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Why Lukewarm Responses to Apple’s Privacy Shift Shouldn’t Stop Preparations for a Future Without Third-Party Cookies

by Asher Gordon | 27.05.2021

In this article, Asher Gordon, head of media at Tug explores how the industry is preparing for the post-cookie era, and sets out what brands can do to ensure that they’re ready for this monumental infrastructural shift.

After months of hype, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update went live with surprisingly little fanfare. The long-awaited privacy features have arrived: now, users will be asked whether they want to opt in or out of in-app ad tracking. Some leading players have even started adjusting how they collect pixels (see Facebook’s Aggregated Event Management), signalling that significant changes for ad campaigns could be on the horizon. But while there is plenty of buzz about the new rules, their impact hasn’t necessarily proved as ground-breaking as expected.

One potential reason for this is that Apple’s move comes as just another step in the journey towards enhanced privacy and responsible data handling. In fact, over the last few years the industry has experienced a constant flow of regulations and restrictions: from the GDPR and CCPA, to Google’s impending deadline for third-party cookie deprecation. As such, ongoing shifts in user targeting are being actively embraced, with cookie-based methods in particular considered outdated for modern, privacy-focused audiences.

This privacy progress isn’t set to let up anytime soon, nor is the decline of third-party data supplies. For brands, this makes it vital to continue pivoting and find alternative ways to balance online security with continued ad tailoring, including greater focus on context and first-party data.