Apple’s New Privacy Features Removes Tracking Parameters. What’s the Impact?

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June, the company unveiled an upcoming privacy feature for Safari that will be introduced in iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma (launching in Fall 2023).

As a pioneer in privacy protection, Apple continues its commitment to safeguarding user data and this new feature aims to enhance user privacy by implementing link-tracking protection. However, while the feature offers increased privacy, it also presents challenges for targeted advertising and raises questions about its impact on ad tech platforms.

This article explores the functionality of Apple’s new Safari privacy feature, its implications for targeted advertising, and how Claravine’s Data Standards Cloud™️ can mitigate concerns.

Understanding the Safari Privacy Feature

In iOS17, there will be situations where Apple’s Safari browser will automatically remove user-specific tracking parameters from visited or copied links. By default, this will happen if:

  • The user is in Safari Private Browsing mode
  • The user is navigating from links in the “Messaging” or “Mail” apps.

Individuals will also have the option to enable this privacy feature for all browsing, but it requires navigating through settings to access it. To enable it for all browsing, users of iOS 17 can go to: Settings > Safari > Advanced > Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection > Change from Private Browsing to All Browsing.

Apple’s approach to linking tracking protection in Sarari bears similarity to Mozilla’s “query parameter stripping” feature introduced in June 2022 for the Firefox browsers. Both features are optional and must be manually activated by users. For Firefox users, to enable private browsing you can navigate to: Firefox > Settings > Privacy & Security > Enhanced Tracking Protection > Change from “Standard” to “Strict”.

The Impact on Targeted Advertising & Personalizing Experience

The new privacy feature from Apple raises several considerations for targeted advertising.

Only specific users affected…. Safari’s new “Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection” feature will be applied to individual users in private mode. Then, if a tracking parameter is detected, the identifying components of that URL will be stripped, still leaving the rest intact.

  • Too much effort… The true impact is unknown at this time as we expect most users probably won’t turn on the feature for All Browsing. This choice is fairly deep in the Settings app and, since Private Browsing is not the default, it’s unlikely the majority of users will proactively search and apply this to All Browsing.  If Apple changes this default setting it would have a more immediate impact.
  • User experience… Some users value personalized ads and the benefits they bring, such as tailored content and convenient logins. If basic links devoid of tracking parameters become prevalent, it might result in a diminished user experience (no personalized content or ads) and potentially cause Safari users to revert to non-private browsing.
  • A small slice of the pie…While Safari represents a significant portion of web traffic, its global market share is 28% for mobile and 13% for desktop. Additionally, the impact of this privacy feature is currently limited to Safari Private Browsing, links copied from Safari, or links accessed through the Mail and Messages apps. Consequently, the overall impact on targeted advertising is somewhat minimized.

Eliminate Future Tracking Concerns with The Data Standards Cloud

As more brands prioritize user privacy, the need for excellent data standards is even more important as it gives you the ability to use different reporting strategies like Marking Mix Modeling. Claravine offers flexibility to customize parameters included in your tracking links, allowing you to tailor them to your specific needs. By enriching these links with relevant metadata, you gain deeper insights to make informed decisions based on reliable metrics.

Stay ahead of industry changes effortlessly with The Data Standards Cloud. Our platform enables seamless management of data taxonomies and ensures all teams are utilizing accurate and compliant data in their tracking links. With The Data Standards Cloud, you can confidently navigate privacy challenges while maintaining the highest data integrity standards.

For even more information, check out this article”Marketers, what you need to know about iOS 17, LTP, and privacy trends“.

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