Apple iPad pits consumer privacy against advertising measurability

Marin Software, the paid-search marketing platform provider, has announced that online marketers are devising campaigns based on incorrect data. Its latest research revealed that 80% of paid search conversions on Apple's iOS devices are undercounted due to third-party tracking cookies being blocking by default.

The research, which looked to address the reliability of browser metrics, revealed that conversions made on Apple's iOS devices, such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, were the most inconsistent of all. Safari, Apple's primary browser across all devices, was undercounting 45% of paid search conversions. By comparison, the overall figure for undercounted conversions across all browsers was 36%.  

However, the study did show that the actual paid search conversion rates for iOS users were approximately 23% higher than Windows Internet Explorer users, so advertisers should bear in mind that the owners of these devices are more likely to make a purchase through search engines. Furthermore, the research revealed that up to 5% of converting paid search traffic across Marin's client base came from an iOS device.  

Ed Stevenson, Managing Director, EMEA & APAC, Marin Software comments, "Advertisers using vendor solutions that rely on redirects to determine data should evaluate the potential impact the undercounting issue identified in the research could have on their paid search campaigns. The inaccuracies in the data could be leading to incorrect bid calculations, meaning they are simply not getting the most from their campaigns."

"Similarly, despite the meteoric growth of the Apple iOS, marketers need to be wary that Apple's policy of blocking third-party cookies by default could significantly impact the way they are developing their campaigns. If advertisers are undercounting by up to 80% of the paid conversions on the iOS platform, then they can by no means accurately designate their ad spend. They therefore need to be addressing the situation and, other than transitioning to a first party tracking solution, should consider altering their metrics to account for the unattributed conversions, blocked by third-party tracking."

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