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Marketers Beware: iOS Is Amping Up Its Privacy Protection (Again)

Posted July 20, 2021
Carey Picklesimer

This guest post was authored by Mary McDaniels.


The age of digital marketing, e-commerce, and information sharing relied on consumer information for effective targeted marketing. Case in point, targeted mobile advertising spending in the US is predicted to reach $32 billion by the end of 2023. But what happens when the era of ad tech privacy catches up, with no more third-party cookies and IP addresses? On the one hand, it creates a blanket of security for average consumers, but it also poses challenges for businesses that rely on this strategy to market their products and services. With third-party cookie restrictions and IP masking in place, businesses must find a way to maneuver a new digital landscape.


What is iOS IP Masking?

Every time an internet user goes online, their IP address is visible to service providers, websites, or worse: hackers and surveillance officers. It puts one’s online privacy at risk since all the details of online activity can be seen. This is why, in recent years, data privacy has become a great concern. Solutions were introduced, one being IP masking, a technique used to hide a user’s IP address by using a fake one. The result is that data is kept safe on smart devices, preventing breaches and theft from occurring.


Previous iOS updates did not have this function natively, but the recent rollout of iOS 15 introduced these features. Users can use tools such as Intelligent Tracking Prevention to protect data from third parties and more advanced privacy options on iCloud+, to name a few. This means plenty of good things for private protection, but it also limits the information that marketers have depended on for effective advertising.


How to Strategize in Light of iOS Privacy Developments

Even though these changes bring various constraints, marketers can develop alternative ways to target customers effectively. Some strategies include the following:


Adopt a Direct-to-Consumer Approach

With the shift to a more privacy-centric iOS, valuable data gathered from potential customers is severely limited as brands will be unable to access third-party data from sources such as Facebook. Businesses can start by positioning themselves as direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that collect first-party data from openly consenting customers.

While the shift is sure to cause some changes in business strategy, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With no intermediaries, this method will allow companies to reach their intended audience without interference. This also provides full control over strategy and data.


Staff the Right Technical People

Working in the digital sphere means mastering how to adapt to change brought on by new tech, whether that’s hardware or software. This is happening at a much faster pace than before as desktop and mobile capabilities develop rapidly. Given the technical demands of adjusting to the latest iOS, businesses will often require highly skilled tech staff.


- Make the most of 1st party data
- Have the right talent on your tech team
- Fix the data gaps


It is fortunate that there is a rise in remote arrangements, so that businesses now have wider access to these specialists and their expertise. A trend that reflects how many get their training online. This has helped increase the number of specialists, as an online management information systems degree will provide sufficient experience building, especially where business data is concerned. These degrees will help professionals master data protection and management, including the changes brought about by developments in software like iOS 15. Data is often considered a company’s biggest asset these days, so understanding how changes in privacy and use influences business strategy is a must for any business.


Minimize Data Gaps

Gathering, analyzing, and applying data will look different for businesses given these developments, but it’s worth making the effort to jump the hurdles. Cleaning and unifying this data will be challenging, but it’s worth investing in customer data platforms, UTM guidelines, and data warehouses for retroactively de-anonymizing data to minimize data gaps.

Getting the most out of available first-party data should also be a priority, and this can be done using JavaScript with cookie consent. By doing so, it will still be possible for businesses to track the buyer journey, even without the convenience of third-party cookies or readily available IP addresses.

Apple and Google have shown how changes in how we use data can significantly affect the way businesses and consumers interact. Ultimately, connecting with the customer’s wants and needs in the best way possible still remains a priority, and these new developments can provide opportunities as much as they do temporary obstacles.

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