You know what greases the wheels of worldwide commerce? Advertising. Think about where Google or Facebook would be without advertising. Information and entertainment are freely accessible thanks to advertising.
Can you name all the big dawgs in online advertising? Google. Facebook. Amazon. Somewhere down the list is Apple which has chosen a different path than the aforementioned trackers and stalkers.
Back up a few decades, to a simpler era on the space time continuum where advertising was basic repetition of message. TV ads, radio ads, newspaper and magazine ads, direct mail, even highway billboards were the mainstays of the entire ad business, and they prospered just fine without the ability to track people.
Yes, advertisers of yesteryear still targeted specific demographics– age, neighborhood, socio-economic status, et al– but there wasn’t much tracking going on, and almost no tracking that could be traced back to a specific person unless you ordered something from a magazine.
The internet’s ability to track online users and collect enormous amounts of data about their habits, and gather personal information into a data-driven dossier makes advertising from the 20th century seem archaic.
Yet, here we are in the 21st century and Apple has figured out a way to provide advertisers with a measure of useful information without stalking customers and culling identifiable information from their online usage.
Partners. More specifically, marketing partners who use tools to measure, then analyze, and finally, optimize ad campaigns aimed at Apple’s customers.
Marketers hoping to come across the same rich targeting found at Google and Facebook will be hard pressed to find similar options when advertising through Apple. That is because Apple has a reputation for guarding consumer privacy which can limit ad targeting.
In other words, Apple’s ad business is more traditional. Yes, some data is collected and analyzed and utilized, but not personalized. Apple calls that “differential privacy.” Does it work? Did advertising work before the internet arrived in the mid-1990s? Of course.
John Koetsier is a VP at a mobile measurement company:
Advertisers can, however, target by contextual factors such as location or time of day, keywords used in searches, as well as types of apps previously installed, or in-app purchases previously made. Apple uses differential privacy, though, so brands are targeting groups, not individuals
The key word there is groups; targeted groups, and not specific individuals which is what Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others can do. Apple uses a traditional form of advertising– but with modern tools, data, and analytics– to help advertisers.
There may come a time when the specifically targeted customer that is fodder for Google, Facebook, Amazon et al becomes illegal. By adopting a more traditional method for advertising, Apple maintains customer privacy, yet provides a good platform for both advertisers and customers.
Win, win, right?