Criteo continues to soar high above the scrum of ad tech stocks. The company had a characteristically strong Q2, growing revenue ex-TAC by 32% to $220 million.
Yet, “uncertainties” lie ahead, notably around Apple’s recent reveal that, come September, an update to its OS will include a feature affecting all Safari web browsers, called Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
That tracking change could put a considerable dent in the attribution models for vendors like Criteo, which retarget users cross-platform and which rely on cookie data to create links between the desktop and other devices.
Although Criteo was mum when Apple first announced the change in early June, CEO Eric Eichmann addressed the blind spot that Intelligent Tracking Prevention could create during the company’s Q2 earnings call on Wednesday.
“Intelligent Tracking Prevention will make it harder for third-party providers to access data around Safari users, which could have broad-based impact on the ecosystem,” he said.
Although Eichmann claims Criteo has a “proven track record” of successfully adapting to technology disruptions (read: header bidding), the company’s Q4 outlook remains murky.
“There’s still quite a bit of question marks on our side,” he said. “If you think about cookies and the broad impact they have, not just on targeted ads, but the browser experience, it’s easy for you to break a lot of things.”
For example, some publishers rely on cookies to power authentication around their services. And it will be incumbent upon digital platforms and tech partners to rejigger controls around opt-outs in a more tracking-restricted environment.
“What Apple is trying to do is to provide a good experience around consumer privacy, which we support, but we think there needs to be an identifier (like IDFA) that works across all environments, including Safari,” he said.
“There are a number of ways to store data that don’t rely on passing of cookies, which we’re evaluating,” he added. “But, [given the] uncertainty, it had made us approach Q4 with more caution.”
More to come.
This post was syndicated from Ad Exchanger.