The update is actually a commendable attempt on behalf of Apple to improve the online browsing experience for users — a win-win for everyone involved.
Apple’s Ad Tracker Blocker is Good for Internet Users
There is currently no limit to how long ads can follow internet users from site to site based on browser cookies. Many people find this irritating or off putting, particularly if the ads are irrelevant.
In fact, one study found that 30 percent of people would get angry if they see the same ad more than 10 times. Another study found that when consumers see ads for a recently purchased item, they’re four times less likely to buy from that brand in the future.
So let’s say someone visits Nike.com and browse running shoes. Nike can then serve retargeting ads for those shoes to every site the shopper visits thereafter, even if she changed her mind, chose to buy from a different brand or actually purchased the shoes in question from a Nike physical store. Theoretically, these ads could follow her around forever, which is something that would annoy just about anyone.
Apple’s ad blocker combats this issue by using machine learning technology to power tracker blocking that will allow ads to follow people for only 24 hours and then automatically delete cookies after 30 days.
The Update Won’t Impact the Effectiveness of Online Advertising
While avid online shoppers and many industry experts praise Apple’s new feature, many marketers worry that it might curb their ability to drive conversions through retargeting. But these fears are unfounded for several reasons:
– Advertisers should be using frequency caps already. This is an important measure to limit the number of times someone sees your ads. Besides being irritating, overexposure can lead to banner blindness. Having frequency caps in place is a best practice that generates more engagement and yields better results.
– Apple’s 30-day window is more than enough time to drive conversions. This is especially true if you’re following best practices, such as avoiding one-size-fits-all messaging, segmenting your audiences and setting frequency caps. And honestly, advertisers shouldn’t retarget after 30 days anyway — that’s just lazy. If your ads are relevant and targeted effectively, it won’t take a month for most people to convert.
– Cookies aren’t the only way to target online users. It’s also lazy for advertisers to rely on cookies alone. Cookie data can be used as a starting point, but advertisers need to refine audiences over time. AI and machine learning-technology can help.
– This feature applies to Safari desktop only. Apple’s new tracker blocker only applies to browsing sessions on Safari desktop, which is responsible for just 30 percent of all online browser sessions. Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer are operating business as usual.
While advertisers are generally safe from any side effects of Apple’s new feature, there is one kicker: The feature might affect smaller publishers who are not associated with big names like Facebook and Google. If these more niche outlets can’t charge for cookies across other sites, they might miss out on ad revenue needed to support other content. But only time will tell how much of an impact this will have.
In the meantime, so long as advertisers use best practices and listen to consumers, the industry does not need to worry.