Mobile App Terminology

Private Relay

What is Private Relay?

Private Relay is a feature in Apple’s Safari browser that helps to protect user privacy. It prevents websites from tracking users online via unique identifiers such as IP addresses, and instead provides them with an anonymous, randomized address. This allows users to browse without being tracked and ensures that their browsing data is kept private.

Essentially, it provides a VPN, or virtual private network, for some of the data communication between your phone and the internet.

Private Relay is relevant to marketing because it protects the privacy of users and prevents companies from tracking their online activity. This means that companies cannot gather data on user behavior which can be used to target them with ads. As a result, marketers must find more creative ways of reaching their target audience, such as through content marketing or influencer marketing.

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How is Private Relay used?

Private Relay is used by turning on the feature in the Safari browser. Once enabled, it automatically provides users with an anonymous, randomized address whenever they visit a website. This prevents websites and advertisers from tracking user activity and gathering data on their behavior. 

Private Relay has a major impact on websites and apps, as it means that websites and apps cannot use IP address data to target users with ads or tailor content to them. As a result, companies must find other ways to reach their target audience and build relationships with customers.

Not all mobile carriers are fans of Apple’s Private Relay, as TrustedReviews writes:

Mobile UK, a trade association that includes EE, Virgin Media O2, Three and Vodafone, recently banded together to write a letter to the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), sharing their concerns about Private Relay.  The group warned that encrypting traffic could compromise the content filtering, malware, anti-scamming and phishing protection services that networks offer to customers.

Apple’s Private Relay was designed to prevent advertisers from using a common tracking method called “fingerprinting.” This involves collecting data on users that have interacted with an advertisement, such as IP addresses, device type, and location. This data is then used to create a unique device identifier for each user, allowing them to track their engagement with the brand. As Private Relay masks the user’s IP address, it renders this tracking method useless.

It is worth noting that many of the major platforms such as Google and Facebook have already barred the use of fingerprinting. As highlighted in our article on Private Relay, only 25% of iOS users can currently be tracked via this method. Even though this may not seem like much, it still accounts for a significant number of people.

The implications of Private Relay on web-to-app attribution are also quite significant. This is a strategy used by app marketers to attract users to their website and then direct them to the app. However, with Private Relay they must come up with alternative ways to collect first-party data (e.g. asking for email or phone number) in order to connect with their customers or users and provide a seamless experience. 

In conclusion, Private Relay makes it more difficult for marketers to track users, enhancing people’s privacy.

How does Singular work with Private Relay?

As a leader in mobile attribution, Singular enables marketers to effectively track and attribute their marketing efforts, without violating privacy features like Private Relay. For example, as John Koetsier writes, this has resulted in a shift to SKAdNetwork attribution:

Fingerprinting attempts are a violation of Apple’s privacy guidelines for mobile app tracking, and are getting less and less viable. More marketers are buying in to privacy-safe attribution via Apple’s SKAdNetwork framework.

In order to facilitate this, Singular provides a SKAdNetwork attribution solution that marketers can use to optimize the performance fo their marketing efforts and achieve the highest ROI possible.

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