Over the last few years, Apple has led the charge on user privacy and protection of data. Apple has pushed through several tracking prevention features in their Safari browser on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices called Intelligent Tracking Prevention, or ITP.
To add to that push for privacy, Apple announced at their World Wide Developer Conference on June 3, 2019, an additional feature called “Sign in with Apple”.
What Is The “Sign In With Apple” Feature?
Instead of logging into third-party sites or apps with a Google or Facebook account – which Apple says shares a plethora of your personal data – users can now sign in through Apple, who will not share this information. Instead, for apps that require an email address, Apple will create a unique, random email address to forward to your real email address (screenshot below).
What Consumers Need To Know
Apple’s privacy measures are in direct response to the lack of care that certain AdTech companies have shown for user privacy based on the flood of investigations and lawsuits that have been filed over the last 12–18 months. Whether other technology companies will follow Apple in implementing these stricter privacy features to their devices and software is unclear.
That said, it’s worth noting that while there can be negative perceptions of the usage of consumer data, there are also positives that can come from it. For example, from a consumer’s perspective it’s much more helpful to see products that are personalized to them, as opposed to random products that are irrelevant to their life.
What Marketers Need To Know About the “Sign in with Apple” Feature
The update doesn’t just affect the everyday consumer, it also will have effects on marketers. A few include:
- First-party client data sets could now be riddled with these Apple forwarding addresses. And estimating audience sizes in platforms through first-party data sets could now be skewed to a point where they are not beneficial to marketers.
- Device tracking for Google and Facebook could become messier if users choose to ‘Sign in with Apple’ instead of on platforms that rely heavily on logged-in devices to track behavior online and offline. The new feature will also limit access to user location data to only one day and automatically remove that authorization after 24 hours, which could create a challenge for ad platforms such as Google and Facebook to track any user behavior.
- WIFI and Bluetooth connection data will also be blocked to prevent AdTech and measurement platforms from tracking a user’s location based on beacon technology. This is important because these platforms traditionally have relied on WIFI and Bluetooth connection to connect the dots of a user working through the consumer journey.
How the world (and marketers) react to the update remains to be seen. The next few months will be a key time for Apple as it responds to both consumer and brand feedback. As one of the first major brands to take actionable steps towards protecting consumer privacy, the update has the potential to draw a variety of responses and create a range of impact.