Snap, crackle and drop: Apple's ad tracking rules strike again

“Apple iOS ad changes played out worse than virtually anyone had expected” -- JMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth

From Reuters' "Snap tumbles, drags social media giants on Apple privacy tweak worries" posted Friday:

Shares of Snap Inc plunged on Friday, dragging down other ad-dependent tech firms, after the photo messaging app owner warned of a prolonged hit from Apple Inc’s privacy changes on iOS devices.

Snap shares were down nearly 20% at $60.8 before the bell, on track to open at a near three-month low. Shares of Facebook, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Twitter were down between 2% and 4%.

Apple’s privacy updates, which were rolled out in June and July, prevent advertisers from tracking iPhone users without their consent. As a result, advertisers ended up spending much less than expected as the tweaks make it difficult to measure and manage their ad campaigns.

More than 10 analysts who cover Snap’s stock cut their price target by at least $4 and as high as $25, with many warning the impact of Apple’s move would linger till next year as Snap rolls out tools of its own to attract advertisers.

“Apple iOS ad changes played out worse than virtually anyone had expected in Snap’s Q4 outlook,” Doug Anmuth, a J.P. Morgan analyst said in a note.

My take: Tim Cook casts a long shadow on the ad-supported Internet..


  1. Gary Morton said:
    If consumers loved their targeted ads and wanted more of them, they could have opted in. Everyone seems to love that Google and Facebook are “free”. Nonetheless, like many government programs that claim to be “free”, there is always a cost borne somewhere behind the scenes. In a totally efficient, open market, Snapchat, Google, Facebook, etc. could be honest up-front and simply say that if you want their service for free, you have to agree to be tracked across the internet. Instead these firms are likely to find other means to track you and get back what they have lost from Apple calling them out. Make no mistake, these other means will invade your privacy again.

    How many would have opted out if they then had to turn around and pay for their social and search usage? I for one would, but I am also happy to pay for my membership in PED’s Apple 3.0.

    October 22, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      Of course, the real problem is not the public facing companies like Snap, Facebook and Google. It’s all the companies behind the scenes, who you have never heard of, that make markets out of your data.

      October 22, 2021
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Like Cambridge Analytics. Who says 2016’s election results weren’t influenced by foreign forces.

        October 22, 2021
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Gary: People like “free” and choose to turn a blind eye to the cost. I view it similar to music piracy with the exception it’s legal and people line up to be fleeced. As you suggest, “free” isn’t really free. Through the implementation of the company’s ATT policies, Apple is safeguarding the privacy of its customers. Everything has a cost. Advertisers are realizing without the ability to violate the privacy of consumers, their ad dollars have less value. The Street is suggesting without the ability to violate the privacy of consumers, the platforms have less value. As a result of Apple’s actions, there will be some privacy safeguards. Apple is doing what should be done and without the need for government regulation. Apple’s private sector solution is better.

      October 22, 2021
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    I laugh my butt off whenever I hear a politician decrying Apple’s pricing practices as being anti-trust violations, then do nothing to stem Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap, Match et al from gathering consumer data and selling to firms we’ve never heard of before.

    The Vestagers and Warrens should be thankful somebody is willing to do their job, even if they themselves aren’t.

    I can’t wait for Apple to solve robocalls. Vestager and Warren won’t. I’ve got almost 900 phone numbers blocked, and still get 1 or 2, sometimes 3, a week.

    October 22, 2021
    • Steven Philips said:
      I suspect that congressional “privacy” “advocates” won’t see this as “safeguarding the privacy of its customers” as much as another reflection that Apple has too much power and must be regulated before they inflict more damage on these companies!

      October 22, 2021
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ Steven Philips —

        Add that to the innumerable misreads concerning Apple AND AAPL.

        October 22, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      upvoted, but i’m crying, not laughing.

      The concept of responsibility for public safety goes back to England, mid 19th century with a successful suit about having an “attractive nuisance”. From Wikipedia

      “Lynch v. Nurdin in 1841. In that case, an opinion by Lord Chief Justice Thomas Denman held that the owner of a cart left unattended on the street could be held liable for injuries to a child who climbed onto the cart and fell.”

      In US, this was applied to railroads, the original monopoly.

      October 22, 2021
  3. Greg Lippert said:
    Could FB launch a program of paying for Ad free service? FB Prime anyone?

    October 23, 2021
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Could FB launch a program of paying for Ad free service? FB Prime anyone?

    It is much easier to lower prices than it is to raise them, much easier.

    I think an Apple social site that doesn’t track users would be highly attractive to 1B (and growing) users. Instead of forcing using to opt out of tracking Apple could structure permissions that default out, making it necessary for users to opt IN. Apple may not make much on the opt IN advertising revenue, but tracking rules would be clear for both users and advertisers. How long before a service like that sucked the oxygen out of Facebooks ecosystem?

    October 23, 2021
  5. David Emery said:
    ““Apple iOS ad changes played out worse than virtually anyone had expected” ” Worse for whom, exactly? Apparently NOT WORSE for those who opted out!

    October 25, 2021

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