YouTube for iOS to ask users for permission to track activity for personalized ads

Changes Align with Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Policy, launched in 2021.

YouTube for iOS to ask users for permission to track activity for personalized ads

YouTube will begin displaying a one-time permission prompt to users, complying with Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy introduced with iOS 14.5 in 2021.

The prompt will ask users: "Allow 'YouTube' to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites?" Users will have two options:

  • Allow: Selecting "Allow" grants YouTube permission to link user activity within the app with activity on non-Google apps and websites. This allows for more personalized advertising and ad measurement. According to YouTube, this can lead to a "high-quality, helpful ads experience" with ads that better reflect user interests. The company also suggests that allowing this tracking ultimately benefits creators on the platform by enabling better ad measurement.
  • Ask App Not to Track: Selecting "Ask App Not to Track" maintains the current user experience. In this case, user activity within the YouTube app is not linked with activity on non-Google apps and websites for ad personalization or measurement. This may result in "less personalized" ads that are "less relevant and more repeated."

Who will wee the prompt?

The prompt will not be shown to all YouTube users on iOS. YouTube Premium subscribers and users with child accounts will not be prompted for permission.

Users who choose "Allow" can expect to see more relevant and personalized advertising within the YouTube app. This is because ad targeting will consider user activity across a wider range of apps and websites. Users who choose "Ask App Not to Track" will likely experience less relevant ads and may see the same ads more frequently.

Users can change their selection at any time by navigating to Settings > Privacy & Security > Tracking within the iOS settings menu. It's important to note that this setting only applies to YouTube and third-party apps/websites. Google, as a first-party advertiser, can still show personalized ads based on other settings within your Google account.

This prompt and user selection do not affect the linking of activity across other Google apps (iOS and non-iOS) and websites with non-Google apps and websites. Additionally, it does not affect the use of activity data from both the YouTube iOS app and other Google apps and websites to personalize ads, depending on your Google personalized ads settings.

This change comes amidst ongoing discussions around user privacy and data collection practices within the online advertising industry. Apple's ATT policy requires app developers to request user permission for tracking activity across apps and websites. YouTube's new prompt aligns with this policy and gives users more control over their data and the type of advertising they see within the YouTube app.

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