Facebook launched a new campaign that makes the case that small businesses rely on personalized ads.
The initiative comes ahead of Apple’s privacy crackdown, which rolls out this spring.
Facebook has been warring with Apple over the update, which could hurt Facebook’s business.
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Facebook is launching a new campaign aimed at proving the need for personalized advertising amid an ongoing battle with Apple. The initiative, titled “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found,” makes the case that personalized ads help Facebook users discover small businesses, particularly during the pandemic. A video for the campaign features a woman with a yoga mat discovering goat yoga classes on Facebook, and a lifestyle brand rooted in African traditions advertising on Instagram. “Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalized ads is a game changer for small businesses,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the theme. “Limiting the use of personalized ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses.”The new campaign is Facebook’s latest effort to highlight the value of personalized ads ahead of Apple’s privacy crackdown. When Apple unveiled its latest software update last year, it announced a new feature that would allow users opt out of being tracked for advertising purposes. After outcry from app developers, Apple said it would delay the advertising component of the update until 2021 in order to give developers more time to make the necessary changes.
The new feature has been angering Facebook since it was announced — Facebook says it could destroy part of its business known as Audience Network, a tool that personalizes ads in third-party apps. Facebook said the new feature could cut Audience Network revenues by up to 50% and could lead the company to shut down Audience Network for iOS. Facebook warned during its most recent earnings that the changes, which are expected to roll out this spring, could affect Facebook’s business as early as the first quarter of 2021.Facebook has used public campaigns to denounce the changes and champion small businesses once before. Last December, Facebook took out full-page ads in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal that read “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.””Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” the ad read.
Apple hit back, telling Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton that it was standing up for its users by creating the new privacy features. “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” an Apple spokesperson said at the time. The personalized ads issue adds a new layer to an ongoing war between Facebook and Apple and their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook. The feud dates back to at least 2014, when Cook publicly lambasted Facebook’s business model. In an open letter about privacy at Apple, Cook wrote that “when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.” He later said during an interview that companies like Google and Facebook were making money by “collecting gobs of personal data.”And following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook publicly skewered Zuckerberg, saying during an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he would never be in Zuckerberg’s shoes.
For his part, Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s products as being too expensive, later going as far as to insist his employees use Android devices. Facebook has also essentially confirmed the quarrel between the two CEOs: Following a New York Times report in 2018, Facebook said in a statement that “Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees.” Now, Facebook is preparing a lawsuit against Apple, according to a January report from The Information. The suit will claim that Apple has forced app developers to follow a different set of rules than Apple-made apps, such as requiring developers to use an in-app payments system, of which Apple takes a cut. Facebook has reportedly been working on the case for several months and has considered inviting other companies to join the suit.