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July 1, 2021

To Track or Not To Track

Bill May

To Track or Not To Track

iOS aims to protect your data, but at what cost?

While this has been a hot topic of the digital marketing arena for a bit now, no one has really addressed what this means for the end-user. Asking an app not to track you does have the end-user benefit of not sharing your browsing habits, personal data, and interests with other digital properties, but in my opinion, there is a drawback—ads are now completely random and have nothing to do with my personal interests. It almost feels like we’ve taken a step backward to the TV commercial era when viewer targeting was very generalized and most of the ads seen had nothing to do with any of my interests. For me, if I am going to see ads anyway, I would much rather opt-in to tracking and see products and services which truly interest me.

Another result of Apple’s move which may impact end-users is the decline of ad monitored apps available on the Apple app store. Many apps use ad revenue to pay for the progression of an app. It takes thousands of hours and teams of many to develop a single version of an app. Just like you and I, they like to get paid for their efforts. Now that companies can no longer target users with quality ads, we may start to see these disappear from the app store or become a subscription-based model like pretty much everything else which isn’t ad-supported. Would you pay for an ad-free Facebook experience?

Marketing firms and app developers are still scrambling to find a way around the issue, unfortunately, unless you’re Apple. Apple does have one caveat which benefits them in a big way—they don’t allow the sharing of information between companies. But what if you are, as the hardware, the software, and the software deliverer (App store), then Apple says that’s ok. Apple does have a small ad network used in their own app store where they use your data in their algorithms to suggest apps that might interest you. Fair? Not really.

How are companies pivoting?

While Apple has made the SKAdNetwork API available, its use is very limited. The primary limitation will be minimal ROI metrics, as well as advanced attribution due to reduced visibility with event tracking. Additional limitations include data delays that impede real-time optimizations, a loss of user-level data, and reduced re-engagement support.

Most have already seen a fall in their analytical data and are now starting to mesh some historical statistical data with what little bit of real data they have to generate an approximation of a campaign’s current effectiveness. Businesses and marketers are also having to rely on a more long-term view of ROI by going back and reviewing bottom lines after a campaign has completed.

It is now more important than ever that your creative is spot-on, inspiring, and engaging since you might not be able to directly target your customer base, for now anyway. If you need a partner to help you navigate this new policy and help you find new ways to connect with your audience, contact Creative Energy and let us help you find the path to success.