it was global,” Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said. “In terms of the iOS 14 changes specifically, they had a modest impact on YouTube revenues.”
Twitter’s Q3 2021 Letter to Shareholders reports that the “Ask Not to Track” impact was “modest,” mostly because of how it has moved to Apple’s SKAdNetwork. (SKAdNetwork is Apple’s successor for the previous Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) tags.
Apple’s Craig Federighi had predicted that the impact would be significantly less than developers feared, due to SKAdNetwork.
“We introduced intelligent tracking prevention, several years ago,” he said, “and at the time, parts of the ad industry were saying that the sky was going to be falling in and that their business was going to be destroyed by the fact that they couldn’t track everyone from website to website to website.
“Well, in fact, if you look at what happened to the industry, that didn’t happen at all,” continued Federighi, “and yet we also protected user privacy.”