At Apple WWDC, advertisers expect less data from iPhones
If an advertiser can link its own ID to a particular device, it can continue to target ads. Apple has a policy against fingerprinting, but there is no real way to implement it, according to tech marketing experts. Private Relay can act as that implementation, truncating the data at the source, because it stores IP addresses — like a virtual private network — which are strings of code that identify a person’s device and network.
Marketers are concerned that Private Relay could apply to almost all traffic coming from iPhones; not just traffic to websites, but traffic to apps, too, according to Ari Paparo, CEO of Marketecture Media, a new ad tech vendor review site. “Turning it on for everyone by default,” Paparo says, “makes IP addresses useless for advertising purposes, and they’re widely used today.”
Private Relay was launched last year, but it’s reserved for iCloud subscribers, making those users ’IP addresses private when they visit Safari websites. Publishers say more and more traffic is coming from people using Private Relay. Anonymity lowers demand from advertisers because they can’t accurately target ads to those visitors.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a huge amount of traffic, but we’re seeing an increase in users running that Private Relay,” said Eric Hochberger, CEO of Mediavine, an ad management platform that works with publishers. “That’s the end of a lot of fingerprinting, a lot of household matching, and it will put an end to a lot of things that advertisers trust.”
What’s in store
Apple is set to unveil iOS 16 at WWDC, where it will introduce changes to Private Relay. Apple has been using software updates to block tracking for years, starting in 2017 with Intelligent Tracking Prevention in iOS 11. Tracking prevention removes third-party cookies in Safari, which is the easiest way of dropping a tag into a web visitor’s browser to target and measure ads.
Then, in iOS 14.5, Apple finally introduced App Tracking Transparency, which extended anti-tracking to apps, cutting developers off the Apple Identifier for Advertisers, unless an app received a direct permission from consumers to monitor them. Apple is partly credited with starting the crusade against surveillance. That effort has spread, and Google is working on similar policies that could obfuscate signals in the Chrome web browser, when Google closes cookies next year, and hide data from Android devices. .
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These changes are boosting the mobile marketing ecosystem, making it harder for even the largest internet ad companies, such as Meta, Snap, Twitter and TikTok, to make money from their apps. Meta, which earned $ 115 billion from advertising in 2021, spoke about how Apple’s policy changes have created a bad environment for its business, and it characterizes Apple’s control over its ecosystem. as anti-competitive. Apple’s privacy changes have led to major changes in how internet ad companies target and measure ads.
If there is no sharp data signal, apps will need to use more aggregated forms of data, rather than information that can be attributed to an individual, to measure results such as “conversions,” which when a consumer takes an action on an ad, such as downloading an app or purchasing a product. Meta, Google, Snap and others have had to come up with new ways of measuring “conversions” by calculating results using anonymous data sets. However, the system is not perfect, and this leads many marketers towards confusion about what works and what doesn’t in their ad strategies.
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Meanwhile, Apple has stepped up advertising in a bigger way, filling in the void data it has created. Apple has a measurement platform called SKAdNetwork, which apps use to extract some data from iPhones to track ad performance. Apple also makes its own ad products, specifically search advertising. Apple helps app developers place ads when consumers browse the App Store, showing ads in results similar to how Google and Amazon return ads to their properties on search. Critics of Apple have even accused the company of using privacy concerns to benefit its own advertising ambitions.
Apple hasn’t disclosed how big its ad business is, but a recent report from Toni Sacconaghi, a Bernstein analyst, estimates Apple’s ad revenue will grow from $ 300 million in 2017 to $ 4 billion in 2021. That’s it is only 2% of Apple’s total annual revenue, which comes mostly from device sales and service.