July 14, 2024

Apple on Wednesday kicked off a new ad campaign to promote its key privacy features and eventually convince people to pick an iPhone over the competition. Themed ‘Data Auction’ where an auctioneer is seen selling data of a user, the ad highlights the fact that how people nowadays are losing their personal data at different stages and through various resources, including emails, messages, and browser history. It portrays Apple’s App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection as some of the inbuilt features to help protect data tracking. The given offerings aren’t that foolproof, though.

The over one-and-a-half-minute ad begins with introducing protagonist Ellie whose data has been put on auction. The auctioneer puts different types of Ellie’s data on sale. It includes her emails, purchase history, location data, contacts, browser history, and text messages.

Advertisers and marketers capture data from various resources to understand user patterns. The Cupertino company claims that it designs its products and features in a way to “minimise how much of your data” anyone can access.

The ad, which is the second after the last privacy campaign released last year, shows that once Ellie turns on App Tracking Transparency by asking apps to “not track” activity for sharing with advertisers or data brokers. The feature was brought to users in April last year — after some delay due to implementation concerns.

Although Apple says that the feature lets users choose whether an app can track their activity across other apps and websites for advertising and sharing patterns with data brokers, it was recently found to be not foolproof and could still allegedly allow developers to track users.

The ad also demonstrates the Mail Privacy Protection feature that is claimed to protect information such as your IP address and other data when you send an email to a recipient. It works with the preloaded Mail app that is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices.

Apple additionally has features including Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari and Location Services privacy controls that were recently introduced to enhance privacy of iPhone users. The purpose of the ad is to emphasise on these offerings — to eventually convince people to buy an iPhone.

The recent privacy updates have already helped Apple to not just expand its iPhone market but also grow its advertising business as new clients are approaching the company to serve their ads to iPhone users.

Nevertheless, Google is following in the footsteps of Apple for the last few months and implementing certain similar changes to Android to make it a strong competitor against iOS — from the privacy perspective. The Mountain View, California-headquartered company just earlier this week released a campaign called ‘Protected by Android’ to highlight its native privacy-focussed changes on the world’s biggest mobile operating system to take on Apple.

Privacy enhancements available on both iOS and Android are making it easier for users to restrict tracking on their devices. However, advertisers, data brokers, and marketers are exploring new ways to break the system-level restrictions and find avenues to continue to track users to some extent — to retain their ad businesses. The privacy barriers are, though, resulting in cost burdens for companies including Meta and Snap that were previously using activity tracking to target the masses as it has become harder for them to do so nowadays.

That said, the new ad campaign by Apple has started running in 24 countries in total and will be translated in languages other than English in select markets to reach a large number of audiences. The company will also place new billboards in every country where the ad is running to better reach its potential customers.