In a nutshell: Apple will be implementing a new way for advertisers to track ad campaigns in an upcoming version of Safari. The method will allow marketers to see how an ad placement is doing and monitor the number of conversions it generates without actually tracking the users that click the ad.
Apple is proposing the implementation of a new ad-tracking standard that would keep users truly private. It is called Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution and was detailed by Apple’s WebKit Security and Privacy Engineer John Wilander.
The standard would allow advertisers to track the effectiveness of their ads without tracking or profiling users. The browser would store tokenized ad clicks, while the advertiser's site tracks the number of transactions completed (conversions).
The browser then sends click attribution reports to the marketer in “private browsing mode” even if the user is in regular mode to stop cross-site tracking. These reports will be randomly delayed between 24 and 48 hours to prevent profiling. Of course, tracking cookies will be disallowed.
Using it involves adding two new attributes to an anchor: adDestination and adCampaignID. The former holds the advertiser’s domain location, while the latter identifies which ad was clicked.
The feature will be on by default in a future version of Safari. However, Wilander did not say when to expect it to be rolling out. Apple has submitted a proposal to the W3C Web Platform Incubator Community Group in hopes of it becoming a web standard rather than just a Safari feature.
It is unclear how enthusiastic advertisers will be over the unobtrusive marketing method. Advertisers are already unhappy that Apple has been blocking tracking cookies in iOS. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out once it is implemented in Safari.