Advertisers losing 'hundreds of millions' due to anti-tracking measure

How to use browser tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad
How to use browser tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Back in September of last year, Apple cracked down on tracking in Safari, making it more difficult for advertisers to track an individual user's web activity in order to customize their ad experience. Now, according to a piece by Roger Fingas over at AppleInsider, ad firms are losing "hundreds of millions of dollars" as a result of the measure. Fingas emphasized just how grave the impact on the ad industry could be:

Just one firm — Criteo, which controls 15 percent of the browser-based market — is expected to cut its 2018 revenues by a fifth versus projections before ITP was announced, The Guardian said on Tuesday. Since the company brought in $730 million in 2016 alone, the impact of ITP industry-wide could be severe.

For a time after the feature was first implemented, companies such as Criteo exploited a loophole in order to get past it. However, according to AppleInsider, that loophole was closed by Apple on iPhones and iPads with December's iOS 11.2 update. Many advertising organizations also protested ITP in September directly after the measure's release.

AppleInsider also spoke to Dennis Buchheim, General Manager of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Tech Lab, about the effect ITP may have on ad businesses:

We expect a range of companies are facing similar negative impacts from Apple's Safari tracking changes. Moreover, we anticipate that Apple will retain ITP and evolve it over time as they see fit.

While Apple maintains that this issue is one of privacy because information is being gathered without user permission, ad firms said in an open letter the company that the ITP feature risks "disrupting the valuable digital advertising ecosystem that funds much of today's digital content and services."


Do you like Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention? Share your opinion with us in the comments.

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.

  • Tracking without consent is totally wrong. Imagine that same issue IRL: You go to Walmart and an employee follows you trough all the Mall taking notes of what you buy in other stores, then the Walmart guy bombards you with ads of related items at Walmart. Other browsers should follow Apple's lead. There are ethical ways of advertising and making money of them, just look at Duckduckgo with their non tracking ads.
  • It's like perverts complaining about showers having curtains.
  • Boo effing hoo for advertisers. Web and browser ads are the most intrusive ads in the history of advertising. In no other medium do ads jump up in your face, disrupting whatever you are doing, and force you to deal with it (close it). Ads on TV don’t just randomly appear on top of whatever you are watching. No, they come at predetermined times, and you can switch away and watch something else for 3 minutes. The whole reason adblockers and anti-tracking exists is because web ads have become absurdly over the top and in your face. It’s supremely ironic that sites then beg you to “whitelist” them, so you can see their ads. No, dial back your GD ridiculous ads. If your ads were reasonable, I would not need to block them in the first place.
  • “The whole reason adblockers and anti-tracking exists is because web ads have become absurdly over the top and in your face ... No, dial back your GD ridiculous ads. If your ads were reasonable, I would not need to block them in the first place.“ - naddy6969 This. And now it may be too late to follow this suggestion. Even if some websites dialed back their ads, there's a good chance that they're already going to be blocked on the count of me being fed up with long standing abusive practices. I'm not turning off my ad blocker just to see if some random website is being reasonable. These people really screwed themselves - once you create a problem of trust, it's almost impossible to fix it.
  • Yep, most definitely. They pushed their luck and now they're crying about it. I'm not shedding any tears over here.
  • The article is incorrect. Advertisers are not 'losing' hundreds of millions of dollars, because those dollars were not theirs in the first place. It's like a thief saying he (or she, for the PC crowd) is losing thousands of dollars because people are putting locks on their doors. Tracking without permission is unethical, and should be illegal. If the government (US) was doing it without a warrant, you would be sueing them in Federal Court. Tracking web usage is no different than reading someone's mail, or digging in their garbage for old receipts to see what they bought,....disgusting. Bravo to Apple, whom always seems to be looking out for their customers.
  • Advertisers are not loosing money, they are simply loosing potential sales of services due to the fact they are no longer able to exploite individuals information for there own needs. I know some will say the service they provide by tracking usage then tailoring advertisements helps to persolize products or services that may better fit your needs and remove the clutter of irrelevant advertisements, it wouldn't sound as a noble jester but in fact it isn't just a business strategy that makes sense and they feel is marketable because when you come right down to it that is their job, find a way to make money, plain and simple. The fact is just as someone else has stated, is not our activity, where we go, what we do, come with a bit of privacy or at least the common curtesy of being asked to share such information? The way tracking has been employed seems sneaky and disturbing to me, I feel going out of your way to devise a way to track someone's information is akin to stalking. I understand the business impact this could have, where a segment of an industry has built up a program around a solution that drives millions of dollars in revenue that inturn filters down to many jobs and individuals, but, people have a right to privacy and like any other past service, when things change companies adapt and move on. Look at advertising in the golden age of radio befor TV, once opetunituty changes it is time to adjust your approach and stay relevant. I would very much prefer my web experience be free of all advertising, when I need something I will search for it, I do not need it taking up space on pages that could hold more data on the task at hand. If I am doing research on a subject such as a medical procedure I do not need that page being filled with advertisements on a clothing, food, or gaming product just because yesterday I visited some sites for them. I am glad Apple has provided us with the tools to control access to our browsing data and hope they continue to champion this in the future.
  • They shouldn't be tracking anyone in the first place, not beyond maybe a simple cookie.
    An ad impression is all they deserve, not to montize the shopping trail of users.
    As it is what they do with the data certainly doesn't benefit the people they're spying on. So of this forces them to change their business model, the I say "good."
  • Story should be that overreaching tracking ads continue to make 5x those hundreds of billions on unsuspecting victims using non Safari browsers.
  • Or, or, or... pay ME some of that money to track me. Hundreds of millions, lets round to 400 million people in the US, lets say 50% with iOS. 200 million, assuming 75% are on 11 with this feature, they're claiming $1 a person. Give me $0.20 of it, and I can turn it on. Not to mention the data I'm saving because cable companies are likely to charge by the bit soon. I'd be fine with crypto miners that run only when I have the tab in the foreground, or something like flatr.