By now, you probably heard about the current squabble between Facebook and Apple. If not, here’s the background. So, why should a battle between tech giants impact the travel industry? Well, it doesn’t directly, but it might significantly affect your marketing and further reinforce the need to own your own sandbox.
The crux of the situation is that Apple is a bit more privacy-minded than Facebook. Lest anyone forget, if there is not a cost to a product, there’s a good chance that you are the product. And with Facebook this is true. Look at anyone’s profile, activity, and timeline and you can get a pretty good picture of exactly who they are. Likes, dislikes, political leanings, and more. Now couple that with the Facebook pixel which will allow Facebook to serve you ads based on other websites you visited (let that sink in for a minute) and you begin to see how much Facebook “knows” about you. And of course, that information is sold to whoever wants to buy it in the form of ads.
Apple realized this level of intrusion could be a problem and developed their new software to specifically ask (in advance) if you want an app like Facebook tracking you. And the obvious answer from most people is a resounding “no.” This is a problem for Facebook because Apple owns 47% of the smartphone market in the US—113 million of them. With Apple cutting off tracking for close to 100 million customers, no wonder Facebook is mad. But how does this affect you?
Do you use Facebook for advertising? I do. What happens when Facebook is unable to deliver the expected results to you? And what about the cost to you. It is reasonable to assume that the cost may increase and the results may decrease, so be prepared. And remember this is not just a battle with Facebook. Twitter, Google, Instagram, TikTok, and the rest are all subject to the new Apple software; granted, they are not nearly as intrusive as Facebook. You may be looking at direct advertising online or (gasp) hardcopy. Just be aware and keep an eye on it.
I do not see Apple caving on this. They did not allow the Federal government access to the San Bernardino shooter several years ago; so I see no reason why they would capitulate to a competitor. And, Apple is earning some pretty decent goodwill from its users.
All of this comes back to owning your own sandbox. Whether it is your website, blog, or email list, when you control your data—you control it. I know many agencies that rely solely on their Facebook page. What happens if Facebook decides to charge $10/month/like to commercial pages? Not likely, but they can. What happens if they decide to shut down entirely? Less likely, but it can happen—anyone seen Friendster, Vine, or My Space lately?
There is no need to panic, but as we emerge from a pandemic, there are challenges ahead of us and the successful agencies will be looking for them and trying to mitigate any further disruption before it disrupts. This might not be a problem. It might be. Forewarned is forearmed.