Ahead of iOS 14’s launch, publishers ‘brace for impact’ of potential impact to ad sales

iOS 14 continues to make tweaks and improvements to user privacy, but some publishers aren’t too happy about the impending changes.

One such change involves web activity. iOS 14 will ask users whether or not they want their web activity tracked, letting users opt out if they want. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, many publishers believe iPhone users are going to opt out of being tracked if given the opportunity. As a result, that could have a major impact on ad sales. That’s especially not great news as the coronavirus pandemic continues, which is already having a negative impact on ad sales.

One publisher believes ad rates on iOS could fall as far as 40%.

Sheri Bachstein, the global head of consumer business at the Weather Co., which operates weather.com, estimated that the price advertisers are willing to pay to advertise within iPhone apps could decline by as much as 40% as a result of the change. That is because advertisers generally pay a premium for ads targeted based on users’ interests and behavior on the web.

Other publishers believe Apple is “interjecting” itself in the relationship between iOS users and publications. Unsurprisingly, that publisher is not too fond of that idea.

This seems aggressively aimed at getting people to opt out,” Mr. Clarke said. “For Apple to interject itself like this into our relationship with our readers is outrageous.” He said the Mail’s iPhone app draws about 1.2 million viewers a day of its total 16 million average daily users.

This may seem apocalyptic, and may not have a bearing on reality, but apparently there is some room to be worried. According to the original report, Tap Research Inc. conducted a survey to find out just how many iPhone users will opt out of being tracked while using the web. A large percentage of folks said they would indeed opt out:

In a survey by Tap Research Inc., 85% of respondents said that if they saw this message in their favorite app, they would select “Ask App Not to Track.”

It’s not all bad, though. Jonah Peretti, CEO of BuzzFeed Inc., said that the market will adjust accordingly in due time, even if things do start off rocky.

There are trade-offs for publishers. More direct, contextual advertising in the long run, but short term it could reduce the spending of some programmatic advertisers,” he said.

iOS 14 is set to launch to the public in short order, sometime this fall. When it arrives, do you plan on opting out of being tracked while using the web? Let us know in the comments.