Apple and WordPress Flex Their Muscles

If you use nine apps per day like the average person, get ready to field several consent requests next week when you upgrade any Apple devices to its latest operating system, iOS 14.5.

Apple said that its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy would go into effect next week for iOS 14.5 users, which will essentially force app developers and marketers to ask users for permission to track their behavior and share the data with third parties.

Also this week, WordPress signaled its potential opposition to FLoC, Google’s cookieless ad targeting proposal from the Privacy Sandbox, which could significantly affect its effectiveness. And the Unified ID 2.0 picked up another supporter, Heineken gets serious about identity and Google faces yet another antitrust lawsuit.

It’s been a busy week. Let’s dig in.

Buckle up

You may want to check in on your app developer friends next week when we see Apple’s ATT live in the wild. If consumers say yes to the consent requests they receive from their apps next week, app developers and marketers will be able to use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) for tracking. If not, well, you get the picture. Some fear consent rates could be as low as 20 to 40 percent percent, and Facebook has warned that the move could halve developer revenue. We’ll have to wait and see if all hell breaks loose or ATT becomes just another bump in the road. Industry players are already stepping into the void with their own solutions, including inMobi’s new UnifID, which aims to help app developers and publishers work with the many identifiers proliferating in-market.

Call security

As we told you last week, not everyone is onboard with FLoC. Firefox, Brave, Microsoft’s Edge and DuckDuckGo don’t plan to support it in their browsers or extensions, and WordPress this week suggested that it may treat FLoC as a security concern. WordPress, whose content management system powers roughly 41 percent of the web, is considering proposals to block FLoC by default or give users an opt-in toggle switch. If WordPress blocks FLoC, that could close the spigot on a big chunk of monetizable behavioral data, eMarketer noted. Suddenly, WordPress “finds itself with the power to act as an arbiter of advertising and data privacy,” eMarketer said, which could create an opening for “other providers of internet infrastructure to follow suit.”

Welcome aboard

Identity graph player Infutor became the latest company to join the Unified ID 2.0 movement, which revolves around an open-source hashed email-identifier launched by The Trade Desk before it passed off control to industry nonprofit Prebid. Infutor will support Unified ID 2.0 across all of its identity and data products and services, as well as its identity graph covering some 650 million opted-in email addresses. Other UID 2.0 supporters include Epsilon, FuboTV, Magnite, Nielsen, Criteo, LiveRamp, PubMatic and The Washington Post.

One notable player not punching a ticket is The New York Times, which currently bills itself as a “subscription-first publication.” With 7.5 million subscribers, it plans to instead explore contextual ad targeting products. That could be a risky move for The Times, which may not be able to charge a premium for ad impressions that aren’t connected to identity, says Scott Bender of Prohaska Consulting.

The rich get richer

We already knew that the largest tech platforms — aka the walled gardens, with their massive bases of logged-in users — were COVID winners, and as they began revealing their Q1 earnings this week, investors expected a large haul across the board. But as these behemoths get even bigger, governments around the world are simultaneously moving to rein in their power in what some are calling a tipping point.

Heineken puts first-party data on tap

Heineken ditched its data management platform, which is historically built on third-party cookies and data, for a customer data platform that will anchor its first-party data strategy. “The advantage of having a first-party data strategy is primarily just understanding more about consumers,” Rebekah Kennedy, Heineken USA’s director of consumer insights, told AdExchanger.

You’ve been served

The Daily Mail filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming that publishers receive lower search rankings if they don’t sell enough ads through Google’s marketplace. The suit also charges that Google’s plan to sunset third-party cookies will make it harder for advertisers to target ads in non-Google systems. We agree; it’s shocking.

That’s it for now. See you next week!