Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature on iPhones with iOS 14.5 released last May to the dismay of many companies.
The feature will give iPhone users the ability to choose whether they want to be tracked by third-party apps and websites or not. The tracked data will be used for targeted ads.
Users are given two options: “Ask App not to Track” or “Allow”. If they choose the former, the app can never track their activity to display ads. Do you notice that whenever you search for something online you’d be suddenly bombarded with targeted ads for said products? That’s something the ATT feature wants to end.
Obviously, a lot of companies who mostly make a living out of targeted ads are not happy about this. One of them is social media giant Facebook, which made USD84 million (around 4.2 trillion) in ad revenues in 2020. But now that 96% of iOS users choose to opt out, those numbers may drastically change.
Meanwhile, the popular short-form video app TikTok was also affected by ATT. However, they were able to make a workaround by implementing a complex algorithm called CAID, which uses some sort of fingerprint fingerprinting.
It’s said that Apple had two options. One, they could’ve just looked the other way and allow developers to continue using CAID; or, they could block such apps from the App Store until they stop using CAID. Apple chose the latter.
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Adtech product marketing head Alex Bauer said that Chinese app makers are collectively baiting the bull with CAID because they think Apple can’t afford to ban every major app. However, Apple called their bluff.
“The Chinese app ecosystem was collectively baiting the bull with CAID, under the theory that Apple couldn’t afford to ban every major app in the market. Apple called their bluff, and seems to have reasserted control over the situation by aggressively rapping knuckles on early adopters before the consortium gained any real momentum.”Alex Bauer, Branch head of product marketing