Apple Squeezes eCommerce

Apple shakes up eCommerce payments. Facebook gets back to the basics. And could social commerce finally be catching on?

Apple hosted its annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, with a lot of news that impacts online retailers. Additionally, the ad tech industry continues to make significant strides toward a post-iOS 14.5 future.

📰 The News You Missed

Facebook is getting back to the

Facebook is in the early stages of developing a product that wouldn’t rely on any anonymized personal info from users, two ad buyers from different ad agencies told Insider. “Basic ads,” as Facebook engineers have been calling it, is aimed at brand advertisers that are trying to build awareness and shape perception of products. One of the buyers, who are known to Insider but spoke anonymously to preserve their relationship with Facebook, said it would be measured by basic metrics including engagement and video views. // via

Notably, engagement and video views are on-platform metrics, allowing Facebook to track the whole, severely reduced funnel.

Social commerce "soars" as 61% of those 25-34 buy on social media

Only 39% of all US consumers have purchased through social commerce - not exactly impressive when you consider 82% of consumers have social accounts.

Perhaps this demo represents a wave to come. But in the meantime, I found the objections interesting:

While consumers are increasingly curious about social commerce, barriers such as data security and shipping hold some back from participating. Two in five (38%) consumers say they haven’t made a purchase directly on a social media platform due to the lack of trust in the security of their payment information, while 23% say it’s because they are worried they will never receive their purchase. This signals that education on social commerce is still needed. // via

Apple announces a BNPL service now, will launch later

As borrowing gets more expensive, Apple is looking to make it easier for consumers to make purchases in the short term. The tech giant is stepping into lending to its iPhone users with its own “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) feature called Apple Pay Later.

The new feature is expected to launch in September, with the release of iOS 16, and allows borrowers to pay for items in four installments over the course of six weeks with zero interest and zero fees. // via

Apple Pay delivers new package tracking features

With ‌iOS 16‌, Apple is building a tracker directly within the Wallet app for ‌Apple Pay‌ transactions. The new integration with Wallet will let merchants and couriers provide users with precise tracking information and notification.

Apple says Apple Wallet order tracking will be available from millions of merchants through e-commerce platforms, starting with Shopify and expanding over time. // via

Both the BNPL & package tracker services are one big shot across the bow of Shopify's Shop App, which offers both order tracking and BNPL features through Shop Pay. For this reason, it is striking that Apple's new service is launching with Shopify as the headlining partner. 🤔

Apple to Ad Tech: "Fingerprinting is never allowed"

It was generally anticipated that Apple would address the practice of fingerprinting at this year’s WWDC, and on Thursday, in a session titled, Explore App Tracking Transparency, it did. The presentation is just under 14 minutes long and starts with an examination of Apple’s justifications for introducing its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy policy, as well as background on the concept of “tracking” as is defined for the purposes of ATT. Apple makes the point early in the video that no identifier — including a user’s email address — may be co-mingled with third-party data in cases where the user has opted out of tracking through the ATT prompt.

Later in the video, Apple makes two additional points that are germane to ongoing developments in the mobile advertising ecosystem. The first is that leaking user data out of an app to a third party is considered a violation of ATT even if the resultant performance reporting shared with either an advertiser or a publisher is aggregated. This clarification seems to be directed at various solutions being explored by ad tech vendors and ad platforms alike that ingest user-level data from partners but only surface back to them aggregated, campaign-level performance data.

The second point is more consequential, and it is made at the outset of the final segment of the video: Fingerprinting is Never Allowed. The video defines fingerprinting, rather broadly, as “using signals from the device to try to identify the device or user.” This is an all-encompassing interpretation that ignores any distinction between use cases, such as attributing an install versus attributing purchases, and operational implementations, such as with probabilistic methods. Apple’s edict here is straightforward and unequivocal: fingerprinting, even when a user has opted in via the ATT prompt, is in violation of ATT guidelines. // via

For those brands searching for third-party workarounds to Apple's ATT guidelines, your future is bleak.

Quick Hits 🥊

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Tactics is what you do when there is something to do; strategy is what you do when there is nothing to do.

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