Google deals ‘another body blow’ to Meta, potentially costing Zuckerberg billions in digital ad revenue

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February has not been a good month for Facebook’s Meta, and Google has just made it worse.

The Big Tech behemoth announced Wednesday that it would restrict cross-app tracking on mobile devices that run on Google’s Android operating system. The announcement followed a similar move by Apple, which gave iPhone users the option of opting out of the practice last year.

Apple’s privacy changes resulted in what Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives characterized as a “black eye quarter” for Meta.

“It’s a dark chapter quarter at a time when the bulls need to see good news,” Ives told the New York Post after an earnings call that sent Meta stocks tumbling a staggering 26.4%.

Meta estimates the move by Apple, which reduces the effectiveness of Facebook and Instagram ads, would likely cost Meta a staggering $10 billion in revenue in 2022.

And now, Google is doing the same.

“This is another body blow for Facebook,” Ives told the Post. “Google and Apple are together taking down Facebook in a way the Beltway could only dream of.”

Cross-app tracking is both a convenience and a conspiracy, depending on who you ask.

If you’ve ever purchased an item on one website, only to have it or a related product advertised to you on Facebook or Instagram, then you’ve seen how effective the practice can be. For businesses, it means their advertising budgets stretch farther, as ads are directed at those who have already demonstrated an interest in what they are selling.

Remove that ability, and advertisers may take their dollars elsewhere — a sobering thought for Meta which depends greatly on its digital ad revenue, as Mark Zuckerberg continues to spend billions developing metaverse-related products, such as virtual goggles.

For Google’s vice president of Android product management, Anthony Chavez, user privacy must guide the evolution of digital advertising.

In a blog post announcing Android’s new “Privacy Sandbox,” Chavez said that “in order to ensure a healthy app ecosystem — benefitting users, developers and businesses — the industry must continue to evolve how digital advertising works to improve user privacy,” adding that the Privacy Sandbox will provide “a clear path forward to improve user privacy without putting access to free content and services at risk.”

In a tweeted official Meta response to Google’s announcement, Facebook’s vice president of ads and business product marketing Graham Mudd called Google’s news “encouraging,” stating Meta plans to work with the giant on their efforts.

“Encouraging to see this long-term, collaborative approach to privacy-protective personalized advertising from Google,” Mudd tweeted. “We look forward to continued work with them and the industry on privacy-enhancing tech through industry groups.”

But one must wonder, given the early reactions of potential Meta users, if the behind-the-scenes statements are quite so… “encouraging.”

Good,” “pocket change,” and a celebratory “Down in FLAMES!!!!” in response to Zuckerberg potentially losing billions can not be at all encouraging to the flailing Meta as it continues in its struggle to reimagine the way we interact — and spend — online.



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