Safari Making Huge Changes to Advertising

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) took place with a lot of new information for Apple enthusiasts to salivate about. For marketers, there were a couple key points that marketers really need to be aware of, both related to the Safari browser.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention

First, Apple announced that the Safari browser will be using machine learning in order to keep ad trackers and other third-party data trackers from ‘following’ users as they surf the web. This is a huge threat to advertisers since much of the targeting that is used to choose which ads to display is done based on browsing history.

Ad networks can look at an extended history of what people are looking for, and use this to show them ads that they are more likely to be interested in. This not only makes the ads more effective, but also creates a better overall browsing experience for the users since they aren’t seeing nearly as many entirely irrelevant ads.

The reasoning behind this move by Apple really isn’t clear. They aren’t blocking ads at all, which there actually is a demand for by consumers. Instead, under the banner of ‘privacy’ they are going to make Internet ads less targeted and less effective for everyone.

Stopping Auto-Play

Another thing that Apple is changing is a new ‘anti-auto-play’ feature in the Safari browser. Audio and video on websites often automatically starts today, which some people find troubling. Not only does it have the potential to be disruptive, but it can also burn through people’s data on their cell plans.

This new option does have some good things about it, but with more and more cell providers offering higher data limits (many with unlimited plans) it is not clear that this type of thing is really necessary. Forcing files to auto-play muted, which is already the standard, seems like it should be sufficient in most cases.

More information about both of these changes will likely roll out in the coming weeks and months, but for now, it looks as if Apple is taking a decidedly ‘anti-advertiser’ approach going forward.

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