This summer, Big Tech spent money on your privacy. But don’t worry, they still made a ton of money.
Alphabet, Snap, Twitter, and Facebook — excuse me, Meta — have all reported with investors the staggering amount of money they made last quarter in the last two weeks. Because they had to respond to a change in Apple’s policy dubbed App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which limited apps’ ability to follow users, all of these companies saw a minor drop in ad income.
According to the Financial Times, the four corporations collectively lost slightly under $10 billion in advertising revenue as a result of the adjustment. Snap had the biggest damage in terms of revenue: the company claims it lost $3 million while still making over $1 billion.
The impact of Apple’s privacy-protecting features is tiny but not negligible in the great picture of these multibillion-dollar organizations, Stephanie Liu, a marketing and privacy analyst at Forrester, said.
Google stated its YouTube income loss was “modest”, while Twitter said its ad performance was “pleased.” “The accuracy of our ad targeting reduced,” claimed Meta’s Sheryl Sandberg, “which increased the cost of driving outcomes for our clients.” Facebook, on the other hand, made $29 billion this summer.
There are a few reasons why certain businesses were hit worse than others.
Apple’s ATT has a direct influence on advertisers’ ability to obtain a mobile device ID, according to Liu. “So the impact of ATT on these companies boils down to whether their userbase is accessing their services via mobile app, website, or both. Snap is very much a mobile-first product, which is why they suffered the most with ATT. While a lot of users check Twitter from their phones, there’s still a large userbase on desktop too, so the impact of ATT is lessened.”
Isn’t it great that Twitter exists? It generated about $1.3 billion in revenue. But it’s nothing compared to Alphabet’s $65.1 billion valuations.
Apps that want to view what you’re doing on your iPhone outside of their own app now have to ask for permission, thanks to Apple’s adjustments. In a world where government enforcement spies on peaceful demonstrators, watching our activities to more accurately/creepily market to us isn’t the biggest breach of privacy, blocking all-seeing ad-tracking is really the least Apple and the rest of Big Tech can do.
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