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Is the core of the ADI industry under threat from Apple?

Posted 05 May 2021 — Anyone

The Driving Instructor sector is unusually Facebook centred in its networking structure. Not all ADIs are on the social media platform by any means, but a large amount of ADI networking is on Facebook. Other industries favour LinkedIn or dedicated networking tools, but ADIs seem particularly drawn to Zuckerberg's machine. A machine that we know trades on personal data and trends to make a profit by targeted advertising. We have all seen it, one minute you are chatting to your pupil about the importance of personal hygiene. The next minute Facebook is suffering the Lynx effect or you are being told how to move with confidence! This isn't a coincidence but app tracking.

It isn't only big brands that are selling to you. Many instructors rely (in quieter times) on Facebook advertising for their marketing and pupil flow. Even those that don't pay will ensure they have a business page and use it for reviews and testimonials, as well as picking up leads from local community groups.

This week sees Apple releasing its latest update (14.5) to its iOS 14, which brings with it new features including:
Unlocking while using a mask using an Apple Watch
Accident and Hazard reporting on Apple Maps
ETA sending from Apple Maps
New Emojis
Announcing incoming phone calls
Ladies with beards...

Plus, the feature that is getting the most media attention 'Opt-in App Tracking'. This allows the user to refuse requests by default for an app or site to watch the activity across other apps and websites. It won't stop adverts, but it will result in a much more generic advert to be shown. The issue is that people are often inherently lazy and just click 'Allow'.

Why does this matter?
Firstly, it reduces Facebooks earning potential. This could result in them trying to recoup these losses in other areas. Facebook is currently warning that such a restriction could result in charging for access. (You have to wonder if that might improve the quality of posts and responses if it became pay per post!)
Secondly, It reduces the opportunity for companies - including small businesses like ours - to reach their targetted market.

Is it likely to cause a paradigm shift in online marketing and Facebook itself?
No, I don't think so. However, it could result in knock-on changes that directly affect the ADI sector and ADI businesses. It is reliance on external platforms like Facebook and an absence of our own industry base that The Driving Instructor and Trainers Collective has been formed to protect against.