Navigating Apple’s New Privacy Update: Maintaining Reliable, Accurate Tracking - CAKE Google+
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Navigating Apple’s New Privacy Update: Maintaining Reliable, Accurate Tracking

Link Tracking Protection


Apple recently announced a host of important privacy and security updates including the introduction of Link Tracking Protection, set to impact the fall 2023 release of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and watchOS 10. This latest privacy feature eliminates user-identifiable tracking parameters from links found in Messages, the Mail app, and Safari Private Browsing. Fortunately, CAKE is seasoned in navigating browser updates, and implementing innovative and effective solutions that equip customers with the measurement tools they need to continue maximizing ROI.

While the privacy and security enhancements offer consumers reassurance regarding their personal data, the updates can present a tracking and measurement dilemma for digital marketers.

In this blog, we highlight the effects of the privacy updates on tracking capabilities and share our recommended (and vetted) solutions that ensure accurate, reliable, and uninterrupted tracking.

The impact – Link Tracking Protection in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing


With Link Tracking Protection, Apple will remove user-identifiable query string parameters (e.g. Google’s Click Identifier (GCLID), Facebook Click Identifier (FBCLID), etc.) appended to URLs in links shared within the Messages and Mail apps, plus Safari Private Browsing.

While the links will continue to work, the removal of user-identifiable tracking parameters makes it exceedingly difficult for marketers to track users across various websites. As a result, measuring conversions, leveraging attribution, and delivering a personalized ad experience becomes more challenging.

It’s important to note that Apple’s Link Tracking Protection only impacts user-identifiable parameters and it does not remove standard UTM parameters (e.g. utm_source, utm_medium, etc.), or custom parameters (e.g. ckmreqid which is the CAKE Request ID) from links.

The solution – Direct Linking and first-party cookies


After completing extensive testing in Apple’s Beta Program, we’ve identified two CAKE solutions that equip customers with the most effective tools to maintain accurate measurement. Our team continues to monitor the release and will provide timely updates and new recommendations as needed.

Additionally, we encourage all customers to test their custom parameters and implementation within Apple’s Beta Program to confirm that our recommendations align with your unique business model. You can register for the Beta Program here.

Below are the recommended approaches:


Best approach – Direct Linking

Our recommended approach to ensure seamless and accurate tracking is to use Direct Linking.

CAKE’s Direct Linking feature is a form of click tracking that sends a consumer to a landing page URL with appended query string tracking parameters instead of redirecting through a tracking link. Direct Linking enables affiliates to send individuals straight to the advertiser’s landing page from an ad, email, or marketing campaign and attribute conversions and performance back to the affiliate who generated the traffic.

To ensure accurate tracking in compliance with Apple’s privacy and security release, leveraging page-based attribution in lieu of links containing user-identifiable tracking parameters is the best path forward.


Alternate approach – First-party cookies

If Direct Linking is not a viable option, a suitable alternative is to use first-party tracking. First-party tracking uses cookies to track and attribute user interactions within a single website. This method does not offer the same level of cross-channel tracking that Direct Linking provides, it does however, give users the ability to track conversions and performance.

Navigating the privacy updates together


We fundamentally believe that consumer privacy, data security, and accurate measurement can coexist and remain committed to continue delivering on our promise of providing the most effective, secure, and reliable platform available to our customers.

Our team is readily available to help you navigate Apple’s privacy and security release and find the solution that works best for your business.

Connect with our support team here, or reach out to your customer success manager directly. We look forward to helping you!