August 25, 2023
Apple has unveiled new privacy and security measures that will affect digital marketing. The “Link Tracking Protection” feature will soon be available in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing, with a full release expected in iOS 17 alongside the iPhone 15 launch in September.
Link Tracking Protection removes extra information from websites’ URLs to track user activity. This information includes tracking parameters, like UTMs, commonly used by analytics software to gather data on user interactions. While these links will still function, Apple will strip away the tracking parameters, enhancing user privacy.
In Safari 17, Apple has also introduced additional privacy features in Private Browsing mode, including blocking known trackers and fingerprinting techniques, mitigating subdomain mapping to third-party IP addresses, and blocking known tracking query parameters.
These changes have raised concerns among marketers about the impact on email campaigns and digital tracking, as some tracking methods rely on parameters that Apple’s Link Tracking Protection will remove. Industry tests have confirmed the removal of many parameters.
Apple’s latest announcement about Link Tracking Protection carries significant implications for marketers. This move builds on the privacy enhancements introduced with iOS 14, which required apps to request user permission for tracking. Here’s how it affects marketers:
Email Campaigns Under Scrutiny: Marketers often use tracking parameters like UTMs to gather valuable data from email campaigns. However, Link Tracking Protection will remove these parameters. As a result, tracking email campaign performance and understanding user behaviour becomes more challenging.
Breaks Tracking Methods: Some tracking methods employed by email service providers may rely on these parameters. For example, Marketo’s “view a webpage” function, containing a parameter called mkt_tok, could be impacted. Eloqua’s tracking scripts applied to destination properties may face similar issues.
Privacy vs. Performance: While Apple’s privacy-focused measures are commendable from a user standpoint, they pose a dilemma for marketers. They must now strike a delicate balance between respecting user privacy, complying with Apple’s changes, and maintaining marketing performance.
In essence, Apple’s Link Tracking Protection, building upon the privacy enhancements in iOS 14, forces marketers to rethink their tracking strategies and adapt to a landscape where user privacy is paramount.
Understanding how email service providers track clicks is crucial, as some do not rely on parameters. Balancing user privacy and marketing performance is now a top priority for marketers.
Categories : World Focus