The Impact of Link Tracking Protection (LTP) and Apple’s IDFA
Preserving Privacy and Redefining Advertising Analytics
Apple's operating systems prioritize privacy above all else, a core value evident in their advertisements. They consistently emphasize the importance of privacy across various aspects of life, including daily activities, social movements, and health-related matters. This commitment to safeguarding user data sets them apart and builds a sense of trust among their customers.
Starting from ITP, IDFA and now upcoming LTP.
Previous Apple unveiled modifications to iOS 14, set to be implemented in late 2020 or 2021. Some notable changes which included:
Apple will request app developers to voluntarily disclose the types of data they collect and how they intend to use it.
Starting with iOS 14, apps will be required to seek the user's explicit consent before tracking their activity, particularly in relation to accessing the device's advertising identifier or IDFA.
Apple introduced the new version of the device location signal called "reduced" or "Approximate Location."
Now it is Link Tracking Protection (LTP) is the name of the new iOS feature that will go live in September/October 2023 with the release of iOS 17.
In a nutshell, marketing parameters used to track individual users' behaviors across other websites will be removed by default from URLs.
With iOS 17, this feature will be activated in Messages, Apple Mail, Safari Private Browsing, and available as an opt-in in standard browsing mode.
Considering this feature there can be 4 scenarios:
Click on a link in Apple Mail -> open it in Safari with Private Browsing Mode turned on
Click on a link in Apple Mail -> open it in Safari without Private Mode
Click on a SMS link in Messages -> open it in Safari with Private Browsing Mode turned on
Click on a SMS link in Messages -> open it in Safari without Private Browsing Mode
After redirect if the Private Browsing Mode is turned on then Google gclid, Facebook fbclid, mc_eid etc will be removed.
What happens with URL parameters?
Considering 4 types of parameters.
mc_eid, fbclid, _hsenc and other parameters
Most of these parameters known to be used for user level tracking in popular platforms
Other parameters, not from the list, but that can also be used for user level tracking.
Like wbraid=abcde5489ehijt3chdw0w3zhtrn53w, ScCid=8b3a6817-a82a-45e8–9728-e1b3b045abb2 and one that was literally called “user-id”
Any of the above, but the array of parameters started with “#” instead of “?”
The conclusions are:
Apple removes user-level parameters from URLs only for specific vendor parameters (e.g., Google gclid, Facebook fbclid, etc.) and does not target less-known/more personalized parameters (e.g., customer-id, customer-number, etc.).
UTM parameters are not stripped from URLs
Apple does not remove parameters if the "#" symbol is used
Considering the current state, LTP does not display an exceedingly aggressive nature, although it is essential to remain aware that circumstances can undergo constant transformations. Undoubtedly, LTP is poised to develop and grow more intelligent and discerning. Therefore, marketers must be prepared with their next groundbreaking marketing concept before it concludes its journey.
You are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in comment section on this upcoming iOS feature.
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