iOS 17: What Is It – And How Does It Impact Marketing?

iOS 17: What Is It – And How Does It Impact Marketing?

Apple has recently announced its latest update: iOS 17.

But what is it – and how will it impact marketing and our ability to measure activity?

Here’s everything we know about iOS 17 so far.

What is iOS 17?

iOS 17 is the latest release from Apple.

Following their previous updates, including iOS 14.5 which impacted tracking across Apple devices and iOS 15 which impacted email marketing, iOS 17 will feature another new privacy update that will disrupt marketing attribution.

What is the iOS 17 release date?

Although there is no official date for iOS 17’s release, based on previous releases (iOS 16 came out on September 16, 2022, and iOS 15 in September 12, 2021), it seems likely that iOS 17 will be released sometime in September 2023.

In the meantime, iOS 17 is still available to test, with the first developer beta released in June 2023. And the first public beta is due to be released in July 2023.

How will iOS 17 impact marketers?

As with their previous iOS updates, iOS 17 is going to bring some serious challenges for marketers.

The main one being the removal of tracking parameters from URLs.

iOS 17 removes tracking parameters

One of the core features of iOS 17 is Link Tracking Protection.

This is a new feature which is automatically activated in Apple devices across:

  • Mail
  • Messages
  • Safari in Private Browsing mode

It detects user-identifiable tracking parameters within URLs and automatically removes them.

iOS 17 removes tracking parameters

What tracking parameters does iOS 17 remove?

The parameters iOS 17 will remove from tracking URLs are:

  • __hsfp
  • __hssc
  • __hstc
  • __s
  • _hsenc
  • _openstat
  • dclid
  • fbclid
  • gclid
  • hsCtaTracking
  • igshid
  • mc_eid
  • mkt_tok
  • ml_subscriber
  • ml_subscriber_hash
  • msclkid
  • oly_anon_id
  • oly_enc_id
  • rb_clickid
  • s_cid
  • twclid
  • vero_conv
  • vero_id
  • wickedid
  • yclid

iOS 17’s impact on attribution

Marketers have a lot of measurement challenges to navigate right now – in the age of increasing privacy concerns.

And iOS 17 is just another on the list.

By removing tracking parameters from links, it’s going to become even more difficult to track users across their multi-touch journey.

For advertisers, it also means that Google Click Identifiers (GCLID) & Meta (FBCLID) in hyperlinks from ad clicks can no longer be relied upon.

The good news is this change only impacts browsers using Safari on private mode.

Our own internal research has also shown that this new change doesn’t impact email (yet).

The bad news is that iOS is almost 30% of the worldwide mobile share. So, if even a small percentage of those are using Safari private mode for browsing, that’s a huge audience you could lose out on tracking.

Users will also have the option to select ‘All Browsing’, within their settings, which will disable tracking from URLs during all sessions.

What can you do about iOS 17?

Things are very much still up in the air when it comes to iOS 17 and the impact it will have on our marketing efforts.

The best thing we can do is to keep an eye on the latest updates and best prepare our tracking and measurement with the information provided.

Another thing to keep in mind is that use of compliant probabilistic stitching of events will still be able to offer accurate, safe, and valuable analytics for understanding your new customer conversion paths. The revolutionary tech in Corvidae allows us to do this for our clients – and we’re pretty proud of it.

Get in touch with a member of our team if you’d like to discuss how we can help you combat iOS 17’s impact on measurement. Or, you can keep up to date with all the latest marketing attribution news by subscribing to our blog below.