Are you ready for a new kind of internet?

Online advertising is about to change – are you ready for a new kind of internet? Competing visions between Apple and Facebook mean we all need to ready ourselves for a slew of changes which will influence how we interact with content and primarily advertising online.

Apple has made it’s position clear. According to Tim Cook – tracking is bad, and privacy is not only important but central to how Apple makes decisions.

A good example would be Apple’s ‘Sign In with Apple’. Signing up to any web service using this functionality, means you have the option to withhold your email address thereby providing the user with some control over the data they share with that web service.

“We don’t think you should ever have to trade it [your personal data] for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances, and our homes on our devices.” –Kapersky

… but ‘Sign In with Apple’ was 2019’s news.

New kind of internet

Early in 2021, Apple plans to go further by enabling functionality already baked into iOS which notifies users when an app is attempting to access the users personal data.

Whilst this functionality doesn’t proclaim to target Facebook explicitly, Facebook would undoubtedly be materially impacted as the company requires significant amounts of users data in order to enable personalised advertising.

In January 2019, Apple stated that there were 1.4 billion active iOS devices in the world. That’s a huge install base. Facebook, suspect that when prompted, users would choose to disable the tracking which would thereby inhibit their ability to serve personalised advertising.

Consequently back in December of 2020, Facebook made a bold counterpoint by taking out full page ads in some of the most prominent newspapers in America to make their case. According to Facebook, small businesses around the world rely on their powerful targeting systems to advertise their products and services.

Are you ready for a new kind of internet

Facebook state that Apple’s position is not so much pro-privacy but rather anti small-business. Mark Zuckerberg and his team would be right to point out that millions of businesses around the world rely on Facebook advertising to reach their audience and have launched a website Speak Up For Small Business where they go into more details about the consequences of embracing Apple’s vision of internet privacy.

Whilst Apple haven’t directly responded to Facebook assertions, as part of iOS 14.3 they have launched what Apple compare to ‘nutritional labels’ for apps. Located within the AppStore, these labels lay bare the resources apps might access as a means of informing the user of how their data might be used.

Are you ready for a new kind of internet

How will this effect my business?

These are uncertain times in the advertising industry. Facebook seems to be fighting a war on two-fronts. Not only is it grappling with Apple on the topic of user data and privacy but it has also recently been sued by the FTC over anticompetitive practices.

Whilst nothing is going to change quickly, the FTC is pursuing a divestiture of both Instagram and WhatsApp. Given that the FTC approved these acquisitions, it is not clear how this situation will play out or what the outcome of this action will be.

Whilst Apple have taken a clear position on privacy, Facebook in response claim that small business is under attack from these measures. Rather than taking a view that this is Apple vs Small Business, it is probably more objective to view it in the context of Privacy vs Relevance. 

Most users have grown so accustomed to tailored advertising on the web, they may well decide that they are prepared to accept some form of tracking in order to see ads they are interested in.

In fact many Gen Y users will know nothing beyond personalised advertising and will likely get infuriated by exposure to irrelevant commercials.

Ultimately competition in the feed will be just as fierce as it has always been. Brands have forever had to reconsider what their competition is on the likes of Facebook. Creativity will remain an important currency in the effectiveness of your ads. The new landscape doesn’t mean targeted advertising will go away; removing them entirely risks doing more damage than good.

What do you think? Would you prefer more generic ads whilst maintaining your privacy or do you think Apple are being overbearing in taking this approach. For me, this is one of those situations where I can really see both sides of the argument.

To my mind, the important thing is choice. The user should be given the option to accept tracking or not; it shouldn’t be foisted upon them. For the brand itself, it’s vital to embrace creative storytelling. It’s been some tough times recently and as a consequence we need to be entertained. A smile can go a long way in making your brand more sticky.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Why You Need To Host Your Video In The Cloud

So you’ve invested time, money and effort in producing a number of videos for your business when unexpectedly you receive negative feedback because your site is either loading too slowly, or the video won’t playback properly. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever encountered this problem, it’s likely due to the video being hosted on the same server as your website rather than on a separate dedicated cloud hosting solution for video (otherwise know as an Online Video Platform OVP).

If you intend to use video on your website, you have the choice between either self-hosting your films or embedding them directly using a link or a short piece of code. 

The Issues with Self-Hosting

Self-hosting requires some technical knowledge and comes with a slew of challenges. On the flipside, to embed a video, you will need to use a third party service such as YouTube or Vimeo which then serves up your video whenever a visitor hits the play button. It’s fair to say that embedding is generally considered to be a simpler and less costly alternative to self-hosting.

Whilst there are many reasons not to host your videos yourself, the primary offender is usually the negative effects on the user experience. Due to the size of video files, content stored on the same server is far more likely to create unpleasant issues such as slow page loads, buffering or lag. 

Buffering is when your video starts to play but can’t download fast enough to remain ahead of the playhead. The result is a video which hangs. When buffering takes place users are far more likely to click away than to stick with it unfortunately.

"In 2012, content owners lost $2.16 Billion in revenue due to buffering issues."


The benefits of embedded video

YouTube and Vimeo are amongst the most widely known and commonly used cloud hosting video solutions. Other options include services such as Wistia, Buto, Brightcove and Vidyard, to name but a few. They’re all great in different ways and have slightly different applications.

So, why should you be using an online video platform:

  1. Adaptive versioning

Users are connecting to the Internet using more devices than ever and the types of connection vary wildly too. One minute you might have a visitor from a super fast fibre-optic connection, the next minute a 4G cellular connection where the quality of connection varies because the user is on the move.

What this means for those who opt to self-host is, you need to create numerous different versions of the same video for use depending on what type of device pings your server.

For example, if a laptop or desktop computer hits your website via fibre or other high speed connection, then you will most likely need a 1080p version of the video at a high enough bit rate to ensure that they see a high quality version of your film, a smaller version of the same film will be needed at a lower resolution and lower bit rate for mobile devices. Cloud hosting solutions take care of this sort of thing dynamically and on the fly.

  1. Shared Hosting and Bandwidth Issues

The majority of businesses will find their website is located on a server which is shared with other users. Because the server is shared, the web hosting companies have a responsibility to control the available bandwidth to prevent any (or all) of the sites residing on that server from going down.

Unless you’re using your own dedicated server, hosting your own videos will eat through your allocated bandwidth in no time. This is all assuming that you have enough space on your web hosting to store your videos in the first place.

  1. Web Hosting and large file sizes

Many web hosting companies impose restrictions on the size of the files which can be uploaded to their servers. It is a tactic which is designed to deter webmasters from uploading any large files which could adversely affect other users on the same server.

  1. Social

Most businesses want their films to be seen by as many people as possible. A common approach is to use email marketing and social media to increase the reach of those videos.

Cloud based solutions are well set up for this whereas driving users to your website limits your potential for discovery. In most cases the potential to go viral is seriously reduced when you host your video yourself.

  1. Security and Privacy

Many content creators are concerned with preventing their videos from being stolen. There are some creative measures available to prevent this sort of thing, such as adding your branding to the film. When you host your content locally, the location of the video is easily exposed in the site’s source code. This means it’s relatively simple for a determined individual to help themselves to your content.

Many cloud hosting solutions offer something called domain restriction. Domain restriction is helpful because it prevents your video from being published in any unsanctioned locations and also makes it very difficult for anyone looking to help themselves to your content.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk