Apple roiled advertisers in 2021 with privacy changes. Here’s what 10 experts think it’ll do to disrupt the ad industry next.

When Apple announced in 2020 it was introducing a new privacy update that would allow users to opt out of being tracked via its Identifier for Advertisers, some people in the advertising industry thought Android's AdID would be the next to follow suit shoe to drop.

On Wednesday, Google announced its early-stage preparations for its version of Apple's privacy update. It set the countdown clock for its support of AdID at "at least two years." In the meantime, Google said it would work with the industry to develop new privacy-focused AdTech alternatives as part of its "Privacy Sandbox" initiative.

Now the ball is back in Apple's court.

Advertisers, app developers, and the tech vendors that connect then will be closely watching Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June for yet more privacy announcements.

"They are still pointing at a north star of stopping pervasive cross-app tracking," said an AdTech veteran who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press on behalf of their organization. "You can set your watch by it: They will make an announcement, I'm sure, at WWDC."

Insider spoke to 10 mobile ad industry experts who speculated on what could materialize at Apple's summer event. Their predictions varied from Apple turning the privacy screws more tightly to the company making further strides to strengthen its own advertising business.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple could launch its own version of Privacy Sandbox

As Google's Privacy Sandbox attempts to put its testing of privacy-focused ad tools out in the open, some experts speculated Apple might be doing something similar in private.

Madan Bharadwaj, CTO of analytics firm Measured, mused on whether Apple might have bigger plans for ad measurement, similar to the way that Google has posited grouping consumers into "cohorts," based around topics of interest, rather than being able to identify and target individual users.

Apple could be planning something more ambitious — perhaps even another crack at launching a broader advertising business. A recent job ad description, for example, said the company is "setting new standards for enabling effective advertising while protecting user privacy."


Unlock your marketing potential.

See how Measured can help you optimize your media investments to drive sales.