About the Author
retro
Haydee Fernandez
Associate Director, Customer Benchmarking & Recommendations

Apple's iOS17 Release: Introduction to Link Tracking Protection (LTP) and its impact on email deliverability

Apple’s recent iOS17 update brings changes that impact email marketing strategies 

Two years ago, Apple released iOS15 and disrupted the email marketing world with Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). That happened in September of 2021, and to this day we are still working with clients to shift their mindset on email “engagement.” 

Apple just released iOS17, and LTP is included! With this new feature, Apple is shaking up the traditional landscape of online advertising and analytics. While we are still learning and understanding how these changes will fully impact marketers, it is still important to share and understand the changes we can anticipate. Below are some highlights that discuss what LTP is and its initial impact on email marketing.  

What is LTP? 

During Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 5th, 2023, they announced the launch of iOS17 and its new security features, including Link Tracking Protection (LTP). LTP is a new privacy feature automatically activated in Mail, Messages and Safari Private Browsing. It detects user-identifiable tracking parameters in link URLs and automatically removes them.  

Which parameters will be stripped? 

LTP will be stripping away certain URL tracking parameters, while leaving the remainder of the URL intact, as shown in this video from Apple. Some blogs are reporting that the URL tracking parameters Apple will strip are being sourced from privacytests.org. Stripping these URL tracking parameters will make it harder for marketers to accurately attribute website visits or conversions back to specific campaigns, as well as limit the ability to create personalized content and retarget previous website visitors. 

It is important to note that LTP does not target UTM parameters. This is because the UTM parameters are not used to track individual user clicks, and Apple’s main privacy concern is the custom advertising click parameters appended to the links that can divulge personal information. The UTM parameters only serve as tools for marketers to understand the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and identify the sources that drive web traffic. Blocking specific URL tracking parameters/queries in links aims to prevent personal information leakage rather than hinder marketing efforts. 

Example of LTP URL tracking parameter stripping 

BEFORE LTP: https://example.com/ad_engagement?click_id=YmVhODI1MmzMNGU&campaign_id=23  

AFTER LTP: https://example.com/ad_engagement?campaign_id=23  

What is the possible impact on email marketing? 

Apple’s iOS17 is just the latest example of Apple’s commitment to blocking the use of technologies that track individual user behavior, as per their Tracking Prevention Policy.  

While it’s clear that the introduction of LTP will impact marketers, we won’t understand the full extent of those changes and challenges until the full iOS17 public rollout this Fall. What we do know is to expect some impact for users on Apple Mail, Apple Messages and Safari (private browsing mode only). Conversely, there should be NO impact on the following: non-Safari browsers (Chrome, Firefox), standard Safari browsing, standard UTM parameters, custom parameters, and some vendor-specific click IDs. 

At Cendyn, our teams are constantly tracking new updates and releases that can impact the ability of our clients and other marketers to measure the success of their campaigns. The biggest take away from this announcement is to not panic or make any significant strategy adjustments until more is known about the future of LTP and its adoption by Apple users. If there are any additional announcements about expected impacts of Apple’s Fall Release you need to know, we’ll post additional updates right here in Cendyn’s resource library. 

If you'd like guidance on email deliverability, contact us at 

info@cendyn.com