Apple iOS 9 also blocks analytics

Here’s something we missed in last week’s story on the war between Apple, Google and Facebook: iOS 9 apps can also block user tracking, not just ads.

Apple iOS 9’s content blocking feature can also be used to prevent pixels firing for Google Analytics tracking code (as well as tracking for popular testing tools such as Optimizely and Unbounce). And popular iOS 9 ad blockers such as Crystal and Purify will also block JavaScript code from loading on websites (depending on the source).



In its first week of release, Crystal is the top selling paid app in the iTunes store (at this writing, Purify is number eight). For just 99c, it claims a four-fold improvement in page loading times (based on a test of 10 popular news sites), and already has 1,400 user ratings. Version 1.1 does not allow sites to be white-listed, so ads are blocked on all publisher sites, and the identity of any tracking scripts that have been blocked is not revealed.

Why should you care?

Content blocking apps promise to improve the mobile Safari user experience by eliminating ads and accelerating page load time. Should their use become prevalent on Apple iPhones and tablets — as seems likely — advertising-supported websites will suffer, as will the ability to measure and improve website content and advertising.

That said, this is a hell of our own making. As one Crystal user comments: “Publishers could have had fast loading, low tracking, low bandwidth pages, but…when I exceed my monthly 2GB data cap and never load videos or other traditionally large content, then something is wrong”.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.