Written by on . Pegasus.

Does Big Tech really care about your privacy?

Lee Davies discusses who is benefitting from new data security developments online.

As is often the case in the tech world, once Apple adopts or introduces a feature, the world sits up and takes notice. The most recent example of this would be the new privacy features it has implemented and released as part of the iOS14 update. This now requires developers to ask users for permission to gather their data, and track them and their usage across websites and apps on their iPhones and iPads.

The initial response to this is probably ‘this is a good move because privacy online is important’, but although Apple states that these new features are intended to help protect a user’s ‘fundamental right to privacy’, this hasn’t always been the case.

In fact, an entire industry has been built on having this level of data readily available to advertisers. You just have to look at Facebook and the $17bn it generated in ad revenue last year. With tech giants so easily able to giveth and taketh away, you wonder why user data is the one thing that Apple has now decided should be sacred. That is, until you realise Apple is increasing  investment into its own ad network, which could see it attempt to take some of that market share from Facebook and Google.

This apparent new found respect for privacy online isn’t new, Mozilla already took steps towards this by building ad blocker into its Firefox web browser. And Google has been talking about its plans to phase out third-party cookies by 2022, with ‘trust tokens’ being the most recent replacement that could potentially fill the hole left by cookie usage.

With more tech giants reviewing how customer data can be utilised for advertising purposes, we could see data and ad placements becoming more siloed, forcing advertisers to maintain a presence across more platforms and services.

Not being able to reach users with your advertising isn’t a new problem; 30 per cent of internet users already use an ad blocker. But it may become a bigger problem if more tech companies follow the lead of Apple, Google, Mozilla, et al.

What this most likely means is that there will be more of an emphasis on first-party data, which should encourage brands, marketers, and advertisers to work on keeping a clean data set that they can use to ensure that the marketing and advertising they run is contextual, timely, and relevant. It may also direct them towards working harder to achieve a single customer view, which will rise in importance as advertisers have to spread their activity across more platforms in order to maintain reach.

is the Paid Media Manager in our Digital, Strategy & Insights Team. With over 10 years experience in digital marketing and paid media, Lee has worked both in-house and agency side for global brands to deliver successful campaigns across multiple channels.