Hey, Siri — are advertisers still tracking me?

A cookie-less future has been imminent for the past few years. We just saw IDFA changes rolled out in iOS 14 after some delays, and now Apple is shaking things up again. Just announced at WWDC, Apple will roll out features that will again force us to change our approach as marketers.


What is changing in iOS 15?

  • Mail Privacy Protection: This feature will eliminate the feedback loop for email opens and hide IP addresses, preventing the ability to tie together user journeys with other online activity and blocking location information.
  • App Privacy Reports: Users will be provided with reports that show how often an app is granted permission to data such as location, contacts and photos over the last seven days.


What else is on the horizon?

  • Intelligent Tracking Prevention: IP addresses will be hidden in Safari, and users will be able to create unique, random email addresses when filling out online forms.
  • iCloud+: For the same price as the current iCloud subscription, users will gain a new privacy feature called Private Relay. While enabled, traffic is encrypted, blocking those who normally track browsing history while using Safari.
  • Speech processing updates: Soon Siri will no longer need the internet to work. This is an attempt to block audio from leaving the device, causing us to lose some ad-tech features.
  • Apple ad network: We can anticipate Apple will continue to roll out expanded types of ad inventory, increasing the number of walled gardens we are working within.


Why is Apple doing this?

  • Apple wants to prove its commitment to transparency with users. The rollout of IDFA and the App Tracking Transparency framework hinted that this is where they would be headed. Apple has also invested in consumer marketing that highlights its privacy-first stance, educating consumers about what marketers do and how they can regain control of their data.


So what should we do?

  • Stay informed. Changes are constantly being rolled out, and impacts are being realized just as quickly.
  • Consult with trusted advisors. We are all figuring this out together from brand, technology, media and analytics perspectives.
  • Be prepared to change our approaches.
    • Media: Contextual will be taken to the next level, and we will adjust from channel strategies to device and operating system strategies quickly.
    • Analytics: We will need to be better partners to activation teams. We need to get creative in how we gather data so there is a clear value exchange with consumers.
    • Technology: Being platform agnostic will be more critical than ever, and we will need full stacks of tools to understand consumer needs and experiences.
    • Brand: This must extend beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. Each brand needs to carefully consider their promise to consumers before choosing a path forward in media and analytics.


Not all of the changes Apple is rolling out will challenge us as marketers; there are some pretty exciting features on the horizon that we can leverage.

To get up to speed about Apple’s past IDFA updates, read our article here.
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