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Advertisers 'staring into the abyss' as Apple limits ad tracking

Users will be asked whether they want to allow ad tracking or not

Apple's forthcoming App Tracking Transparency privacy feature in iOS 14 leaves advertisers guessing, but sure that revenues will be hit.

As Apple reminds developers to prepare for App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in iOS 14.5, marketing firms expects their $105 billion US mobile ad industry to take a hit.

According to AdWeek, the expectation is that few iOS users will elect to allow ad tracking once they are prompted to choose.

"[Opt-out] rates among users seeing test prompts aren't encouraging," says Adweek, "the median opt-in rate so far is 32%. The mobile advertising sector is staring into the abyss as the privacy changes loom."

One source told the publication that the industry is facing a repeat of what happened when Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to Safari in 2018. ITP allegedly caused ad firms to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in expected revenues.

As previously reported by AppleInsider, the publication also says that a significant number of advertisers are planning to move away from iOS to Android.

Another source said their firm expects an initial 9% drop in revenues. Facebook, until its recent about-face, has predicted advertisers will see a 60% hit.

"But what happens next is anyone's guess, with almost half of all marketers now scurrying for a fresh means of ad targeting and measurement," says Adweek.

Apple's App Tracking Transparency will prompt users to choose whether to allow ad tracking or not, the first time they open any app that relies on this. Alongside ATT, Apple is deprecating its old Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and instead introduce new advertising frameworks.

Separately, Craig Federighi has said he believes advertisers' fears are unfounded, and that Apple's new anti-tracking move will be emulated by all technology companies.

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