According to a new report, Apple has benefited enormously from its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature.
Apple introduced ATT as a way for users to opt-out of being tracked across apps and services. Under the program, app developers are required to request permission to track users. While many privacy advocates celebrated the move, other companies warned that Apple’s plans would harm them and give Apple an unfair advantage.
According to a new report by Appsumer, that appears to be exactly what has happened, with Apple benefiting immensely from its ATT policy at the cost of more established players.
“The key headline is the comparison between Meta and Apple Search Ads’ (ASA) advertiser adoption and share-of-wallet changes YoY,” writes Appsumer’s Simon Whittick. “ASA joined the duopoly of Meta and Google at the top table of advertiser adoption as it grew adoption nearly four percentage points YoY to 94.8%, while Meta adoption declined three percentage points to 82.8%.”
“This trend also played out with share-of-wallet as ASA gained five percentage points YoY reaching a 15% share, whilst Meta declined four percentage points YoY, still finishing significantly ahead with a 28% share,” Whittick continues. “Meta also recovered share-of-wallet when comparing Q4 21 to Q2 22, suggesting that they’re starting to recover from initial ATT headwinds. Google remained fairly steady on both metrics as most of their inventory sits on the Android platform.”
The report is bad news for Apple, as it puts the company’s pro-privacy stance in a different light. The company has already faced antitrust scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions as a result of ATT, with regulators worried it gives the Cupertino company an unfair advantage — which the report shows it clearly does.
Of course, none of this would be a problem if Apple wasn’t in the advertising business to begin with. As we have stated many times at WPN, it’s both expected and fair for a free service to rely on advertising to support it. It’s an entirely different thing for a company that already charges a premium for its products and services to then subject its users to ads in an effort to squeeze every last bit of value it can.
Unfortunately, Apple seems to have lost sight of this and is greatly expanding its advertising business, with plans to bring more ads to iPhones, iPads, and Macs. As long as the company continues to try to have its cake and eat it too, by enforcing ATT and still running its own ad business, the company will continue to be plagued with antitrust concerns.