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What Apple’s Sign In service means for advertisers

On Monday, Tim Cook took centre stage at Apple’s yearly WWDC event to announce a roster of new software and hardware updates (including the return of the cheese grater).

This yearly event is not only a huge deal for Apple geeks across the world, but for the tech industry as a whole, as the company is notorious for shaking up how things are done.

An announcement that has been overlooked by many in the tech scene this year was the announcement of Apple’s very own Sign In service. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the service is essentially a security tool which uses your iPhone to verify your credentials, stopping you from being tracked online.

It also goes as far as creating a fake email address for you when you sign up which redirects to your actual email (confused, so were we, rather than trying to explain it we’ll let the pros break it down for you).

So why should the advertising industry care?

Well, there are many reasons why this update could shake things up, but the main two that come to mind (we’re keeping this short as we know you should really be getting back to that piece of work you’re putting off) are changes to ID and privacy commitments. Let’s look at the good and not so good of each…


The good: Many of the stories around privacy that have hit the headlines over the past few years have been around bad practices with data. The GDPR and the impending CCPA have been brought in to eliminate these but we are still hearing of data breaches by some of the world’s leading tech companies (Facebook, Microsoft and Google to name a few) in the news on a regular basis.

Not having to part with your personal data will mean many companies will no longer need to hold personal information on file, (hopefully) meaning our personal data is kept…well more personal!

The not so good: For many companies, knowing who is using your app/service is extremely important as it allows you to see and learn from your audience, which in turn helps guide the route your app/service takes. By taking this away many companies will be left in the dark.

Privacy commitments

The good: This announcement marks Apple’s commitment to privacy and sends a message that they are stepping up and making security a priority for its consumers.

We predict a lot of the big tech companies to follow suit, resulting in the creation of more barriers, which will expose and put an end to many of the shady practices carried out by bad players in the ad market.

The not so good: Companies that work in the advertising space already have to jump through a large number of hoops and adhere to a long list of guidelines in order to practice their craft.

As more and more privacy services are created by different players in the market, companies are going to have to ensure they are not only following the right guidelines to operate in the market but also the specific guidelines of working with each operating system/device.


Once this feature is rolled out it will be interesting to see what the impact will be. To close we’ll leave you with the wise words of Unruly’s Product Compliance Director, Kelly Jacobson Collins.

“In the same way that in 1960s America, motor safety became a feature to compete on, rather than a regulation that stymied the auto industry, privacy has become a point of innovation and competition between the big media companies and who better than Apple to lead the way forward. Apple has the advantage of having built a revenue stream which isn’t dependent on advertising and the data which propels it unlike many of its competitors.”

“In terms of its impact on the advertising ecosystem overall, the shift is likely to be from people with Apple devices using a convenient single sign-on service with Apple rather than Google or Facebook and so, in my opinion, it’s about a rejigging of power between Apple, Google and Facebook rather than a loss of data to the overall ad ecosystem.”