The message from Apple to advertisers is clear: find another way to find your audience.
To those at Apple, killing the cookie is a move to stop invasive advertising and improve overall user privacy, trust, and experience. Yet since the update, every major advertising group has come together to openly criticize Apple for the “heavy-handed” move. While it’s easy to point out these groups have a lot at stake since the move directly affects bottom their bottom line – they may not be the only ones losing out.
The hardest hit sector will no question be the small to medium-sized publishers. Safari’s market share, according to StatCounter, is currently north of 50% for US traffic in 2016. Larger publishers have the scale and deep pockets to support the sales and engineering teams needed to develop new tactics to monetize their mobile web traffic coming from Safari. Small to medium publishers do not – leaving them with few options to make up for the lost revenue. Desktop monetization will be less affected with Safari holding a negligible market share there.
- Less relevant ads to be served.
Yes, no one is a huge fan of people tracking their online behavior. But in the case of advertising it can serve to improve users overall experience with the ads they are shown. Take the Nissan example from earlier. With a cookie in place this user would’ve been served an ad more relevant to their current interests.
- Mobile redirects and other malware
The cheaper the impression the easier it is for malicious actors to execute mobile redirects or other forms of malware. As stated above, the lack of the cookie data from Safari users devalues these impressions. This coupled with Safari traffic accounting for more than half of mobile web use in the US, makes these users highly susceptible to mobile redirects.
The industry is still searching for the best answer to the Safari ITP update. Ad tech players like Criteo say they have a plan for circumventing the update, but no industry-wide plan or technology as emerged as the solution. The front runner by all accounts is the creation of a first-party ID management system that would allow the open marketplace to achieve the scale of data that is currently dominated by Facebook and Google. Creation of single user ID system would be solely dependent on the ad tech and publishing industry be able to 1) put aside agendas to work together to build such a platform and 2) ability to get online user buy-in. How and when this technology will emerge and who will lead the way will be a hot topic for debate in 2018.