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Apple’s iOS Update has Changed Influencer and Affiliate Marketing

Last Modified: February 13, 2023


You may have noticed that user privacy has taken over the digital advertising conversation lately. This reckoning with the ways in which technology companies track consumer behavior online is long overdue — but new changes on this front may impact your influencer and affiliate marketing program.

With Apple’s iOS update, iOS 14.5, attribution for mobile performance marketing has fundamentally changed. It used to be that users were given an option to opt-out of data-collection on iPhones. Now they will be required to opt-in to data-collection. Since very few people are likely to give this consent, the IDFA (iOS Advertising Device ID) is essentially no longer a reliable identifier of users.

So, what does this mean for brands?

Third-party tracking is out, user privacy is in.

Apple is essentially taking attribution in-house, and they’re doing it to ensure user privacy — which is great! But you may have to take some steps to protect your brand’s campaigns.

Third-party cookies have become increasingly unreliable, and are now at risk of being blacklisted. Google has also announced its own third-party cookie ban, impacting its Chrome browser, so if you are relying on this technology to track and attribute affiliate sales, you need to adapt your influencer and affiliate marketing strategy sooner rather than later.

Focus on first-party data.

Here’s the good news: if you’re already using first-party tracking to attribute affiliate sales, this iOS update won’t impact your brand.

Refersion’s tracking technology is privacy compliant and does not rely on third-party cookies to attribute affiliate conversions. So if you use our performance marketing platform, you’re all set.

With Refersion, influencers remain private to each of our clients’ affiliate marketing programs, and each influencer receives their own dashboard with relevant information like conversion triggers, payment information, and brand creatives. Our approach to tracking is extremely secure, and since we act as a creator and processor of our clients’ data, we do not share any data with third parties without client approval — giving them full control over their tracking data.

At Refersion, we work diligently to enable the best interactions for brands and influencers, and take our responsibility as a technology facilitator seriously.

Of course, with every update like this, we test thoroughly as betas become available — to ensure that no changes are needed on our end. We’re paying close attention and will post about any important new changes as they come.

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey