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Apple’s privacy changes signal of desire to enter advertising

Apple’s recent changes to the privacy of iPhones are a sign that it may appear to enter an Internet advertising market dominated by Facebook and Google, says an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
Since a software update in April, most iPhones have allowed users to decide which apps can track user activity – crucial information that helps companies like Facebook deliver tailored ads to users and measure their impact.
The feature, which Apple calls App Tracking Transparency (ATT), has worried many digital advertisers and mobile gaming companies, including Facebook, which says it has made it more expensive and difficult for brands to advertise on its platforms.
“We view (confidential changes) as a sign that Apple may be competing in global advertising,” RBC analyst Brad Erickson said in a client note late Thursday, launching coverage of Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet with “outperform” ratings. .
Erickson is rated four stars for the accuracy of its earnings estimates on Internet businesses and recommendations, according to Refinitiv data.
“(Apple) can use data protection as coverage while investing in a behind-the-scenes search algorithm,” Erickson said, referring to potential ad revenue from a Google-like search engine.
If advertisers had “no choice but to fly blind with the loss of signal from Apple,” Google-owned YouTube and Amazon’s Connected TV could benefit from advertisers’ second-best alternatives, Erickson said.
Evercore ISI analysts also pointed to Apple’s possible advertising ambitions in August, saying “inhibiting third-party advertising” would give it a successful start to advertising. Still, they noted that ATT was intended for users’ privacy rather than revenue generation.
Apple, Facebook and Alphabet did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

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