Apple’s new approach to digital advertising is set to go ahead in a matter of weeks, with advertisers warned to think about user privacy first.
Previously, companies that sell mobile ads have relied on Apple’s IDFA (“identifier for advertisers”) as a way to identify specific users and offer targeted ads.
But with Apple continuing to preach its devotion to privacy and the industry moving away from the idea of ‘tracking’ users online, Apple has moved to discontinue the IDFA by default and will instead ask users to opt-in for data tracking.
The change was first announced almost 12 months ago and the rollout of the initiative has already been delayed.
Changes coming “in a few weeks”
Speaking with The Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the new App Tracking Transparency privacy feature – which will give users the ability to positively give their consent to being tracked (rather than directly replacing the IDFA) – is launching “in a few weeks”.
“We feel so much that it’s our responsibility to help our users be able to make this decision. We’re not going to make the decision for them. Because it’s not our decision either. It should be each of ours’ as to what happens with our data. Who has it and how they use it,” Cook said.
And while the changes will give users greater control over their data, they have previously drawn criticism from others in the industry.
Facebook has been strongly opposing the changes and argued that small businesses that use Facebook Ads will ultimately suffer.
Cook said this week that Apple still supports digital advertising, but is hoping to promote a more privacy-focused ecosystem.
“We’re not against digital advertising,” he said. “I think digital advertising is going to thrive in any situation, because more and more time is spent online, less and less is spent on linear TV. And digital advertising will do well in any situation. The question is, do we allow the building of this detailed profile to exist without your consent?”
He also suggested that there is nothing to worry about if businesses have a strong relationship with their customers and users.
“The only reason why you would push back is if you believe you’ll get less data. The only reason you would get less data is because people are consciously deciding not to do it and were not being asked before,” Cook said.
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