Apple's Not Your Friend.

Apple latest to move goal posts in unconvincing display of privacy theater

It’s here. And it’s everything they promised. Apple’s infamous iOS 15 update represents the company’s latest efforts to thwart brand and consumer relationships. 

Uninstall Gmail and use OUR app. Google is sinister and wants to track you. But over here at Apple, our team of saints and good samaritans will make sure your data is kept safe!

The latest changes come under the guise of privacy. Despite consumers willingly providing marketers and brands with email contact info, Apple will obscure how consumers engage with these messages. 

No open rates mean less visibility into behavior. 

By now, we all know the drill. Big tech moves the goalposts and marketers have to find a workaround. We’ve already got one for this latest curveball (more on that in a minute). But first, allow us a moment to share what we really think is going on here.

Apple doesn’t just want the customer to itself, it wants the data too

Apple is not so concerned with consumer data privacy as it is keeping alllll this data for its own purposes.

In this latest move, the company has merely committed to not sharing customer behavior data with marketers. Even in cases where consumers have opted in. 

If privacy was its foremost focus, it would make a big show about how it would obliterate all this data. Or at the very least, build an armored fortress around it where even Apple itself will never touch it… But, Apple knows the data is valuable. Like, really valuable. 

As a hypothetical, let’s say you were a smartphone maker and saw the writing on the wall about the hardware market shrinking. It’s the kind of data you might…say…plan to build a robust, highly-bankable services business on top of. 

In Apple we trust

Trust us. That’s what Apple is saying to consumers. Let us and us only store your data to use as we see fit. 

Worse, they’re simultaneously saying DON’T trust these other companies. 

Never mind these other brands you’ve engaged with. Besides, isn’t it just beautiful in our walled garden? Have some fruit! Just do us a favor and don’t look behind the curtain. We’re kinda busy plotting world domination from our spaceship offices. Thanks, bye!

Permission and privacy 🎶goooo together in perfect…harmony🎶

The truth is, consumers, don’t have to choose between customized marketing and their privacy. By opting in and giving permission to be marketed to, they can be their own arbiters about what works best for them. They can be part of the movement to spread around the power in tech instead of handing it over to one giant that swears it has the best of intentions. 

In our last post, we talked about not being left stranded at the cookie party. Just as important is being sure you’re not locked out of big tech’s walled gardens. Be it Apples, Facebook’s, Google’s – you get the picture. 

Treating humans like…humans

Despite big tech’s creeping role of data guardian nobody asked for, we are more confident and excited than ever about marketer and brand opportunities to connect with consumers and understand buying behavior. 

Yes, Apple’s mail open rates were nice to have. But this metric is also a holdover from the crumbling cookie world that values volume over actual results. 

In truth, personally identifiable information (PII) is paving a new way forward in understanding true engagement. With humans! Not some zombie line of code masquerading as a person that may or may not actually exist. 

Even as iOS 15 adoption proliferates, the new email engagement currency will be around match backs to actual action. For instance, BRIDGE clients will be able to evaluate campaign results and activity against a vetted dataset to help brands understand true impact and buying behavior – online or off. 

Based on this data, we’ll be able to help clients be more effective in marketing to existing customers and finding lookalikes that represent the next best set of products. 

As for Apple and the other big tech guys? 

Perhaps the best lesson for us all to take from the latest moves is that we’d all be better off if we didn’t rely so much on a handful of major powers. Once attaining outsized power, no one can stop them from strong-arming and dictating access to information, habits around personal data, and business models in ways that should make us all more than a little uncomfortable. 

Part of that rests with us as the stakeholders to continue investing in and doing business with the many alternative options out there. Whether pie-in-the-sky players or modest leaders like eBay.

It will forever remain in our collective interest to keep the big guys on their toes. As long as we go at it together, we’ll never be caught flat-footed. 

Get in Touch to learn more. 

Steve Horne

Author Steve Horne

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