Impact of Apple ad tracking changes will hinge on app developers, exec says

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The impact of Apple Inc’s new privacy controls over digital advertising tracking is probably going to depend greatly on how app developers implement a replacement pop-up notification, Apple’s user privacy chief told Reuters.

Apple on Monday started enforcing a rule introduced last year requiring developers to use a pop-up notification seeking permission to collect data which will be wont to track users across third-party sites and apps.

Facebook Inc has said the principles could harm its customers. Some mobile advertising analysts believe fewer than one in three users will opt-in, which could diminish the effectiveness and profitability of ad targeting.

Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s user privacy chief, said in an interview that opt-in rates are likely to depend on how developers make their case to users before showing the prompt, and therefore the language utilized in an area Apple reserves for developers to offer a reason for seeking permission.

In past years when Apple introduced new permission pop-ups for items like microphone access, the rates varied with whether users perceived value in granting permission, he said.

“A lot of it’s supported the case that the developer makes,” Neuenschwander said. “What we’ve found through all the opposite permissions that are coming into iOS over the years, is that (communication) is that the major contribution the developer can make to creating sure the user gets an informed choice.”

Apple’s changes only inherit effect when app developers either sell data to third-parties for targeting ads, or buy third-party data to combine with their own to focus on ads.

Developers don’t need to use the pop-up to point out ads supported first-party data, like what news stories a user has read in an app.

“We’re in favor of advertising – we do some advertising ourselves,” Neuenschwander said.

“You won’t see Apple prompt to trace because we design our applications and our systems such they do not track users,” he added. “That’s the approach that we’re taking, but we still leave open the very fact that others can take other approaches.”