Go Ahead, Track Me!

Like any iOS 14.5 user, it’s hard to not look at the prompt and say “of course I don’t want you to track me!” Industry experts estimate that only one in four people choose to allow tracking.

Yes, tracking provides a great opportunity for an advertiser — the ability to target ads based on browsing history, more granular interest data, and in many cases shopping habits. 

But left out of the conversation is the value to the consumer. I performed a test where I asked Facebook not to track my activity across other companies’ apps and websites, and then went back to allowing them to track. 

The results were in some cases bizarre. Several days after turning off tracking, I started to receive strange ads: solutions medical conditions I don’t have, others for ear cleaning solutions, and some for the most obnoxious sunglasses I’ve ever seen. To be clear, these misguided targeting methods are not completely the fault of Facebook – the advertiser didn’t do their research on their ideal demo and ended up wasting ad dollars.

When I turned tracking back on, the ads became relevant again. Clothing I would consider buying, tickets to concerts I would actually enjoy, and even a discount deal on a vacation to Hilton Head. Who says no?

In summary – when you opt out of tracking, your user experience could change dramatically, and not for the better. As we navigate the new normal, keep in mind that privacy and results are not mutually exclusive. As with most things, the answer lies somewhere in between