Cutting cookies: How Apple is sparking an internet advertising revolution

2017 has been a tough year for advertisers – from increased ad costs to growing ad blocker usage and the resulting need for more personalisation, it’s been a difficult year for the industry.

Apple’s recent news hasn’t helped either.

The company’s new “intelligent tracking prevention” is set to completely change the advertising scene.

So, what exactly does it mean? To put it simply, iOS 11, Apple’s forthcoming software update, will make it harder for advertisers to put cookies in consumer devices. This has the potential to hurt user experience and campaign targeting massively. Advertisers have already raised a call to arms to try and stop this.

Whilst it’s a fair point, we have to remember that it’s not the first-time advertisers have had to regroup and come up with new ideas. In 2015, the new iOS allowed mobile ad blocking, and the industry rallied on. It will do so again now.

So, what does the future hold with the new iOS? In my opinion, Apple has just sparked the real Internet advertising revolution. Here’s how.

The end of cookies
Cookies are soon to become history. This is a hunt that started a while back, when advertisers realised that cookies could only provide a mere snapshot of what users are actually up to day-to-day. What about when they’re not using your app or site? How can you track people’s time spent outside it accurately enough?

This time last year mobile web browsing overtook desktop for the first time accounting for 51.3% versus the desktop’s 48.7%. New studies reveal that in 2020 50% of all viewings will be done on a mobile screen. It’s about time we start tracking people’s engagement outside of a specific app, or a website we have cookies on.

The fact that most cookies will soon start being purged on Apple devices is just an extra incentive to activate this sooner rather than later.

Alternative methods will have to be accurate, scalable, and have valuable data points, such as behavioural intention and past browsing history. In other words, we need a method where you can intelligently target consumers taking real time behavioural data signals.

This is where companies like Ogury come in – considering that people currently use their mobile devices over four hours a day on average, using data that represents all activity across all apps and websites will provide marketers with a much more complete picture of user behaviour.

The rise of Android advertising
While it’s understandable that advertisers have panicked when faced with the new “intelligent tracking prevention” on Apple products, they need to take a look at the figures.

Recent Gartner data shows that Android devices take as much as 81.7% of smartphone market share. Advertisers shouldn’t be worrying about Apple, which only owns 17.9% of the market share – they should instead be focusing on Android.

As Apple cuts cookies, networks and advertising technology providers will need to concentrate on the Android market more, and search for opportunities to put more budget into that part of their business.

But the Android market share is big enough for advertisers not to see this as a threat, at least not for now. Plus, having obstacles in their way will encourage them to become more creative and develop new ideas. Change will be for the better, no doubt.

Happy customers = happy advertisers
Advertising has long been something that’s forced onto customers – not something that they genuinely want to see.

There’s a general feeling that ads, particularly cookie based ones, don’t really show consumers what they want (think of an ad for gloves, just because you looked at a scarf 3 weeks ago). The rise of iOS 11 has forced us to realise this more than ever before.

More granular targeting – whatever the means used to achieve it – will significantly reduce the amount of useless ads that consumers see, such as being followed round by the same ad for weeks (as cookie based retargeting does), rather consumers will have a much better chance of getting a more relevant ad.

Change can be scary, but in the case of Apple iOS 11, this isn’t likely to mean that things will change for the worse. Rather, moving away from the comfort zone means it can be the beginning of a new and exciting era in the industry.

Cookies will slowly be phased out, advertisers will focus more specifically on Android and other methods of targeting the right user accurately, and customers will probably receive better ads!

Source:; 11 Dec 2017

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