Last year, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature. This allows an iPhone user to opt-in if he or she wants to continue to be tracked by third-party apps for the purpose of receiving on-line ads. Those who don’t opt-in will no longer be tracked. While this would seem to be good for iPhone users, Facebook immediately decried it as being bad for small businesses and bad for Facebook. The company at first said that it could lose as much as 50% of its ad revenue in 2021; Facebook’s ad revenue was over $80 billion in 2020.
Facebook paid for two different full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post supporting small businesses. In the ads, Facebook wrote, “Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.” The App Tracking Transparency feature will start showing up with the release this spring of iOS 14.5. Facebook is said to be considering a lawsuit against Apple.
On Friday, Facebook posted a blog that explained why App Tracking Transparency is bad for small businesses and what Facebook plans to do to help these firms. The company said, “Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalized ads is a game changer for small businesses. It has helped make advertising affordable for small business owners like Melissa and Annette and helped people discover products and services they might not have otherwise — like that goat yoga class they didn’t know they needed. Limiting the use of personalized ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses.”
To help small businesses, Facebook is waiving fees for businesses selling with Checkout on Shops through June 2021. Facebook, as previously disclosed, continues not to collect any fees for paid online events until August 2021 at the earliest. The new Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found initiative includes a new Instagram sticker and a new #DeserveToBeFound hashtag on Facebook. As Facebook says, “These investments build on the free tools and resources we introduced last year, like Facebook Shops and Facebook Business Suite, small business grant programs and virtual training to help small businesses navigate the pandemic. We will continue to make sure small businesses have a voice to reach customers, and make sure their good ideas are found.”
Facebook wants to continue to promote small businesses
Not all Facebook employees are taking Facebook’s side in the battle with Apple. Back in December, a Facebook employee said that Facebook’s public attack against Apple was “self serving and hypocritical.”