Apple iOS 11 rolls out today with one feature, in particular, that has marketers in an uproar. The latest operating system, Apple iOS 11 includes a new feature in the Safari browser that restricts ad-tracking. What some are calling a positive step for privacy, others are calling a sabotage on the economic model for the Internet.
Apple iOS 11

What is Ad Tracking?

Whenever you visit a website your browsing history and data are stored in cookies. Every time you return to the same URL, this information is sent to the server which detects that you have returned to the page. Online advertisers use this information to gauge where website visitors are in the purchasing process and better market to potential customers as they are browsing elsewhere on the web.

The Argument for Privacy

The thing about privacy is that we never really know how much of it we have. It’s great to see brands like Google who’s making SSL Certificates a requirement for E-Commerce and Apple doing their part to make privacy on the Internet a transparent issue. No one likes the idea of brands having access to so much of their personal browsing data, which is what Apple’s Intelligent Tracking prevents. Apple is right to put an aim on privacy, however, they may not have considered the implication this would have on online shopping and advertising in the digital era.

Out of Sight out of Mind

As the saying goes, without retargeting ads brands are going to have find new ways to stay at the forefront of their customer’s minds. I think everyone can agree with the fact that brands need to understand that ad-tracking can come off as creepy digital stalking behavior, and find the balance between being helpful and annoying. If you search for a car online and then car ads follow you everywhere you go, yes it can be annoying, but it can also be helpful.

The goal of retargeting ads is to take a potential customer who has shown interest in your brand and product (by visiting your website) and convert them into a paying customer (many times by following you around on the web in ads and offering you a sweet deal). After all, there are worse things in life than being surrounded by the content you’ve shown interest in.

retargeting ad cycle

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This Apple iOS 11 update is one of the largest yet and includes some really awesome features for tech users to get excited about, but overall we feel as though the Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari will do less in the grand scheme of privacy and more harm in preventing brands from placing ads in front of the eyes interested in them and personalizing the customer experience.

Earlier this week, six advertising trade groups (including the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Association of Advertising Agencies) released an open letter criticizing Apple’s strategy.

What do you think, is ad-supported online content and services something consumers appreciate or is Apple taking the right step forward in the name of privacy?