Om Malik, founder of technology news website Gigom was spot on when he said, “Ideally, Facebook would take all our clicks and information and would magically give us everything we want, without us even knowing we want it,” This was so true until recently when Apple announced important changes that affect users of their IS 14, IPad OS14, and tvOS 14 devices.
Facebook and other platforms and brands are now required to provide information about their privacy practices in App Store Connect.
Those using third party codes like analytics SDKs or advertising, will also be required to describe what’s collected by the third-party codes, how that data might be used, and whether or not that data will be used to track them.
User permission through Apple’s AppTracking Transparency framework is now required.
Apple defined tracking as linking consumer data or that gathered from Facebook’s or brand’s apps with data collected from company apps or websites for advertising and/or measurement. It also included sharing such data with brokers.
The effect of Apple’s new rule is yet to be measured but some observers believe it could adversely impact large platforms like Facebook if users opt out. A large exodus would nullify Facebook’s algorithm for ad targeting ability, conversion tracking and ad customization.
To get started, brands need to apply for and get an IDFV (ID for Vendors) which can also be used for analytics across all other apps from the same content provider. However, that IDFV cannot be linked with other data to track that consumer across websites and apps of other companies and brands unless the user has also granted permission for them as well.
Brands accessing Apple’s AppTracking Transparency framework must include a purpose string in the system prompt justifying why it wishes to track the consumer. Any consumers opting out will be displayed as zeroes and brands will not be able to track them.
What’s not considered tracking in Apple’s new rule, and dismissed from their AppTracking Transparency framework is linking user data to third-party data that only resides on the user’s device and is not sent to any other device that can identify the consumer. Sharing the data with a broker on the brand’s behalf for security purposes or data or fraud protection, is also exempt.
However, other prohibited activities include tracking consumers via hashed phone numbers or email addresses or the use of fingerprints or other device signals to identify a device or user. Apple still requires authorization through their AppTracking Transparency framework,
Brands doing a lot of business on digital platforms need to adapt quickly to Apple’s change.
According to Statista, there were 102 million Apple users in 2018 in the U.S. alone and the firm estimated that it would exceed 110 million in 2021. It also reported that Apple i-Phones ranked third in worldwide market share and held a 13.5% share in the second quarter of 2020.
Consumer awareness about online spam and fraud have also given rise to more concerns about privacy and security. Plus, recent news about Russian hacks on Microsoft added to the anxiety.
Brands moving forward in securing consumer permission through App Tracking Transparency have a great opportunity to assure customers how much they value their loyalty and respect their privacy in asking for and securing their permission.