Reading, UK, 20th April 2021 - Despite vocal opposition from Facebook, UK consumers and marketers are overwhelmingly in favour of Apple’s upcoming iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, research from digital experience company Acquia has today revealed. 63% of consumers stated the initiative - which allows users to control whether their data is shared for ad-targeting purposes on an app-by-app basis - was either ‘very good’ or ‘somewhat good’, with 34% of consumers having a more positive perception of Apple as a result. Even more notably, some 81% of marketers surveyed voiced support for ATT, indicating a desire to rebuild consumer trust through greater transparency. The findings are in stark contrast with the position taken by Facebook, which launched a series of advertisements attacking Apple’s move, stating it will “change the internet as we know it - for the worse.”
The research also indicated that ATT will drive Apple sales, with nearly a quarter of consumers (23.61%) stating they are more likely to buy Apple products as a result. Curiously, some respondents said it made them less likely to do so, but even taking those into consideration, Apple could be on course for a significant sales uplift.
Apple’s decision to implement ATT is widely viewed as a game-changing moment for data transparency, and comes at a time when big tech companies are urgently looking to restore consumer faith. Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox have all taken steps to block third-party cookies, which track users between websites, with the moves being similarly welcomed by UK consumers and marketers. According to Acquia’s research, 70% of both groups see the decision to phase out third-party cookies as either ‘very good’ or ‘somewhat good’.
Acquia’s findings also revealed that initiatives such as these and ATT are driving fundamental changes in how brands approach data usage, with 57% of marketers stating they had either adopted more consent-driven personalisation strategies as a result of decisions by the likes of Apple and Google, or plan to in the next 12 months. 36% said they were independently looking to adopt more consent-driven personalisation, further highlighting how sourcing first-party data has become a key priority for brands.
“Initiatives such as ATT and the phasing out of third-party cookies are a valuable first step towards restoring consumer trust,” said Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer, Acquia. “Our findings clearly show that consumers and marketers alike welcome the increased emphasis on transparency, despite protestations from Facebook. In trying to oppose ATT, Facebook is once again on the wrong side of history - and its users may not look kindly on this position in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and recent data breach. Marketers, on the other hand, have recognised that to counter years of data misuse, we need to urgently give consumers back control of their data.”
However, while marketers are overwhelmingly in favour of the push for greater transparency, there is some consensus with Facebook’s position that it could damage their business. 39% of respondents indicated that privacy changes would have a ‘very negative’ or ‘somewhat negative’ impact, while 31% believe they will have a ‘very positive’ or ‘somewhat positive’ effect. And with 48% of consumers saying they are unlikely to opt in to tracking, it’s clear brands need to find new ways to engage prospective customers.
“The fears surrounding privacy changes are understandable given how heavily businesses have relied on third-party data in the past. However, the increased emphasis on transparency should be seized as an opportunity and not feared as a threat,” Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer, Acquia, added. “Brands have a real chance to grow their business by leveraging accurate first-party data, enabling them to provide consumers with personalised services without eroding their trust. Our findings demonstrate that the tide is turning, and over the next 12 months we’ll see consent-driven personalisation become intrinsic to business growth.”
Research conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of Acquia, between March and April 2021. 500 marketing professionals and 2000 consumers were surveyed. The consumer study was nationally representative.
Acquia is the open digital experience platform that enables organizations to build, host, analyze, and communicate with their customers at scale through websites and digital applications. As the trusted open source leader, we use adaptive intelligence to produce better business outcomes for CX leaders. To learn more, visit acquia.com.