Location-Based Marketing Under Threat? What Apple’s iOS Changes Mean For Marketers

Location-Based Marketing Under Threat? What Apple’s iOS Changes Mean For Marketers
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If you’re one of the 9 million Australian iPhone owners, you may have noticed some interesting changes as part of the latest iOS 13 update.

A number of pop-ups now appear on devices to highlight how different apps collect location data, even when they are not in use.

As well as showing you that these apps are using your data in the background, the pop-ups also give you the option to quickly and easily change your settings so these apps can only collect your location when they’re in use.

Similar pop-ups now also appear to show how apps use Bluetooth.

apple location

While users have been able to control this manually for several years now, this is the first time Apple has explicitly highlighted how far-reaching data collection can be.

Apple says it is all about giving users “more choices” for how they share location data with apps.

And while the changes are a step in the right direction in terms of data usage transparency, many are concerned with how they will impact location-based marketing.

What the changes mean

A recent article on AdAge suggested the new settings could “cripple” location-based marketing, as fewer people will share their data.

But are these concerns justified?

Speaking with B&T, location-based marketing company Near CTO Madhusudan Therani agreed that the changes could bring some teething problems.

“The adoption of this ‘location permission’ across operating systems may result in a limited inventory [data] available, making it slightly expensive, but this may come into effect later next year,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor this trend.”

Near, which recently raised $143m in funding, uses location data to help brands track the physical behaviour of their customers and predict future movements through AI.

And with 15 million Australian users, Near collects much of its data from the same apps that Apple is now exposing as part of the latest update.

Despite this, Therani does not expect the latest change to have any direct impact on the company.

“We operate through data partners and the impact of this latest privacy feature is indirect,” he said.

“As a GDPR compliant platform, all data entering our system is consensual which essentially means that our data partners have consumer consent and inform them about the intent or purpose of using the data.

“The likelihood of an immediate visible impact is minimal and our users will not see any change in our platform or reports.”

He also pointed out that with iOS users currently accounting for 30 per cent of the smart device market “this development may not have a significant impact on marketers relying on location intelligence”.

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