In the fast-paced realm of digital advertising, staying ahead of the curve is more than a strategy—it’s a necessity. The recent privacy updates in Apple’s iOS 17 have sent ripples through the industry, compelling us to reevaluate and adapt our value-based bidding approaches. At Digital Nar, a Toronto-based boutique advertising agency, we’re not just observing these changes; we’re actively preparing for what comes next in this new era of digital marketing.

The Privacy Revolution: iOS 17’s Impact

Apple’s iOS 17 has introduced a groundbreaking privacy feature known as Link Tracking Protection. This change has far-reaching implications for marketers, especially those relying on click identifiers for user-level tracking across Safari, Mail, and Messages. With Safari holding nearly a 26% market share in the browser arena, according to SimilarWeb, this isn’t just a tweak—it’s a game-changer for how we measure marketing efficacy online.

The Scrutiny on Tracking

The new privacy measures will affect link tracking across iMessages, iMail, and Safari’s private browsing feature. Given Safari’s standing as the second most popular browser globally, marketers need to fully grasp these changes to maintain campaign effectiveness. While Apple has been somewhat cryptic about which URL parameters will be redacted, it’s clear that click IDs like Google’s GCLID/DCLID and Meta’s FBCLID are on the chopping block, while UTM parameters are likely to remain untouched. This shift could complicate reporting, bidding strategies, and conversion optimization.

The Marketer’s Dilemma

While app advertisers may find the transition less disruptive, the lack of clarity around URL parameter removal poses challenges for web advertisers. The biggest shift is in attribution, which could make reporting and optimizing conversions more complex. Additionally, we may see a surge in traffic categorized as ‘direct,’ affecting our ability to distinguish between new and returning users.

Navigating the New Normal

In this shifting landscape, traditional profit ingestion models like Google Ads and Search Ads 360 (SA360) are feeling the heat. But fear not, there are alternative strategies to consider:

  1. JavaScript on the Page: Easy to implement but exposes profit. Not compatible with Safari/iOS.
  2. Offline Conversion Import: Secure but complex and not Safari/iOS compatible.
  3. Customer Match: Simple and limited to Google’s signed-in user base.
  4. sFTP Bulk Upload: Secure but not Safari/iOS compatible.
  5. GA4 Measurement Protocol v2: Not real-time and relies on GA4 processing.
  6. sGTM Profit Feed via Firestore (Soteria): Our recommended solution.

Introducing Soteria: The Future of Value-Based Bidding

In this evolving landscape, Soteria emerges as a robust solution for measurement and activation. It doesn’t rely on non-durable IDs, making it a stable choice for maintaining bid strategies and leveraging AI/ML models based on enriched first-party and modeled data.

How Soteria Works

Navigating the iOS 17 Privacy Maze: A DigitalNar Guide to Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
Navigating the iOS 17 Privacy Maze: A DigitalNar Guide to Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
  1. CloudRun within GCP hosts the sGTM infrastructure.
  2. A client-side Google Tag Manager (GTM) web container is set up.
  3. Ecommerce purchase events are configured on the client’s website.
  4. sGTM container is built with a GA4 Client config tag.
  5. A custom variable is attached to a tag, pulling profit data from Firestore.
  6. Firestore hosts all relevant profit data.
  7. The updated event is sent to Google Ads or SA360 via sGTM.

What does a full sGTM deployment look like ?

Why Choose Server-Side Tagging?

  • Data Accuracy: Minimizes data discrepancies.
  • Privacy Compliance: Aligns with privacy regulations.
  • Improved Performance: Optimizes website load times.
  • Future-Proofing: Ensures adaptability and longevity.

Wrapping Up

The iOS 17 privacy updates are a wake-up call for digital marketers. To navigate this new terrain successfully, innovative solutions like Soteria are not just an option—they’re a necessity.

At Digital Nar, we’re committed to helping you adapt and thrive in this ever-changing digital landscape.