June 13, 2019
Apple continues the process of re-designing its browser for private web surfing. Privacy preserving ad click attribution was announced in the blog post (). Traditional ad click attribution works through cookies and ‘tracking pixels’. For example, you search for a product on a search engine, click on an ad, go to a vendor’s site, and maybe purchase an item. The vendor’s site sends tracking pixels back to t...he search engine every step of the way. Other sites with similar tracking pixels will also send data about your activities back to the search engine, whether you clicked on an ad or not. As a result, the search engine builds a detailed history of your actions and a database of interests, preferences, etc. Apple’s solution should try to stop sharing much of this information between sites. There are three steps for private web ads: 1) Store ad clicks on the site hosting the ad, 2) Match conversions against stored ad clicks, 3) Browser sends out ad click attribution data after a conversion matches an ad click with a randomized 24- to 48-hour delay. The delay would prevent individual profiling, but advertisers would be still able to determine the effectiveness of a campaign or pinpoint where potential issues may occur. This experimental feature is already available for trying and testing in Safari Technology Preview 82+. Apple also introduced Intelligent Tracking Protection, which eliminated the 24-hour period that browsers keep cookies in favour of a user opt-in, at WWDC in 2018. But other Do Not Track features have been removed from Safari this year because they were practically ineffective.