Again an iOS update, you wonder? Yes, again an iOS update with consequences for your eCommerce conversion tracking. What do we have to deal with now, you ask? Well let’s go over what this new update consists of, what it means for your data quality and what you can do about it.
The iOS17 update from Apple will make life for digital marketers harder again. This time Safari will remove important URL parameters used for conversion tracking on platforms like Google Ads and Meta ads. The update also comes with more aggressive ad blocker capabilities.
The solution is using the tracking software TrackBee. We at TrackBee use the most advanced data collection techniques: server side tracking, client side, first-party cookies and data enrichment models to get the best data set possible. Beyond simply collecting your ad data, TrackBee also sends it back to advertising platforms like Facebook, optimising their AI algorithms. This more accurate data allows Facebook to better identify your target audience, leading to more targeted ads and improved results.
Apple has upgraded their iOS to the 17th version and this comes with several new privacy features. The main one is a new Link Tracking Protection feature in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing to prevent user information from being collected with campaign tracking URLs.
Campaign tracking URLs, also known as tracking parameters or UTM parameters, are special codes added to the end of URLs. They are used by Google Ads or Facebook Ads to track a user’s interaction with a digital marketing campaign. These parameters give you valuable data, such as the source of traffic, how your users arrived on your site.
Now user identifiers, like click identifiers from advertising platforms, will be removed from all URLs while leaving the rest of the link as is. The UTM’s will also be stripped when you copy the link from Safari to Whatsapp for example.
But that’s not everything. Safari will now go even further to help prevent websites from using the latest techniques to track a user by keeping users’ browsing “safe” with more aggressive tracker blocking with a feature called Safari’s Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection. By default, this feature applies to Private Browsing mode, you can easily apply it to all browsing in Safari.
The impacts of Apple’s new privacy features in iOS17 have the potential to be much bigger than you might expect, especially for companies reliant on Google tech. Some tracking tools are blocked entirely when users are in Private Browsing mode or have extended the advanced tracking protection to all browsing on Safari.
This makes Safari more like the privacy-focused Brave browser, which blocks many URL parameters, tracking scripts and cookies by default.
Besides making it harder for marketers to understand specific audiences, Link Tracking Protection could make for a challenge when it comes to measuring ad campaign success.
These changes will have an impact, because disrupt many of the usual tracking methods that marketers rely on to measure their precious ROAS.
Several tracking parameters commonly used by marketers will no longer work as before on iOS 17. Some of these include:
As you can see not all ad platforms are affected but many important ones are. If you use these platforms it will mean you cannot track these people anymore when they use iOS17 and Safari to visit your eCommerce store. That is even less conversion data for you and the almighty algorithms.
Understanding the ways iOS17 changes will affect your tracking, like the fact that it gives you less information to optimise your ads with, is the first place to start.
Apart from that, you have TrackBee. At TrackBee we have developed a tracking tool that does not suffer from the impact of this update at all. It provides you with 100% accurate data for your ad campaigns. We can do this because we make a direct connection with your store's backend.
With TrackBee, we don't just track your data; we make it work for you. While other tracking solutions are trying to bring back the old pre-iOS 14.5 days, we are doing something entirely different. Other tracking tools merely act as a data bridge between Shopify and advertising platforms, TrackBee is setting a new standard. For these reasons alone you should consider TrackBee as your new tracking solution.
Unlike others, TrackBee not only shows the data in the dashboard but enriches your data and sending it back to the advertising platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Google. This guarantees that you not only have complete visibility into the origins of your sales, but also empowers the advertising platforms to enhance their algorithms based on this data.
TrackBee is also very easy to implement. You just copy the pixel IDs and the API tokens into the app and you are good to go. If you ever have any issue our dedicated support team is there to help you. All our support team has a background in eCommerce so they understand your struggles and provide you with the best solution.
Digital landscapes evolve, and the iOS 17 is a testament to that. However, with innovative tools like TrackBee, manoeuvring these changes becomes less about reacting and more about strategic adaptation. For eCommerce owners, staying informed and flexible is the way forward.