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Apple taps into your iTunes data for better iAd targeting

Raises some interesting privacy issues

Apple taps into your iTunes data for better iAd targeting
Apple's warm attitude to independent ad networks on iOS following the launch of iAd seems to be less a sign of the giant's softening attitudes and more an example of the company's confidence.

That's if a report published by Bloomberg detailing the inner workings of Apple's own ad network is anything to go by.

According to the website, Apple is leveraging iTunes, iBook and App Store download account data to enable marketers to target consumers on iAd more effectively. 

Giving iAd a leg up

The technique involves Apple collecting 'standard targeting options' from the millions of iTunes users running iOS 4.

Said data then allows it to bunch apps together in set buckets that appeal to different consumer groups - i.e. if your ad is aimed at fathers in their mid-30s, iAd will ensure it exposes this information so advertisers can ensure their ads go into the type of apps that match this group's likely appetites.

Individual information obviously isn't shared. 

"The leading global brands we're working with are developing iAds timed with their seasonal marketing campaigns, such as back to school and the holiday shopping season," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller told Bloomberg.

"We're just taking our first few steps. We'll work our way up to walking and running as this year progresses."

Privacy problems?

In truth, it's fairly logical stuff and simply a extension of the kind of practice marketers are used to employing on television and in the print media, but it does see Apple skirting rather close to the privacy rules the firm has criticised others for encroaching on, particularly in terms of retrospectively using your previous buying habits.

No doubt aware of potential criticism on this score, Apple allows users to opt out of the service, a quick visit to https://oo.apple.com/ enough to ensure their records are not included.

[source: Bloomberg]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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