The latest iOS9 update comes with apps that can block not just advertisements but also analytics tools from accessing lots of user behavioural data when using the Safari browser. Content marketing these days depends a lot on analytics like the number of page loads or the pixels where most of the activities take place and the number of clicks coming from different users. Content marketers and business owners use these tools to gauge the efficacy of their content and then make changes accordingly. As content marketing evolves, more and more of it depends on analytics data churned out by tools like Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Inbounce, Optimizely and ClickTale.
All these tools can be blocked with the iOS9 ad blocker apps such as Crystal and Purify. How does this matter?
Although globally, according to this link, the usage of the Safari browser is 12.37%, in the US, it’s share is well over 48.8%. It’s not that everyone who uses Safari is going to block ads and analytics tools, but even if a major chunk does, it can change the way you analyse your content marketing data. This Marketing Land report on the topic explains exactly how it is going to affect the various ad serving and web analytics tools. According to this The Next Web blog post:
That means there could be a crisis for marketing tools on the horizon if content blockers gain any sort of traction on iOS. There are hundreds of popular tools that marketing professionals use that could simply cease to be useful if mobile users disappear from their grasp altogether.
Google Analytics is widely used by both large and small companies to measure site traffic and learn more about the type of people visiting — with iOS 9 content blockers, it may become a lot harder to get a real picture of how many visitors are truly browsing a website or learn where they came from.
Optimizely, a tool used by companies to perform so-called ‘A/B testing,’ a method where a percentage of users are selected to see a tweaked version of a site to see if proposed changes perform better, also no longer works when a content blocker is installed.
Without A/B testing tools, companies that leverage such methods to learn about their visitors’ habits will be forced to guess whether a change is working well or not without the hard data that is normally collected before making a tweak.
Publishers like the New York Times, which rely on accurate traffic data to sell advertising may be acutely affected as visitor numbers appear to drop in number, when in reality they’re largely remaining the same.
Is it all doom for content marketing analytics? Not necessarily, according to this Adobe Digital Marketing blog post:
Although this new functionality is making headlines, it is not going to change things overnight. The most important thing to know is that content blockers are off by default. A set of APIs was released with iOS 9 to allow developers to create an ad blocking add-in — there is nothing enabled by default. In this regard, they are actually catching up with other browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer), so the effect should be nominal.
Customers must enable content blocking within Safari’s Settings and then download and use a third-party app that will perform the content blocking for them. As noted in Apple’s pre-release notes, “not all iOS devices are supported that can run iOS 9: only those with 64-bit processors. This excludes the iPhone 4s, 5, and 5c; the iPad 2, 3rd-generation iPad, and 4th-generation iPad; 1st-generation iPad mini; and the 5th-generation iPod touch. All later devices work.”
Data crunching can help you only up till a particular level and after that you have to use your own logic and this is where, it might be actually a good news for experienced content marketing experts who use their own intelligence rather than depending on data analytics tools.