Apple IOS 14.5 Update• Brand• Business• Content Marketing• Digital Marketing• Facebook Ads• Marketing• social media• Social media for business• Technology

Impact of Apple IOS 14.5 Update on Small Business

apple ios 14.5 update
Apple released IOS 14.5 on April 26, 2021, sparking some controversy surrounding data protection and limiting Facebook audience reach. Updates with IOS 14.5 include unlocking your phone with an Apple watch, to help when wearing a mask – but we’ll focus on the privacy change and impact on small businesses. IOS 14.5 includes app tracking, which will require iPhone apps like Facebook to ask for the user’s permission to access your advertising ID. The advertising ID is what allows Facebook to track your activity across other apps and websites. All this data is used for placing ads in front of Apple users. Most of us who own an Apple phone will choose to decline their requests, which is a major strike to companies like Facebook rely on advertising revenue. Targeted ads are what happens when you search for something on Google, end up on Facebook, and somehow see an ad featuring something you’ve searched. If your a small business that utilizes Facebook advertising, this could be the start of a critical loss in sales.

With the first strike made in the war against privacy, with Apple on one side and Facebook on the other, marketers and small businesses that use Facebook for ads are at a crossroads. This is either a potential disaster (especially if your company depends on ad spend as Facebook does) or an opportunity to explore alternative solutions. This includes effective Content marketing, where content can be owned and distributed through a story-telling narrative.

1. Facebook Responds to Apple IOS 14.5

facebooks response to apple ios 14.5 update

Speak up for small business

According to Facebook, Apple’s new update will limit your ability to show your own data to those who may be interested in your business (Facebook, 2021). A webpage titled “speak up for small business” was created to highlight the potential impact on those doing business with Facebook. Videos of business owners are posted saying the update is concerning and the limitation will reduce the ability to connect. They fear their businesses will lose revenue and customer reach. One owner says they’ve found a channel that works and now the Apple IOS 14.5 privacy change is another blow following the impact of the Covid-19 impact on their business. Targeted advertising in today’s social media-connected world provides a massive customer reach potential. Facebook goes on to say that the update will “harm the growth of businesses and the free internet”, eventually disrupting their $86 billion dollars annual revenue. Does this update really carry the ability to stunt the growth of small businesses and even threaten the free internet? One thing is for certain: Facebook does not like the new update and is quite displeased with Apple.

targeted advertising by business sector
Source: Deloitte survey analysis
Targeted ads harvest the data and internet usage of users and track their movements across the web. Privacy has been a hot topic in recent history as tech giants like Facebook and Google take advantage of loose policies to sling data around for profit. They stand behind their commitment to small businesses. There’s no denying Facebook’s ability to reach millions of people and the dependency that small businesses across the United States have on them. With Apple IOS 14.5 causing such a stir, it’s impossible to think if this is just the beginning of major changes and regulations involving users’ privacy on the internet. Regulations have been the topic of discussion for years as technology continues to advance rapidly. Apple CEO Tim Cook encourages a United States privacy law to take action and believes “privacy is a fundamental human right” through four fundamental key points:

  1. Reducing the amount of collected data
  2. Inform users what data is being collected
  3. Allowing users the right to edit & delete the data
  4. Secure data storage (contrary to Facebook’s known history of mishandled data, such as this recent breach)
Facebook and Apple are two of the largest tech giants in the world, with two wildly different business models. Apple makes money off phones and computers, while Facebook collects advertising revenue. Cook has criticized social media companies for performing surveillance activities on their users that should make us all uncomfortable.

2. Small Business Depends on Facebook

small business and apple update
Creating awareness among users on Facebook has been a climbing trend even prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its lasting effects on small business in the United States has been huge and continues through 2021. Facebook generated $69.7 billion dollars in ad revenue during 2019 (Iyengar, 2020). Many users are hesitant with using Facebook for social purposes and running ads on their platform. Many small businesses rely on the reach potential they have with FB, so although many may dislike and not approve of using the platform, they depend on them. That dependency is being highlighted on Facebook’s response campaign stating this update will make it more difficult for small business to reach their potential customers. This affects their ability to compete with larger companies (Facebook, 2021).

3. Alternative Marketing Solutions

alternative marketing to facebook apple ios 14.5
The fact that many small businesses depend on Facebook and many other social media company’s reach and targeted advertising has made privacy a complex issue. The center of the controversy surrounds the control that users have over their data. Facebook, Google, and other tech giants have mishandled this information time after time, and no matter if the results drive customers to small businesses, it raises an ethical concern. If a small business relies on Facebook and targeted ads, why can’t users have more control over the data? Why is Facebook responding so late to this realization? Billions of dollars of ad revenue is at stake. Apple has always been the innovating leader in the tech industry, starting with its feud with Microsoft. They never focused on being better than Microsoft. Instead, Apple takes the lead and the road less traveled. Innovation starts down a dark road – the iPod, iPhone, and MAC were always the centers of breakthrough products and technology, never caring to please the pockets of the industry. The money follows ethical practices and sincere business dealings. This, like many of Apple’s innovations, will spark a change in the world of social media and privacy. Apple won’t back down, so this is only the beginning of the end of disruption marketing being the majority of advertising. Data will become more and more protected, while marketers and small businesses will be forced to identify alternative solutions.

If Facebook continues to exploit and mishandle the data of their users (and not just Facebook), what will be the consequences? More breaches, more data lost to the black hole, and more trust lost with the free internet and the consumer. Facebook makes money from advertising but rides the line of ignoring the law and raising ethical concerns. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth (founder and CEO of Facebook) increased by over $20 million in 2020. More small businesses increased ad spend with Facebook, and more data was mishandled and poorly secured.

Brand Story Telling

brand story telling
With disruption marketing and exploited data through third-party channels, the future of small business ad spend could experience a devastating blow. The manner in which Facebook responded is insightful enough to know Apple’s IOS 14.5 update is worrying the tech giant. The best way to get the attention of an organization of its magnitude is to go after the bottom line. The more Apple users choose no for tracking and the advertising ID, the more money is lost. Now, what do we do as marketers and small business owners? Panic, or seek a solution? At the very core of change is opportunity. The market has started shifting towards a connection-based marketing requirement and is slowly moving away from custom advertising that follows users across the web. Seeking a connection with potential customers is where the opportunity lies. Content marketing and brand storytelling.

Content Marketing

content marketing
Content marketing is an opportunity to create great content on a consistent basis that informs customers of your brand. The more videos, blog posts, social media updates, responding to comments, and email campaigns the greater reach you’ll have. A deeper connection can be made through content, and when supplemented, not led by, targeted ads can create meaningful and lasting relations that make emotional connections with customers and your brand.

roberts consulting marketing leadership business
 Ronnie Lee Roberts II is a brand and marketing super fan and owner & operator of Roberts Consulting Firm. He writes about marketing, leadership, and business.


Deloitte LLP. 2020. Digital Tools in Crises 7 Recovery. Retrieved

Facebook. 2021. How Apple’s Changes May Significantly Limit Your Marketing Efforts. Retrieved from

Iyengar, R. 2020. Here’s how big Facebook’s ad business really is. Retrieved from

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