Snap has taken Apple’s upcoming privacy update on the chin, stating that it has been collaborating with the iPhone maker to prepare for the changes and educate brands, as well as investing in more first-party data despite a likely loss of ad revenues.
Snapchat’s parent can afford to be equanimous after revenues soared 62% to $911m in the three months to December, largely on the back of a turnaround in advertising.
Snap’s ad outlook
Snap’s daily active user base now stands at 265 million, a 6% uptick on the 249 million customers the social sharing platform counted in October and 22% higher than the 218 million reported the year before.
Derek Anderson, Snapchat’s bullish chief revenue officer, expects the key metric to continue to push further into positivity, hitting 275 million in the current quarter.
A larger install base could translate to year-over-year revenue growth of between 56% and 60% in the first quarter, despite a two-week pause in brand campaigns following a mob invasion of the US Capitol on January 6.
Another fly in the ointment comes courtesy of Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes, scheduled to come into effect in March, which Anderson frets could ’present another risk of interruption to demand’ by disrupting its ability to target users.
Mulling the likely impact further down the line, Anderson sees the future with less certainty, cautioning investors that it is likely to be several months before the picture becomes clear.
Irrespective of any financial hit, Snap is wedded to Apple’s prioritization of privacy, with chief business officer Jeremi Gorman stating: ”The reality is we admire Apple, and we believe that it is trying to do the right thing for its customers.”
Far from being a passive observer, Snap has actively collaborated with Apple to prepare for the changes, having already informed its advertisers about the update and taken steps to utilize more first-party data to minimize any disruption.
Gorman concluded: ”Overall, we feel well prepared for these changes, but changes to this ecosystem are usually disruptive and the outcome is uncertain.”
Applecart upset sees opposition crumble
Apple has heralded the changes to its mobile operating system as a panacea for recent high-profile privacy cases, arguing it will hand users more control over their data.
Snap chief exec Evan Spiegel takes a similar view, stating: ”When it comes to some of the policy changes that Apple is making, we really think of them as high integrity folks and we’re happy to see them making the right decision for its customers.”
Not all are so sanguine about the changes, however, with Facebook voicing concern that the ability of advertisers to reach consumers with targeted ads will be curtailed.
Smelling a rat, Facebook accuses Apple of dressing ulterior profit motivations behind a veneer of altruism, arguing that the change will drive more apps toward in-app purchases and higher fees for Apple in turn.
With more to lose than most as one of the chief beneficiaries of a digital advertising shift in 2020, Facebook has increasingly positioned Apple in its crosshairs, worried that the need to obtain individual permission to collect or share data will undermine its ability to monetize its gargantuan user base.