Is Safari Planning to Wipe Out Ad Revenue?

Intelligent Tracking Prevention and its Effects on Advertising

Intelligent ad tracking blog image

With a new version of the Safari browser being released this fall, Apple has announced many new features that will be introduced along with it. The one that stood out to us is the new “intelligent tracking prevention” that will try and prevent cookies from absorbing personal informational after a certain amount of time. While still allowing the wanted data through, there will be less traffic and, therefore page loading times will speed up.

“Safari uses machine learning to identify trackers, segregate the cross-site scripting data, put it away so now your privacy — your browsing history — is your own,” Apple’s SVP of software engineering, Craig Federighi states, “It’s not about blocking ads, the web behaves as it always did, but your privacy is protected.” This will create many audible sounds of relief for many internet junkies.

A common name for the type of ads that track your browsing history is Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). OBA has been an effective method of advertising for over a decade. It is defined by as “a broad set of activities companies engage in to collect information about your online activity (like web pages you visit) and use it to show you ads or content they believe to be more relevant to you.”


Online Advertising Saves My Personal Information - True or False?


False! There is either a common misconception or a possible theory that OBA ads track and store your personal information (your name and address etc.). It is actually, and highly more likely, that you are only tracked by your computer’s certain code (IP Address) and algorithm. The tracking system then reads this code and sends it out to third party advertisers. The next site you visit then remembers that code and will give you ads that are more focused on your age range, gender, interests and other demographics (based on what you were viewing previously).

This is why, after looking up clothes on your favourite retail website, you then see ads for that exact outfit on Facebook right after. So, do not let your daughter use your browser to search for grad dresses; you will be seeing them on your own pages for a while afterward.

These focused ads usually create a higher return on investment for companies, because they know there’s a higher chance that consumers will click. But, they also come with a few bad omens when privacy issues arise.

Is there proof that these types of ads actually infringe on privacy in a way that we should feel uncomfortable using them on our websites? For some, the little information that is taken is enough to make consumers worried. Although, when comparing it to a store’s loyalty card, who use personal information about their shoppers to direct specific products back to them (if a shopper buys diapers and a Cosmo magazine, they may assume the person is a young mom), people are less likely to think their privacy has been infringed upon. At the moment, there are no legal consequences for using OBA, but both Apple and then Microsoft (through the use of defaulting the “Do Not Track” setting) have made the move to try and keep certain information from getting out, but since then API methods have been created to overpass these settings. This is where the breach of privacy comes in.

Many marketers opinions are that using intelligent tracking prevention will have devastating effects on the advertisement industry, and businesses who keep their websites running solely by ads will have a hard time finding revenue. All of the free online content that people have grown comfortable with needs to be paid for somehow. At least you are seeing ads for things that relate to you. If there are no longer ad trackers suggesting products to you based on your search history, you will still see ads; the ads will not stop, they will just be more random than they are now. It seems businesses who would be affected by it will just have to use a different approach to their advertising and should perhaps think of other methods now.


Do you agree with Safari’s inclusion of Intelligent Tracking Prevention? 

Will this change your online business strategy?


Kimberley Falk - Multimedia Writer