A big step forward for user privacy and advertising in iOS6

Posted September 15, 2012 by | Filed under: Industry Perspectives, iOS News

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We started digging into the Gold Master release of iOS6 over the past few days since Apple’s big announcement on Tuesday, and we found some interesting new additions to the opt-out and “Limit Advertising” properties that were previously not included in the beta releases of the operating system.

In the GM build, iOS now adds a setting that allows a user to limit ad targeting, and this setting is intended to be honored by ad servers and exchanges like MoPub. In iOS6, advertising providers are required to check this setting before using the IFA (read more about the new Identifier For Advertising in our post from Wednesday).  If a user has limited targeting, then the IFA may only be used for the following:

  • Frequency capping
  • Conversion tracking
  • Debugging, metrics and analytics

This precludes the IFA from being used for re-targeting, audience targeting or any other data collection or aggregation scheme if the user has opted out. While these programs generally result in better, more effective advertising content, before this setting was introduced, there was no way for someone to declare that they were not interested in being part of these re-targeting programs. Crucially though, this setting does not remove the IFA entirely. Instead, it requires ad providers to comply with this “do not track” setting, but allows them to continue to use IFA for key advertising functions like frequency caps.

Our view is that this is a major step forward to open up new advertising opportunities for mobile on iOS. It is a forward thinking and balanced approach that allows users to express their preferences around their privacy while allowing for considerably increased advertising quality.

In the past, we’ve advocated strongly for an approach like this to be integrated into the platform. We are very excited that Apple has provided such a comprehensive and well thought through mechanism with the new IFA.

 

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