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Digital Marketing Announcements from Apple’s WWDC

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has traditionally been a holiday in June for me. A lot of the time, I leave the keynote feeling hype about a new feature. Not this year. Unfortunately the Steve Jobs days of “One more thing” are largely a thing of the past.

 

In recent years, Apple has traded in the flashy announcements for incremental advancements in their product lines. I’m still an Apple fanboy to my core. But forgive me if I can’t get quite as excited about a 25-minute detour into Animoji. While Apple focuses crucial developer manpower on  – dare I say lame – goals like this, you wonder if the tech reigns have been passed back to Google and Microsoft.

 

Mini-rant complete.

 

Negativity aside, there were a few announcements today that may play a large role in digital marketing. The two biggest came in the forms of Safari Cookiesand Notification Bundling.

 

Safari Cookie Controls

For digital marketing, this could send shockwaves through the industry. The use of cookies is what fuels most off-page digital marketing efforts. Each time you visit a website, the website saves a small file on your computer called a cookie. With various advertising platforms, these cookies are the base of retargeting ads – those pesky ads that follow you around the web. By cutting off the supply of this data to advertisers like Facebook, this could dramatically change the approach of digital marketing.

 

It also must be remembered that Safari only has about a 22% market share of worldwide browsers while Chrome has about 48%. Even if Apple cuts off this marketing data, I would imagine it’d be unlikely for Google to follow Apple’s lead with Chrome. Since Google’s own Adwords technology relies heavily on the same technology, it would shoot itself in the foot to eliminate this data.

 

Lastly, Facebook is a billion dollar company with thousands of brilliant developers at their disposal. It’s unlikely they let the Facebook Pixel die this easily, but it might mean digital marketers will have to learn new techniques in the coming months or years.

 

Notification Bundling & Limiting

Another big digital marketing announcement came in the form of notification changes. In the latest update, Apple took a page out of Android’s book and will begin bundling notifications in iOS 12. You can chalk this up as a simple quality-of-life improvement, but it will dramatically change how companies interact with their customers.

 

Right now, if companies send 5 notifications, their users see 5 separate notifications. Since customers must now read each individual notification before deciding to engage with it or dismiss, it’s trickier to overlook notifications. However, with bundled notifications, a customer can immediately dismiss a whole stack of notifications without ever reading. This will significantly reduce the frequency and reach of these “ads”.

 

Apple also is making it easier to change an app’s notification settings right from the Notification Feed. Although this won’t significantly change a user’s abilities to change their preferences, it will make it easier. This means a user can more easily mute an infrequently-used app rather than simply ignore it. This means these advertising efforts can completely dry up if used ineffectively or annoyingly.

 

In conclusion…

Apple doubled down on software in this year’s Keynote. Their efforts will likely lead to a much cleaner, more personalized platform across all devices. However, as digital marketing professionals, we’ll need to keep a close eye on our metrics starting this fall and reconsider our approaches to both retargeted ads as well as notification marketing.

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