Apple has always been a leader in digital-age technology, often making controversial design decisions and introducing features to which the rest of the world adapts. The iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard, for example, met a skeptical reception at first, but users grew accustomed to it, and now it’s a staple feature for most mobile devices.
So when Apple introduces a new user-friendly feature that takes value away from advertisers, the latter have to wonder: Is this really the best path forward? Is this going to benefit everyone in the long run, or is it a misguided attempt to improve user experience at the cost of advertising potential?
That’s exactly the scenario with Apple’s latest software update, iOS10, which has introduced a new limitation for ad tracking that has advertisers scrambling everywhere.
Limit Ad Tracking in a Nutshell
To get started, you first have to understand what limit ad tracking (LAT) is. Here’s a brief description. Ever since iOS 6, which came out in 2012, users have had the ability to opt out of interest-based advertising.
By accessing the settings in their device, whether it’s an iPad, an iPhone, or anything else that runs the software, users could flip a switch and immediately turn off any ads that are presented to him or her based on criteria such as search history, previous behavior, or previous purchases. Users who enabled this feature would still see the same number of ads, but the content would be more randomized (and therefore, less relevant).
LAT was a slight blow to advertisers, who could no longer reach certain relevant audiences with richer, more detailed user information, although some information was still available to them. Vendors and advertisers could still gain access to device IDs, for a number of different functions:
These were extremely helpful features, but the latest update has put them all in jeopardy.
The Latest Update
As a result of the latest update, iOS10, any user who activates the LAT feature will now have their device ID replaced by hashed identifiers—a string of zeroes—that blocks them completely from being tracked by advertisers or vendors. This is problematic, because any user who has already opted out of interest-based advertising will now become essentially invisible to tracking via the device ID, and that renders all the above benefits inaccessible.
Just How Far Does the Problem Go?
Before you grow concerned that your advertising campaign isn’t going to be effective anymore, let’s take a step back and look rationally at the problem. How deep does it really go? What effects is it really going to have?
Alternatives and Workarounds
What alternatives or workarounds are available currently? How can vendors and advertisers start to compensate for this latest change?
If you’re interested in getting more out of your advertising campaign, or simply learning more about the alternative options available to you now that iOS10 is out, contact us at Verta Media. We’ll help you find the advertising solutions you need to remain effective in the digital age.
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