Adam Boote, director of Digital and Growth at Australian firm Localsearch, said in a statement that the latest iOS update would be "another whack" for small and medium-sized businesses which were running their own Facebook Ads.
"It essentially means Facebook can't get access to certain user data until the user approves for them to do so, which impacts targeting, and ultimately could drive lower returns on social advertising investment," said Boote whose company claims to support 28,000 businesses over the last 28 years.
The iOS changes were announced by Apple on 8 April, with the company saying that it would enforce new privacy notifications in version 14.5.
Regarding the new features, Apple said: "Starting in early 2021, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or later will require developers to get your permission before tracking your activity across other companies’ apps and websites for ads or data brokers."
The decision to introduce this feature was announced in June 2020, but Apple then said in September that it would delay the introduction to give digital advertisers time to adjust.
Said Boote: "Facebook is a business that needs money flowing in to keep operating. And the advertisers are those who allow the Facebook app to remain free for the general public to share thoughts, photos, and connect with family and friends.
"If businesses start to see fewer results at an increased cost from their Facebook Ads, they're either going to turn to professional agencies for help or stop using the platform entirely – and the less people who use the ad platform for advertising, the less revenue will go to Facebook."
He said the result of this would be that the price of advertising on social [media] would increase for small businesses. Else, he added, the day could come when consumers would need to pay for certain features on Facebook.
"Facebook's response aims to overcome the fear factor associated with data collection, but it's a tough job. We'll need to do more to convince modern audiences on how it helps everyday business owners – especially off of the back of such a difficult 2020," said Boote.
"The effects of the media bargaining code on Facebook and Google this year are an example of the instability of the digital channels we rely on, no matter how giant. There are unlimited external factors and decisions that can affect the way we – consumers, businesses and society – operate online.
"It's a knock-on effect when one tech giant or government body implements a new software or law. It's important to stay across the changes and challenges coming and how you, as a business, can overcome them and push through."