“We feel like we’re well prepared for these changes and frankly because these changes are in line with our privacy philosophy, we’ve never allowed device specific targeting, for example, and we’ve always taken a very protective stance when it comes to our users’ data,” Spiegel said in a “Squawk Alley” interview. “We generally view this as a good thing overall for consumers, even if it’s a little disruptive for advertisers in the near term.”
To target mobile ads and measure how effective they are, app developers and other industry players currently often use Apple’s identifier for advertisers (IDFA), a unique string of letters and numbers on every Apple device. But once a privacy update rolls out, app makers will be forced to ask permission to access a user’s IDFA through a prompt. A significant portion of users are expected to say no, which is expected to make targeted advertising less effective.
Spiegel’s more casual nod toward the upcoming change is a dramatically different response than his Facebook peer Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook also hosts a huge online advertising business, deriving nearly all of its revenue from ads.
Facebook has repeatedly blasted Apple for the planned change since it was announced in June, and has claimed that it will hurt small businesses.
“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitor interests,” Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s earnings call last week. “We and others are going to be up against this for the foreseeable future.”
That’s not to say that Snap isn’t concerned at all. The company warned investors Thursday in its Q4 earnings report on Thursday that Apple’s changes would present a risk of interruption to demand after they’re implemented.
“The reason that we’re highlighting some of the policy changes Apple is making is that they will impact our ability to effectively measure and optimize advertising outside of Snapchat,” Spiegel said.
Snap said it has been working with Apple to prepare for the changes, and plans to provide advertisers with more opportunities to provide their products and services to Snap users directly through Snapchat.
“The reality is we admire Apple, and we believe that they are trying to do the right thing for their customers,” Snap chief business officer Jeremi Gorman said on the company’s earnings call. “Their focus on protecting privacy is aligned with our values and the way we’ve built our business from the very beginning. Overall, we feel really well prepared for these changes, but changes to this ecosystem are usually disruptive and the outcome is uncertain.”
— CNBC’s Megan Graham contributed to this report.