Apple has always advocated users’ privacy, and on those similar lines the iPhone-maker has introduced a new technology in Safari browser that aims to stop ads from tracking users across the web. Seen as a dig ad Facebook and Google that have been mired in controversies related to ad on their platforms, the solution will allow advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns on the web without compromising on users’ privacy. In simpler terms, the company’s “Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution” will not let advertisers track what you are browsing on the web after you clicked their ad on a certain website.
The advertiser, however, will know that you clicked an ad and purchased an item (called ad conversion), but it won’t be able to identifiable information about you. This is certainly a middle ground that can work in the favour of both advertisers and the users. With ad conversion, advertisers will also be able to know the effectiveness of their ad on a certain platform. “Online ads and measurement of their effectiveness do not require Site A, where you clicked an ad, to learn that you purchased something on Site B. The only data needed for measurement is that someone who clicked an ad on Site A made a purchase on Site B,”John Wilander, Apple WebKit Engineer, said in a blog post.
What’s the need for this solution? Let’s take an example of a user clicking a sponsored ad on website X. The ad takes the user to the advertiser’s website and after browsing through the content on the site, the user makes a purchase or just closes it without buying anything. In both the cases, advertisers will be able to identify the user by using cookies to track his/her browsing sessions across different websites. This is done by using tracking pixels, which is an invisible image hidden in a message. This is the sole reason you get to see similar ads wherever you browse on the internet after clicking an advertisement.
This type of tracking is called cross-site tracking, and it can be avoided by installing an ad-blocker. In Safari, Intelligent Tracking Protection, and in Firefox, Content Blocking, can be turned on disable tracking. But this also devoid the websites from making money. Apple says that its solution is a middle ground, and the company is also seeking to make the technology as a standard to the World Wide Web Consortium for other browsers to embrace it.