How Marketers Can Still Target Effectively on Apple's iOS and Safari, Even After Apple's Cookie Crackdown

on The Future of Advertising

Apple announced in the early summer that it will soon limit how third parties capture audience data for ad targeting in its Safari browser, across both the desktop and iOS. The move will disallow any tracking cookies and invalidate first-party cookie access by a third party after 24 hours.

While many have interpreted these moves as calamitous for advertising on the mobile web, that’s not the case.

As Sharethrough’s own Curt Larson wrote in AdExchanger, marketers will need to adapt to these new targeting changes, but they won’t need to abandon the mobile web on iOS completely.

One of the best alternatives to audience targeting is leveraging sophisticated inventory targeting to deliver ads in native environments, where they provide both contextual relevance and a respectful user experience.

So, rather than rely on audience insights derived from cookies, advertisers can leverage a rich data set built from a mixture of qualitative and quantitative information that we capture on every impression across thousands of sites. This includes contextual data like the ad’s size and location on-page, creative data such as headline scores and the brand’s vertical, as well as performance data like how often consumers who visit this page click on the ad placement. When combined with demographic data from providers such as Nielsen and comScore, this provides an easy and high-performing work-around for advertisers looking to deliver targeted ads on the mobile web.

This is important, because this kind of inventory targeting is about to become a huge part of how native advertising is bought and sold. With consumers now spending upwards of five hours a day on their mobile devices on average, according to recent studies, programmatic is going to be one of the most effective ways for advertisers to reach audiences at scale, and they’ll need these targeting capabilities to ensure they’re not wasting their spend.

Facebook dominates on mobile thanks to a rich data set, but that data is only usable in one environment. Advertisers need to leverage data and information that they can use in programmatic buying that marries unique qualitative placement info with performance insights and external demographic accuracy.

Luckily, advertisers can easily access these performance insights through the Deal ID framework. Deal IDs allow suppliers to surface unique inventory and performance signals even if the DSP is unable to optimize on them, meaning the framework is about to evolve beyond old-fashioned direct deals with set prices.

This works even better for advertisers if they can work with sophisticated suppliers. Effective native advertising is about building better relationships with suppliers, especially on mobile. As the ad world moves more toward native placements, the best suppliers will be the ones who provide intelligence about these placements. Certain native placements will perform well for different segments of the audience. Suppliers who can aggregate their own data and marry it with demographic data will make it even easier for buyers to access high-performing, well targeted inventory.

Successful native advertising is built around contextual relevance, design, form and the function on the page itself. Advertisers are using the technique across mobile and desktop now, but they should have no fear about their ability to deliver targeted messages to users, even with changes to cookie policies across Apple’s browser and operating systems. The mobile open web is moving toward a world that leverages a detailed contextual data set, but it’s also what buyers can do today on Safari and iOS, long before Apple’s changes take hold.

Nate Gosselin

Director of Product, Sharethrough for Advertisers. Usually found geeking out on food, climbing, music, or data science.

Brooklyn, NY