What is Apple’s Link Tracking Protection and how will it impact your marketing?

Benjamin Davis

Benjamin Davis

June 15, 2023

3 mins read

Apple has recently revealed that in the next version of IOS and MacOS links will automatically have user-identifiable information stripped from them.

This new feature called Link Tracking Protection will be automatically activated in Mail, Messages, and Safari when in Private Browsing mode.

These unique URL parameters have been used for years by advertisers wanting to get around using cookies for user tracking but Apple is now deciding to crack down on this behaviour.

This process will happen behind the scenes during browser navigation in Safari Private Browsing and links that the user clicks on from Mail and Messages app.

As a partial mitigation, Apple is enabling an alternative way for advertisers to measure campaign success, with Private Click Measurement ad attribution now available in Safari Private Browsing mode.

What is Private Click Measurement

Private Click Measurement (PCM) is a webkit development to enable privacy-friendly tracking. It will prevent the collection of personal data and at the same time enable conversion tracking even if the user has not consented to the consent banner.

It is currently available and active in Apple’s Safari browser, iOS 14.5 onwards and directly in iOS or iPadOS apps.


Why is Apple doing this?

Since 2014 and perhaps before privacy has been a core focus at Apple. This was made abundantly clear to consumers in their developer conference in 2021 in which nearly every software and hardware product mentioned privacy in its release.

This has continued to be a focus and Apple is trying to be the most privacy-centric large tech company in the world. To see more on this they have a great page on their website.

Consumers realise that if a product is free, you are not the customer and instead are the product. With ever-increasing concerns over privacy consumers want to be protected and Apple wants to be known for doing so.

The Impact On Advertising

It’s clear that Apple is following the trend we are seeing across the industry and is championing user privacy. However, it’s not all bad.

Consumers take privacy into consideration when purchasing and as advertisers or business owners, we should respect this and only collect what we need and have consent to collect.

There will always be advertisers complaining about declines in attribution and loss of tracking but we’ve got to remember that our goal is to get products in front of consumers that want to buy them. If customers don’t trust us then they won’t buy from us and then we all lose.

What To Do

If you’re looking for an agency that cares about data and consumer data privacy you’re in the right place. We pride ourselves on our data collection, attribution and use and always do our best to ensure that we are following up-to-date guidelines and best practices relating to data privacy.

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