“Well-Intentioned, Poorly Executed”: Apple Delays Controversial Ad Tracking Changes

“Well-Intentioned, Poorly Executed”: Apple Delays Controversial Ad Tracking Changes
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Apple’s plans to ask users for permission before advertisers can collect data will have to wait for now.

In June, Apple announced it would be deprecating the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) as part of its iOS14 update, which was scheduled for around this month.

The proposed changes will require developers to integrate a prompt into their apps, asking users if they would like to opt into targeted ad tracking.

However, the decision to deprecate the IDFA quickly drew criticism from the mobile advertising industry – both for its potential to harm advertisers and for the short timeframe developers were given to make these changes.

Leading the calls against the decision has been Facebook, which has said it will limit: “our ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14”.

Facebook also said advertisers will be required to set up a new ad account for the iOS 14 update.

Shortly after Facebook’s announcement, Apple confirmed it would be delaying the new privacy feature until “early next year”.

“We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year,” Apple told The Verge.

A “much needed” extension

Apple’s move towards a more privacy-focused online advertising network is in line with the wider industry trend – look no further than Google’s move to deprecate the third-party cookie.

The difference is Google gave its advertisers two years to prepare for the change (a timeframe many have suggested is too short), while Apple gave its network a few months notice.

“I think the overall sentiment is: well-intentioned, poorly executed,” Venntifact co-founder Joey Nguyen told B&T.

“I think that Apple’s walk back on the release date of these changes goes to show that even they acknowledge how challenging the initial timeframes were.”

Nguyen also pointed out that while Google has sought industry feedback on how it can implement its changes to third-party cookies, Apple’s approach has been more “prescriptive”.

With the deprecation of the IDFA on pause for at least a few more months, advertisers can now shift their focus to preparing for the new fronteir in mobile advertising.

The SKAdNetwork is expected to be used by Apple to receive metadata from ad clicks and send information from apps back to advertising networks.

Nguyen said that there are still some concerns around how this network will operate.

“Most agree that a privacy-first approach that prevents unrestricted device level tracking is a necessary step, but feel that Apple’s implementation of SKAdNetwork, seemingly without consultation with the advertising industry, misses the mark on many levels – arbitrary restrictions on number of campaigns, strange approach to conversion values, time restrictions preventing anything close to real-time data,” said Nguyen.

 

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