Research by online marketing platform provider Marin Software has found 80% of paid search conversions on Apple’s iOS devices are not being counted.
That means most searches by people using iPods, iPhones and iPads are invisible to marketers because iOS blocks third party tracking cookies by default.
Apple’s Safari was also undercounted by 45%. By comparison, the overall figure for undercounted conversions across all browsers was 36%.
This lack of data is likely to mean marketers are using faulty data when planning campaigns. Marin’s research discovered that the actual paid search conversion rates for iOS users were approximately 23% higher than for Windows Internet Explorer users.
That makes people with Apple mobile devices more likely than other group to purchase through search engines. Furthermore, the research revealed that up to 5% of converted paid search traffic across Marin’s client base came from an iOS device.
Ed Stevenson, regional managing director of Marin Software, said: “Advertisers using vendor solutions that rely on redirects to determine data should evaluate the potential impact the undercounting issue identified in the research could have on their paid search campaigns.
“The inaccuracies in the data could be leading to incorrect bid calculations, meaning they are simply not getting the most from their campaigns.
“Similarly, despite the meteoric growth of the Apple iOS, marketers need to be wary that Apple’s policy of blocking third-party cookies by default could significantly impact the way they are developing their campaigns.
“If advertisers are undercounting by up to 80% of the paid conversions on the iOS platform, then they can by no means accurately designate their ad spend.
“They therefore need to be addressing the situation and, other than transitioning to a first party tracking solution, should consider altering their metrics to account for the unattributed conversions, blocked by third-party tracking.”