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28 Jun 2023
3 min read

Understanding the Impact of iOS 17 Privacy Changes on Advertising

Rockerbox - Ashley McAlpin Written by Ashley McAlpin
on June 28, 2023

Apple's recent release of iOS 17 brings with it significant privacy changes that affect various aspects of user tracking and data sharing. These changes, primarily related to parameters on click-through URLs, have implications for platforms like Facebook and Google. In this blog, we will explore the impact of iOS 17 on marketers and Rockerbox customers. 

How the iOS 17 Privacy Changes Will Affect Digital Advertising and Marketing on Facebook and Google

According to information released by Apple, iOS 17 introduces privacy enhancements that strip user identifying components from click-through URLs while preserving non-identifiable parts. This means that user-identifiable IDs, such as Facebook's fbclid and Google's gclid parameters, will be removed from the links when shared in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing.

How the Tracking Prevention Updates in iOS 17 Affect Marketers and Advertisers

The iOS 17 update includes specific tracking prevention measures that impact advertisers' ability to track and attribute ad interactions. Here's a summary of these updates:

  • Stripping Tracking Parameters with user identifiers: When a user clicks on an ad and lands on a website, Safari will remove all tracking parameters that include user identifiers from URLs. As an example, this impacts the fbclid, gclid parameters.
  • his removing of parameters that include user identifiers is limited exclusively to clicks occuring in Safari’s private browsing mode or stemming from Apple Mail or iMessages Other, non user identifier Parameters: Parameters that don’t include user identifiers are not impacted by these changes. 

How to Adjust Advertising Strategies for iOS 17 Privacy Changes

As an advertiser, there are key actions you can take to navigate the evolving privacy landscape and adapt to iOS 17:

  1. Ownership of Customer Data Collection:
    • Focus on collecting customer data as early as possible when users visit your website.
    • Provide value to users to encourage them to identify themselves willingly and provide their consent.
  2. Utilize First-Party Data Identifiers:
    • Once you have obtained user consent and established first-party data collection, leverage these first-party data identifiers in your marketing tracking hits.
  3. Embrace Alternate Attribution Approaches:
    • Leveraging a combination of deterministic and probabilistic approaches to measurement will be increasingly important.
    • Explore alternative approaches such as customer surveys, marketing mix tracking, and probabilistic attribution methods to measure the impact of your marketing efforts accurately.

Impact on Rockerbox Customers

Taking a broader view, Rockerbox has always taken a more comprehensive approach to marketing measurement. This starts with Rockerbox offering a variety of approaches to marketing measurement including Media Mix Modeling (MMM), Multi-Touch-Attribution (MTA), marketing performance benchmarks, and facilitating geo testing via our data warehouse solution.

Specifically, Rockerbox’s multi-touch-attribution (MTA) offering uses identity resolution based  on first-party data, and do not rely on third-party cookies or any user-level identifiers that are traditionally included in click-through parameters. Many of the channels that we measure have never relied on items that Apple has phased out (third-party cookies) or is phasing out now (platform-specific user identifiers on clicks). Furthemore, Rockerbox does not require customers to include any user specific querystring parameters on click through URLs.

Our measurements typically leverage post purchase surveys, promo codes, and first-party data (phone numbers, emails, addresses) directly from our customers. It's important to note that these are not shared across customers. Additionally, we have been using a probabilistic approach for measuring marketing on many channels, including linear TV, OTT/CTV, and views for Facebook, for several years. We have also formed partnerships with Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, and others to match based on first-party data.

The release of iOS 17 brings important privacy changes that impact user tracking and data sharing through click-through URLs. While these changes primarily affect platforms like Facebook and Google, Rockerbox and our customers remain largely unaffected. With a comprehensive approach to measurement and analytics, Rockerbox's reliance on first-party data, probabilistic methods, and non-user-level strategies ensures accurate marketing performance insights for our customers. As Apple's privacy landscape evolves, Rockerbox continues to provide robust measurement solutions for businesses seeking actionable marketing intelligence.

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