Apple data privacy – If you rely on digital advertising, act fast

Ollie Richings - 06.10.2021

To summarise, if you’re a business owner or marketer and use email delivery services like MailChimp or track visitors interactions on your website through Google Analytics, and rely on the data insights they provide to measure and inform your marketing decision making, then the latest release of iOS 15 has the potential to make any visitors using Apple devices, which will likely be a lot, be wiped from your records.

Marketers were rightly concerned following the release of Apple’s iOS 14, with its ‘Ad Tracking Transparency’ features. Essentially, this allowed users to opt-out of personalised tracking on all Apple devices, drastically limiting marketers’ ability to use customer data to improve services and target messages more effectively.

However, it now seems that the 20th September release of iOS15 is doubling down on the threat of these changes, with many industry commentators suggesting Apple is intending to re-launch their own ad services.

Is iOS 15 a threat for digital marketing and analytics

The three big headlines on the iOS15 front are the introduction of IP Masking for Safari users, and the ability for Apple email users to hide their email addresses, so marketers cannot capture campaign performance metrics. Lastly, the ‘Private Relay’ encryption for iCloud could severely impact marketer’s ability to track and react to multi-device customer journeys

So what does this mean for marketers? Well, maybe nothing! A lot will depend on how many Apple users opt into the new tools within iOS15, and in turn will depend on how the tools are presented to the user by Apple. However, this ‘low impact’ scenario is probably unlikely, as the rumours gather pace of Apple relaunching their iAd platform that was mothballed in 2016, and the launch of SKAdNetwork, an iOS dedicated tracking platform.

The iOS 15 changes will likely have far-reaching consequences;

  • Behavioural targeting
  • Cross device user journey mapping
  • Geo targeting & location tagging

And it’s likely that Apple’s stance, in conjunction from pressure from national regulators will force Google and Facebook to adopt similar user privacy safeguards. All-in-all, it’s clear why Apple is looking to relaunch its ad platforms, as the whole industry shifts closer to the ‘privacy-first’ approach to user data that Apple has long held.

Is iOS 15 an Opportunity for Fast Moving Marketers?

iOS 15 is happening! So marketers have to react and fast. The only remaining question is around how long it’s going to take for Google and Facebook to start following the same approach. With this in mind, we have put together a checklist of actions

  • Capture email addresses and contact consent early in your prospect acquisition journey. This makes it easier to re-engage with them subsequently, without relying on retargeting cookies or IP lookup services.
  • Prioritise consent-based marketing; build closer ties with your customer base and open up direct communication channels through investing in your CRM
  • Identify risks: if you rely heavily on re-targeting or social media-based marketing, you may well want to start to think of alternative ways to engage the users you are reaching on these platforms. Test alternative channels, and migrate spend to where you see the opportunity
  • Do your research; review your analytics dashboards, and get a feel for your exposure to Apple based prospects. Look into, and trial the ad platforms mentioned above that Apple is launching to support its re-entry into the ad market.

Want to understand how this might impact your business?

If your brand relies on digital marketing to power its growth, you’ll need to be properly prepared for these changes to the digital marketing landscape. At Fireworx we’re here to help you prepare, if you want to chat through your options just get in touch to discuss how we can help you.

Call 01202 559 559 or email