How do we target Apple Users?

Published by: Keith Gooberman
Chief Executive Officer

Apple iOS is incredibly prevalent in today’s marketing landscape with 22% of all phones being iPhones. That is 1.5 billion active iPhones on the planet, with the largest spending market on iPhones being the United States. There is no official demographic study on the users, but since the phones are more expensive than many alternatives, we can assume it is an affluent, and tech savvy audience. For many advertisers this is a very desirable, yet increasingly unreachable target market.

Apple is not only focused on delivering sleek designs and cutting-edge features but has also emerged as a trailblazer championing user privacy. Apple is focused on the removal of tracking devices across the internet which are not ‘opted IN’ by the user. ‘Opted IN’ is a very different equation than opting out. With opt-out settings, tracking is usually enabled by default, and users must take extra steps to disable it. Many users might not be aware of this feature or may find it inconvenient to navigate through settings to disable tracking.

On the other hand, the default is OFF with iPhone, and they want users to explicitly agree to allow apps and different companies to cross-track across devices and applications. Opt-in settings require users to take deliberate action to allow tracking, and some users may be hesitant to share their data due to concerns about privacy, data security, or potential misuse of their information. As a user, I can understand and appreciate this level of safety and privacy. As a marketer, this creates an enormous swath of issues as it leads a larger number of users to fall into the unadressable universe.

Nearly all web activity is tracked using cookie text files attached to browsers. These files act a bit like a number marker for a seal in a zoo, where companies with access to the information of the cookie can recognize that browser across websites. In the in-app world, phones were sharing access to the IDFA, or Identifier for Advertisers by Apple which is a persistent ID with the phone that is refreshed upon the phone restarting. It acts similar to cookies in allowing advertisers to track user behavior across different apps. Well, since 2020, cookies and cross-app tracking on iOS has moved to Opt-IN and the number of users which can be targeted and tracked on apple devices has fallen to under 15% of all users.

Many continue hanging onto the approach of layering third-party audience data across their campaigns, effectively excluding Apple users, or 22% of the population, from their efforts at default. In my previous post, Doesn’t anyone care about Apple Users?, I cite the results of an experiment we ran that shows digital campaigns targeted with third-party audience data reach Apple device on only 6% of impressions delivered.

There is no silver bullet or plan we can put in place which will ensure that we are finding the right user now on the web or in-app on Apple Devices, but our solution has been to focus on the zip code and the makeup of the users in the zip code. Embracing these privacy-focused changes not only aligns with user preferences but ensures meaningful engagement with Apple users.

The Pontiac ART analyzes all privacy compliant data including network, channel, publisher, app, full URL, & zip code from millions of bid requests each day plus first-party data from your website to build user behavior models to predict the ideal geo and inventory targeting combinations with the highest likelihood to reach users in your target audience profile. This allows us to create and export cookieless audiences that will index highly across the demographics & interests of the highest importance to your brand and can be used exclusively to reach Apple device users.

Learn more at the Pontiac Audience Research Tool.

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