2021.06.11 Last Week in Digital Media


Welcome to your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:


Apple held its developer conference during the week (WWDC), and there was a lot of news in the privacy space, almost worthy of a newsletter in and of itself. I’m going to try and do it justice while keeping it brief.

During the developer sessions, Apple previewed plans for iOS 15, many of which take further steps to protect user privacy. iOS 15 privacy updates include:

  • the iOS default Mail app lets users block pixel tracking. Impacting everyone from newsletter writers (hello!) to marketers as you will no longer reliably know open rates. Want to know how big this could be? According to some research, 67% of emails are opened and read on iOS devices. Email open rates on iOS exceed Apple’s actual device market share.
  • a private relay (possibly a VPN) for iCloud subscribers, now termed iCloud+ that will mask the device IP address and encrypt network traffic. Making IP address targeting no longer an option, at least for some percentage of iOS users (it’s not clear if it also would work on Apple TV devices, which would have a knock-on effect for addressable TV advertising)
  • an App Privacy Report dashboard, so you can see in one place which apps have been tracking you and what data they have collected/last accessed.

There’s a summary from Apple of the iOS 15 privacy updates here.

While all of the above is a sign that Apple continues to market privacy as a feature, it’s not a global offering. The private relay offering will not be available in China and several other countries. A further sign that the splinternet is real and forcing companies to compromise.

Not everything was privacy-related; there are some cool updates to Shazam with an API called ShazamKit. But for a full wrap on everything and what the latest Apple Developer conference means for marketers, check out the IPG Media Lab blog.



  • the internet became 50% more brand safe on Monday when half of the internet went effectively offline for an hour due to a bug in a Content Distribution Network. Jokes aside, a reminder to check any impact on campaign delivery and performance impacts for Monday from US 6 AM ET – 7 AM ET.
  • if you or someone you know has been subject to online harassment via search terms, Google is making plans to downrank content that is slanderous or deliberately tries to game SEO to hold people hostage for removal of slanderous, embarrassing, or content solely intended to damage personal reputations.
  • algorithmic transparency is a hot topic these days. Instagram has attempted to provide some details on how the Instagram algorithm works in a detailed blog post. It’s a good read because it looks at the main Feed, Explore, and Reels and both personally and professionally useful to understand why some posts thrive and others don’t.

Have a great week


PS. The distraction of the week is this old (previously shared a few years back), but an interesting site called MoralMachine which gets you to make moral decisions for self-driving cars. Your data is used to inform AI models.

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