Navigating Apple’s Privacy Policy Updates

Apple’s been leading the charge in providing added privacy features with their recent iOS updates, iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 – changes that signal how advertisers need to consider new digital marketing tactics.  

With the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature that was introduced in 2021, iOS 14.5 basically gave iPhone users the power to opt out of having data on their activity and behavior tracked on apps and websites. While additional privacy features are desired by many consumers regardless of if they use iOS software, the changes Apple is introducing are shaking up marketers and their strategies, as about half of all smartphone users have Apple devices. More recently with iOS 15, email campaigns have been impacted as more marketers are seeing inaccurate statistics of how recipients interact with their messages. 

If you’re not familiar with the know-how of Apple’s privacy updates, we’re happy to give you a rundown in this blog on how your marketing campaigns might be impacted and how you can best address these changes.  

What the Recent iOS Updates Mean for Marketers 
Since iOS 14.5’s release, app developers are required to request permission from Apple device users to track them when first opening their app. Users are given the choice on whether their IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is shared, which is used to collect data about their digital attributes and activities. Upon its launch, Litmus has stated that 96% of iOS users have chosen not to share their IDFA, which is slightly higher than the projected estimate. Without having IDFAs readily available for advertisers to use, marketers will have to look at new strategies to understand the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. 

Users of Apple devices are also being given the option to provide their approximate location instead of precise location when using apps, yet another play made by Apple that will force you to change your gameplan in acquiring user data. Users choosing to only have their approximate location tracked limits the information that’s gathered about their foot-traffic, data that’s useful when learning about their habits. 

Mobile applications on iPhones and iPads aren’t the only software that’s been given more amped-up privacy settings, as Apple’s search engine Safari has also been affected by iOS 14.5. Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) is set to default on updated Apple devices, blocking third-party cookies from being used to collect user data and expiring first-party cookies after a seven-day period. 

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), which was introduced with iOS 15, skews the numbers seen of how members of your audience engage with emails on their iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. MPP hides an audience member’s IP address, making you unable to link the recipient with their online activity and location. In addition to this, you are unable to see if your recipients opened the emails you sent. Litmus says that the data collected on the open rates of Apple users is over-inflated as a result, meaning this is a less reliant metric to reflect on. 

As you can see, individual channel attribution will be affected as advertisers won’t be able to accurately track users with Apple devices protecting their privacy from their app usage, email engagement, and internet activity. This makes it incredibly difficult for you to form precise digital identities on current and potential clients alike. 

How to Address These Privacy Changes 
Now that you have the rundown of how Apple’s privacy updates hinder your understanding of user information and habits, let’s go over how you can tackle these changes head-on and create successful campaigns moving forward. 

In general, a little bit more work might have to be done on your end if you’re looking for a workaround to Apple’s privacy updates. With that in mind, we recommend that you actively monitor the data you’re gathering on all fronts. 

Since the discussed iOS privacy updates only affect Apple devices, you should aim to target Android devices with the intent to test the effectiveness of your campaigns. These devices currently don’t have the same privacy controls, meaning that your ads targeted at consumers with Android phones will be unaffected. Looking ahead, you should look into what percentage of your audience have Apple devices and what versions of iOS software they use to understand your audience and get a better idea as to how you can better optimize the ads you serve on both Apple and Android devices. 

Apple’s MPP makes data on email open rates less reliable, however, paying attention to deliverability on awareness campaigns will still give you good insight into performance. With emails that have a strong call-to-action, focusing on click-through rates will help create a picture of what calls to action your audience gravitates towards. Another way to build up the success of your email campaigns is to clean up your email list to improve your lead quality, list hygiene and sender reputation. 

Bringing app usage back into the conversation, regularly checking your independent data and building lists of what information is gathered can help aid you in determining what kind of audience you’re attracting. A couple of ways to address this include creating more landing pages with the purpose of collecting your visitors’ email addresses and using a chatbot to create lookalike audiences. By going this route, it’s important that you provide both potential and returning clients with useful content and products to form 1:1 relationships with them. 

We want to see your business thrive, and it’s clear that Apple’s privacy updates have made that more challenging as we’re gearing towards a cookieless future. In addition to the tips we provided, marketers should build partnerships with brands that have access to the third-party data needed for their marketing campaigns.

Redi-Data is ready to be that partner for you; our Healthcare and Consumer and Business lists give you the people-driven data you need to grow your first party audience so you can effectively serve up highly targeted ads. Our quality data will put you on track to focus more on the creative side and delivery of your campaigns. In other words, you’ll have more of a say on how to execute your campaigns without worrying about whether you have data on your target audience or not – we guarantee you’ll have it.