Facebook Digs Deeper Into Commerce To Navigate Apple's Privacy Changes

In the wake of Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) rollout in iOS 14.5 this week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg continued to make the case that personalized advertising is good for people and business.

On the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call Wednesday, she said it’s important to explain how it works, so people realize that personalized ads can be privacy-protective.

Sandberg talked about the challenges coming to personalized advertising and the steps Facebook is taking to prepare, such as working with customers to implement Apple’s API and its own Aggregated Events Measurement API to mitigate the impact of the iOS 14.5 changes.

“We’re rebuilding meaningful elements of our ad tech so our system continues to perform when we have access to less data in the future,” she said. “And we’re part of long-term collaborations with industry bodies like the W3C on initiatives like privacy-enhancing technologies that provide personalized experiences while limiting access to people’s information.”



Personalized experiences require communication and ecommerce. Facebook wants to facilitate more sales of products and services through its apps to reduce its reliance on Apple.

Online shopping and ways for businesses to communicate with consumers will become important to the expansion of its advertising business. If Facebook can sell more products through its apps it will be less reliant on Apple.

Moving deeper into commerce will give Facebook the data it needs to continue with personalized ads. For example, a Yoga studio in Detroit might not afford to advertise to everyone in Detroit, but it can advertise to a targeted number of users.

Commerce also includes the cryptocurrency Diem, and the connected wallet Novi aims to make it easier to send, spend, and receive digital payments in Messenger, WhatsApp and the Novi app.

Facebook Novi is for the Diem payment system and uses blockchain technology. Both are expected to launch this year.

Facebook realizes the road to a full-featured commerce platform across Facebook’s services is a multi-year journey for the more than 2.7 billion people using one or more of Facebook’s apps daily, and more than 200 million businesses that use its tools to reach customers.

Commerce ads continue to drive a “meaningful amount of our overall business,” per Facebook. The company built Marketplace into a service where people can buy and sell products, and today more than 1 billion people visit Marketplace monthly.

Facebook also launched Shops last year. There are now more than 1 million monthly active Shops and more than 250 million monthly Shops visitors.

Facebook is investing in building the future of commerce, in part, so the impact of other companies like Apple will be manageable.

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