Apple and Google’s Privacy Changes Are a Huge Benefit for the Creator Economy
Earlier this year, Apple announced sweeping changes to their privacy policies, which sent shockwaves through the online advertising world. Beginning with iOS 14.5, which was released in April, Apple implemented Ad Tracking Transparency (ATT), a feature that requires apps that wish to track users for advertising purposes to ask for their permission first. Google has taken baby steps in the same direction with their Android OS and took a big step by moving to phase out tracking cookies. Privacy laws like California’s CCPA are discouraging the gathering of tracking data, too.
It’s hard to overstate how big a deal these changes are for the world of online advertising. Advertisers have grown accustomed to gathering data on basically everything you do online, including the specifics of nearly every purchase you make, every site you visit, and much more, in order to serve you targeted ads. According to Sav Khetan, Vice President of Product at data company Tealium, “brands should see Google’s update as a warning sign." The old model of gathering tons of data — often without users' knowledge — and then leveraging it to sell them things is dying.
That will mean massive changes to the business models of many advertising-driven companies and lots of disruption to the basic fabric of how the Internet runs. But one group stands to benefit tremendously from the move away from data-driven advertising: creators and influencers.
Even before Google and Apple’s changes, influencer marketing was growing exponentially. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the industry grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to a projected $13.8 billion in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic and a massive increase in online shopping were major factors. In a May 2021 report on what it dubbed the “Creator Economy,” the Economist said that a new “creator middle class" is rapidly emerging, fueled by increasing competition for content and a shift towards subscription models.
I’ve seen the shift happen firsthand. I’m a YouTuber, Amazon Influencer, and a creator on multiple additional platforms, and over the last year I’ve seen a massive increase in the number of brands reaching out to me and offering collaborations…