This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing May 24, 2021.
In a previous Byte, we covered Apple’s impending iOS 14.5 update, which would introduce a policy called App Tracking Transparency. The policy requires app developers to introduce a mandatory opt-in prompt when they want to track user activity on other apps and websites, allowing users a never before seen opt-out option for this kind of tracking.
Following the launch of this new prompt, mobile analytics firm Flurry has released some early data suggesting that, among U.S. users, as many as 96 percent of users presented with this prompt opt out of tracking.
Our Take: Turns out people have an expectation of digital privacy outside the walls of individual apps they use, and they aren’t thrilled to exchange some of that privacy to improve the app’s ability to earn targeted ad revenue (and likely remain free or inexpensive to the end user).
Will ad revenue actually suffer? Probably not meaningfully so. The potential growth rate for ad revenue? Maybe. Probably depends more on user growth than it does with targeting capabilities which require off-app tracking.
However, with Big Social beholden to shareholders to keep the stock value growing as quickly as possible, traditionally free apps that earn a disproportionate amount of their bottom line growth from ad revenue may need to look for greener pastures to drive sustained growth.
Seeing the writing on the wall with regard to the potential long-term limitations in ad revenue growth, Twitter has been building a bevy of new direct monetization opportunities in its platform at breakneck speed.
They’ve already released a Tip Jar for one-time payments to participating content creators. They’ve announced Super Follows, which will be an in-app subscription to unlock exclusive content from your favorite creators. And there’s news of a new premium, subscription-based version of Twitter with exclusive new features.
Our Take: Twitter is really smart to build new revenue models that are mutually beneficial to content creators. We’ve seen a number of startups emerge to fill this “paid content gap” left behind by traditionally free social media apps. See Patreon, Substack, Ghost, Locals, and others.
With the number of content creators monetizing their content via these platforms (and the volume of that monetization), it only makes sense for the major social platforms to offer similar use cases natively, potentially offering a level of convenience and ease that can’t be quickly matched by the upstarts.
If the content creator is compelling enough, and the ask is easy enough, the audience will go where their favorite creators are. Twitter focusing on creator-friendly opportunities for mutually beneficial, on-platform revenue is a wise choice for both revenue diversification and user growth and retention.
We’re skeptical, but hopeful that Twitter will find a similarly compelling pitch for users to go premium and pay for the forthcoming subscription-based Twitter features. That might be the case study for more of the industry to follow suit and hopefully put the data-harvesting genie at least a little bit back in the bottle.
Microsoft announced that all consumer versions of its Internet Explorer web browser will retire for good in June 2022, making way for its newer browser, Microsoft Edge, to become the company’s primary browser software.
Our Take: This was a long time coming. As far back as February of 2019, a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft took to the company’s community forum to define Internet Explorer as a “compatibility solution” rather than a true modern web browser. Ouch!
Millions of web developers around the world just shed a tear of joy at the thought of no longer having to support IE. Let’s pour one out for Internet Explorer, a long-time stalwart of the enterprise IT landscape. 🍻
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