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Apple IOS 17 Link Tracking Protection from a Marketing Attribution Perspective

By Scott Desgrosseilliers on Jun 16, 2023 12:08:08 PM

Apple IOS 17 - short term data slippage, long term upheaval


  • UTMs, Facebook click IDs, and Google click IDs are going to be stripped from IOS17 links - both iPhone and Mac
  • Tracking and reporting solutions relying on link identification text are going to be impacted
  • Approaches on tracking and attribution post IOS 17 are given below
  • With our deep partnerships with Google and Facebook, we heard about Apple's work on removing link IDs and UTMS (they call it "link decoration") back in Spring 2022.
  • It took all 13 years of our experience in tracking & attribution - but Wicked Reports users will still have accurate marketing attribution and optimization
The Scoop on IOS 17 and Link Tracking:
Apple has announced IOS 17, and it's causing some marketing world drama.  https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/06/apple-announces-powerful-new-privacy-and-security-features/

In particular, this paragraph has thrown us digital marketers into an uproar:

Link Tracking Protection in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing
Some websites add extra information to their URLs in order to track users across other websites. Now this information will be removed from the links users share in Messages and Mail, and the links will still work as expected. This information will also be removed from links in Safari Private Browsing.

This means users can select a setting that will strip all UTMs, variables, and click IDs from Facebook, Google, TikTok, Microsoft, et al.  

With Google Analytics 4 being pushed onto everyone, it's divine timing that Apple drops a bomb on GA4's potential data accuracy.

On the surface, you hear it's for private browsing mode, and relax - that's similar to incognito mode in Chrome, which people generally only use to snoop around or visit certain late night sites...right?

But then I was shared this video from Travis Ketchum, and this might be a bigger deal than I thought.  The video goes right to the time stamp that has the Link Tracking Protection settings - and it sure seems easy to turn this on for ALL browsing.

Topics: Email Marketing Automatic Link Builder Facebook conversions UTM value UTM UTM values Attribution Health WBRAIDS GCLID