Goodbye remarketing? This is the impact Apple's anti-tracking system will have in Belgium.

by Michel Demoor

Is this the end of reMARKETING?


Yesterday Apple announced that the new version of Safari that comes with iOS 11 (available as from today) will have a very specific feature. It comes with a machine learning tool for blocking third-party ad trackers. The latest version of Safari will identify and block any cookies used to track users across the internet.


This is very disruptive news for internet advertising since the popular retargeting ads (or remarketing ads) are based on the cookie system... and Apple has now declared war on the cookies.


What is remarketing again?


Remarketing is 'following' people across the internet (via Facebook, ad space on several websites, using Google or YouTube ads, ...) once they have visited a page on your website. If people visit this page, they'll get linked with a cookie. The cookie will make sure you are eligible to be targeted for ads with a very specific image on you visiting the necessary page. Remarketing is a great tool to use in lead generation.


To understand how much impact this would have on our Belgian advertising scene, we started collecting the necessary numbers.


How many web visits are done by Safari in Belgium?


In short, Safari has a market share of around 28,4% of all traffic in Belgium. This means that more than 1 out of 4 visits will be blocked from retargeting in the near future...


Our calculation: to know for which percentage of the web traffic Safari accounts in Belgium we calculated the [Market share Safari per Device] * [Share of Visits per Device].


  • Market share of Safari in Belgium (versus US) via
    • Desktop: 12,16% (10,39%)
    • Mobile: 35,08% (51,66% !!)
    • Tablet: 68,75% !! (69,39%)
  • Share of web visits by Device in Belgium via Semetis
    • Desktop: 45%
    • Mobile: 44%
    • Tablet: 11%

(also see paragraph on ad blockers below to calculate the net effect)


Facebook and Google will become even stronger...!


Yes, stronger. Because the anti-tracking system focuses on 3rd party cookies primarily. Safari deactivates the cookie if the website wasn't visited in the past 24 hours and deletes it after 30 days. Now Google and Facebook are being visited every day by most of its users, so their cookies won't be deactivated!! This makes their position in relation to other Ad networks a lot more powerful...




How popular is ad blocking?


To calculate the net effect of the anti-tracking feature in Safari, we also need to take the existing use of ad blockers into account. In Belgium, 25% of surfers would have installed ad blockers. Looking at the Millenials (16-24 yo), we are talking about half of the youngsters using ad blockers (source Digimedia).

And as you know, Facebook doesn't allow ad blockers on their website (nor in their mobile app off course). So another reason why this is good news for the web monopolists :-)


Will this impact your marketing budgets for 2017? Let us know ...



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