The latest version of Apple’s Safari update will include an updated browser feature that blocks traffic trackers.
One of the trackers it blocks is Google Analytics.
Let’s dive into what we know about macOS Big Sur.
Safari Update: macOS Big Sur
The new version of macOS is called “Big Sur.” Apple announced it this past week during the Worldwide Developer Conference.
During the announcement, Apple also mentioned Safari’s new privacy feature. It will report on all trackers blocked by the browser.
According to one report, you have to look closely to notice that the browser blocks Google Analytics.
macOS Big Sur: Could be Bad News for Digital Marketers
It’s really bad news for digital marketers that the Safari update will block GA. Marketers rely on data collected by Google to make decisions about website design and content marketing.
If you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics, you should familiarize yourself with it quickly if you take online marketing seriously.
Google Analytics provides valuable info about visitors, including the web pages they visit, the devices they use, and how they arrived at your website. Heck, GA will even give you details about visitor demographics!
That’s marketing gold. Countless webmasters use Google Analytics to optimize their websites.
Also: it’s a tool that’s easy to install. Just head over to the GA website, grab a snippet of code and paste it on your site’s header code. Google will take care of the rest.
At least that’s the way it was. Now, with Safari’s new privacy feature, it might disallow Google to gather data about visitors who arrive on your site from an Apple platform.
Other Trackers Blocked by Big Sur
Google Analytics is just one of the traffic trackers blocked by Safari. Others are blocked as well.
They include: Optimizely, DoubleClick, and Amazon.
Digital marketers use those tools to collect valuable info about visitors. They use that data to make decisions about how to best structure their websites.
But that’s going to be a little more challenging with reports that lack data from Apple users.
Safari Update is All About Privacy
Is this some kind of war on Google from Apple? No. It’s about privacy.
Apple doesn’t want third parties snooping into the habits of its users. That’s all.
Here’s the statement Apple released about the new privacy feature:
Privacy has always been built into Safari, and a new Privacy Report delivers added visibility into how Safari protects browsing activity across the web.
Users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with, and tools like data breach password monitoring never reveal your password information — not even to Apple.
Additionally, Big Sur users also have the option to add a privacy report widget to their desktops for easy access.
Apple Safari: Small Market Share
Here’s some good news: Apple Safari doesn’t hold that much of a market share.
According to a recent report, Safari holds just 9.4% of the desktop browser market worldwide. In the U.S, Safari’s market share stands at 15.6%.
In other words, your analytics won’t be wildly off base without Safari data in the new macOS Big Sur update.
Still, it would be nice to include data from all visitors when evaluating your reports. That’s especially true if you’re looking to optimize your site specifically for Apple Safari users.
Also: keep in mind that the numbers I’ve mentioned above only reflect desktop market share. On the mobile side, Safari holds a 24.4% market share worldwide.
If the privacy feature goes mobile, that’s going to have a bigger impact on your analytics.
Wrapping It Up
You need visitor data to make informed decisions about website design and content optimization. Unfortunately, it looks like Apple isn’t going to make it easy for you to collect that data.
You might soon have to resort to using focus groups of Apple users to gather actionable insights. That’s going to cost quite a bit of money.