Privacy-first attribution and personalization is at the core of Button's platform and we're excited to see Apple make a bold move to push the industry in this direction.

It's no secret that ad-tech has lost its way — huge corporations building data mining and targeting operations that invade our privacy, spam our internet experience and add sometimes tens of seconds to every page load are driving billions of dollars of revenue for these giants.

The GDPR, which went into effect in 2018, provided a framework for how these corporations should treat their users, namely to provide transparency and choice regarding how user data would be used. While the GDPR has had success in forcing companies to improve their privacy disclosures and invest more resources in privacy compliance, European data regulators have been slow to enforce the law, and the companies at hand have mostly found ways to continue "doing what they were doing", but now with a cookie-consent dialog.

This year with iOS 14, Apple is using their position as a platform to do what no regulator has yet achieved — rapidly drive change across a huge cross-section of the industry towards privacy being a right for iOS users.

Your rights in Apple's world

In iOS 14, Apple has granted you, the user, some key rights in this digital world, to which they are gatekeeper:

  • The right to know what data an app stores about you
  • The right to know how an app identifies and tracks you
  • The right to opt out of a lot of that tracking

This very directly benefits the user, at the cost of many players in ads, ad-tech and, marketing. It's a bold move, and one that will receive push-back. It's also a move that Apple is uniquely positioned to be able to push forward and one that, in one form or another, has to happen.

Side-note — It's also a move that is very hard for Google to counter with their cloud-centralized technology and ad-based business.

Blog Post_Apple iOS14

Personalization and privacy aren't incompatible

Personalization is a word that can take many meanings, but at its best, personalization represents providing a better user experience by learning and understanding user interests, contextual relevance, and put simply, what a user may want.

The easy way, and the way that a generation of ad-tech companies has favored is to collect all of that data in one central place and rely on the advancements in machine learning and large scale data processing in the past decade to create enormous datasets of user demographic, engagement and other personal data to allow advertisers to target users.

That's not the only way.

At Button, we've spent the past six years building with a similar orientation to Apple in order to achieve our mission of crowning commerce as the presiding business model for mobile, not advertising. To do that, we need to offer attribution and personalization that scales across apps and provides personalized experiences based on interactions and context, not demographics and third-party datasets.

By building on two key principles, our platform doesn't require IDFA for attribution at all:

  1. Button attribution is built on deep linking. Deep linking provides a 100% on-device channel for attribution.
  2. On Button's platform, both companies are working together to achieve a result for a shared user, meaning no need to "reverse-engineer" user identity

Privacy-first personalization and attribution is at the core of Button's platform and we're excited to see Apple make a bold move to push the industry in this direction.

Good revenue

At Button, we often talk about "good revenue". Revenue that aligns our customers with their users. Revenue that brings a smile to users' faces while the business succeeds.

"Good revenue" is what the industry should align on when it comes to marketing and personalization. A test for "good revenue" is — do users understand what's happening, and are they okay with it?

Is this app listening to what we're saying to target ads?

This is a sign that it's not "good revenue".

Marketing at its core is not bad, but many of the practices that have emerged, candidly, are. As a broader industry we should take this opportunity to re-evaluate the role of privacy in our businesses and build towards "good revenue".

At Button, we are committed to the direction of building a better way, rather than finding some way to maintain the status quo. We strongly encourage our partners and peers to do the same and hope to be able to partner with many of you to do exactly that.