Ad Firms Said to be Losing ‘Hundreds of Millions of Dollars’ After Apple Restricts User Tracking in Safari Browser

Online ad firms are said to be losing out on “hundreds of millions of dollars” due to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), which it included in Safari last year.

Ad Firms Said to be Losing 'Hundreds of Millions of Dollars' After Apple Restricts User Tracking in Safari Browser


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.

“We expect a range of companies are facing similar negative impacts from Apple’s Safari tracking changes,” said Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Tech Lab general manager Dennis Buchheim. “Moreover, we anticipate that Apple will retain ITP and evolve it over time as they see fit.”

Intelligent Tracking Prevention affects the use of cookies to help build profiles of a user’s web activity. That allows ad companies to show ads related to previous browsing history, even if you’re currently searching for something completely different. (Also known as why those Amazon ads for jewelry follow you around when you’re looking for a RAM upgrade.)

ITP was included in iOS and macOS update which were released in September. Companies like Criteo were briefly able to exploit a loophole, but Apple closed that with December’s iOS 11.2 update, forcing the ad firms to come up with other ways to make their systems work.

Several ad industry member spoke out against ITP back in September, saying ITP is “unilateral and heavy-handed,” and a threat to the “valuable digital advertising ecosystem that funds much of today’s digital content and services.”

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