There is something brewing in the digital world that could be more devastating than the adoption of the GDPR and the CCPA…combined

What is it?!

Every September, Apple assembles to show off its newest products and latest software. At last fall’s premiere of groundbreaking innovations, Apple released its latest mobile operating system for iPhones, iOS 13. This most recent version is full of enhanced user features like Dark Mode, sign in with Apple, the all-new and improved Maps app, QuickPath keyboard, and many more. One of these latest enhancements is causing massive drops in data available to marketers. The App, locations permissions, allows users to disable their background location data. According to the location verification company, Location Sciences, there has been a 68% decrease in background location data since the adoption of iOS 13, causing great concern for digital marketers.

 Background Data vs. Foreground Data

Losing access to background location data is a big concern to marketers because background location provides a variety of data for a wide range of marketing tactics compared to that of foreground location. Background location is always on; therefore, it is consistently collecting data by tapping into the GPS of the device to record the user’s movements; which, gives marketers a better understanding of user habits and tendencies. Foreground location, on the other hand, is only collecting data when the App is open and in use; meaning, the user’s location is only getting pinged once or a few times a week.

It is also important to note that since the adoption of iOS 13 and the outcry for data transparency in the digital world, users are now aware that their phones and apps are tracking their location. However, not all hope for advertisers is lost!  Studies show that users are willing to share their location data when they are rewarded or benefit from doing so.

Why is this more important than the GDPR and the CCPA?

The GDPR and CCPA focus on the consumer and currently haven’t had much of an impact on marketers. While iOS 13 is also about the consumer and creating trust in this Wild West, we call the Digital World; it is preventing valuable information from reaching marketers. With less specific location data available to companies, ads will become less personalized to the individual consumer. It also makes creating an audience and geographical targeting more expensive and obtaining accurate location analytics challenging.


As we continue to see more and more of these changes, marketers will need to start relying on the collection of first-party data. We are beginning to see this shift from third-party, even with location data. Marketers need to understand how to collect this type of information while remaining transparent to the consumer about the use of this data and why sharing it benefits them. App developers should create apps in a way that demonstrates how sharing one’s location is beneficial, as the general public is now aware of how often consumer location is being tracked.


In conclusion, yes, we are currently taking a hit in the availability of location data. However, this does not mean we are all doomed as marketers. In fact, this is an opportunity for marketers to step up and build out their own data sources.