Apple takes aim at adtech hysteria over iOS app tracking change
At the beginning of last week, Apple used an appearance before EU privacy regulators (supported by an interview with The Telegraph) to make a new round of thinly-veiled jabs at the adtech industry.
WhatsApp goes after Apple over new privacy label requirements
A day or two later, WhatsApp — a.k.a., Facebook — publicly protested that Apple’s new privacy nutrition labels (more on these below) are anti-competitive.
Mozilla Foundation - Apple’s anti-tracking plans for iPhone
Trying desperately to stay relevant (Firefox has around 0.5% market share on mobile), Mozilla is publicly declaring their views with a petition to ‘let Apple know consumers are eagerly anticipating anti-tracking protection on iPhone’.
This came out on Tuesday, so perhaps they heard a whisper of what Facebook was planning for the week and decided to get in front of the train.
Facebook criticizes Apple’s iOS privacy changes with full-page newspaper ads
Then, on Wednesday morning, Facebook went for it with a series of tier-one newspaper ads (isn’t it ironic that newspapers were the medium of choice for this?), followed up by a second set of newspaper ads the following day.
Speak Up For Small Business: Impact Of Apple’s Latest Update
Here’s Facebook’s new information portal, sharing stories sourced almost exclusively from non-tech small businesses.
This in itself is actually quite interesting — we’ve heard plenty so far about how Apple’s move will affect the mobile industry, but here is the first push to highlight broader impact via an increase in costs for non-app ads.
Key takeaways from Facebook’s major iOS 14 updates today
In parallel with the big PR blitz, Facebook simultaneously announced a slew of iOS 14 implementation details, including one particularly significant change in direction: contrary to their earlier decision, Facebook will show the
AppTrackingTransparency prompt to collect IDFAs.
Singular has this useful summary of the other dev-related updates.
Apple defends upcoming privacy changes as ‘standing up for our users’
Apple responded later on Wednesday with a statement reiterating their stance, and then Tim Cook tweeted essentially the same message on Thursday evening.
One interesting note: the example of the
AppTrackingTransparency modal in these statements is subtly different from those shown back at WWDC: instead of a button saying Allow App to Track, it now says just Allow.
How to Think of App Ideas
Zach’s blog is quickly becoming one of my favorite weekly reads. In this post, he walks us through the process of finding a problem worth solving with an app in the first place, and then using simple tools to validate it.
Honestly, we’ve probably all heard most of this before, but there’s a lot of good advice here that can be generalized to pretty much any sort of personal or professional project.
Privacy & Security
App Privacy Details - App Store - Apple Developer
As hinted in the WhatsApp link above, Apple’s new iOS privacy nutrition labels are now enabled as of December 8. This means there’s a new info panel on all App Store download pages, and people are starting to notice.
Problem is, many of these categories are so broad that a typical user can struggle to understand what they mean.
For example: one of the options an app can report is that it tracks ‘Search History’. According to Apple’s definition, that means
Information about searches performed in the app. But many people I’ve talked to automatically assume this means your entire search history (including web searches in Safari).
And that’s the crux of this issue: the only way to truly quantify something is (ironically, given the situation) to collect data on it…which is what these new labels do. They provide data about data collection. This transparency is an objectively good goal, but it relies on individual humans (app developers) each independently using unclear guidance from Apple as a rubric to interpret a lot of very nuanced implementation details. In other words, it’s very subjective.
Apple then takes all that subjective aggregation and shoehorns it into a set of categories that are presented as cut-and-dried, true/false data. Which it isn’t.
Even IF these categorizations were intuitive to end users, it seems like the current implementation leads by default to a worst-case interpretation by end users. Hopefully we’ll all get a better picture about the expected norms as Apple refines the process after this initial rollout.
Tips & Techniques
How App Clips could help fashion brands
I listed some App Clip examples back in October, but many of them were still barely more than early proofs-of-concept.
Now we’re starting to see real-world App Clips showing up in fashion apps. This article shows how The Yes uses them to share personalized wish lists that support Apple Pay purchases without requiring an install or download.
Small animations; big impact
This is a fairly basic study, but sometimes those are the best kind!
In short, a few thoughtful animations can really help UX in mobile apps. In this case, the author identified opportunities for some rather dramatic improvements in user task completion rate via a few simple animated transitions.
(And yes, the article includes the animated examples if you want to see them for yourself.)
Comparing US data with the rest of the world, Black Friday and Cyber Monday clearly have global reach. We can also see the effect of Singles' Day (11/11), especially on worldwide trends.
The Stickiest, Most Addictive, Most Engaging, and Fastest-Growing Social Apps—and How to Measure Them
Here is a deeeeep dive on recent social app performance metrics, and not just the usual social media suspects; this includes almost any app category that incorporates social components, which means health (Strava), shopping (Poshmark), dating (Tinder), gaming (Among Us), ‘professional’ (Slack, though don’t ask me why Quora is in this grouping too), and more.
“Santa” would like to…
…see you when you’re sleeping
Mr. Claus doesn’t need IDFAs or SKAdNetwork — he gets a permissions prompt all of his own!
Chief Marketing Officer @ White Castle: Lynn Blashford
A Century Old Company With A Growth Mindset
Lynn Blashford, CMO of White Castle, has risen the ranks during her 10 years at the company. White Castle, known for pioneering the fast food industry, turns 100 years old in 2021 and operates with a long term vision which runs counter to today’s hypergrowth and short-term gains environment. Maybe unsurprisingly, this mindset has allowed them to weather the storm of 2020 both by taking care of their employees as well as how they’ve strategically diversified the business.
White Castle was one of the first non-pizza companies to roll out online ordering and was the first fast food chain to adopt the vegan Impossible Slyder in the nation.
Beyond just the bottom line, Lynn spoke about how the private nature of the company allows them to take care of their people and the communities they serve. One of the beautiful stories she shares is how healthcare workers could eat for free when the pandemic lockdowns began.
Hear more about how White Castle has adapted to the many challenges of 2020, Lynn’s advice for her younger self, and of course, Lynn’s behind-the-scenes story of how the film “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” came to be, all on this episode of How I Grew This.
Mobile Growth Awards Gala — North America
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 12:00 PM (PST)
Mobile Growth Awards Gala — EMEA and APAC
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 9:00 AM (GMT)
The front lines of the IDFA Apocalypse were relatively quiet for the last few months.
...until Wednesday morning, December 16. Facebook and Apple have been sniping at each other about iOS 14-related topics ever since WWDC, but this week is a whole new level.
Clearly, many of us are getting tired of living with a hammer dangling overhead, so let’s put all this in perspective for a moment: whatever your personal views on the latest machinations by Apple and Facebook, as an app developer or growth marketer, the best path forward hasn't changed. Be the owner of your own destiny. Know your metrics, understand the quality of your data (really understand it…not just what you hear in a vendor soundbite), diversify your marketing channels, and partner with companies you trust whose success criteria are aligned with yours.Alex Bauer