Sign In with Apple’s proxy email addresses will make ad targeting virtually impossible

Apple's new SSO is a double threat to its competitors. Not only does it want to replace them, but it's also designed to disrupt their advertising business.

Sign In with Apple
Sign In with Apple being used on multiple devices.

Apple recently held its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, CA. Wedged in between their big announcements of new operating systems and computers was a new feature called Sign In with Apple (SIA). SIA is Apple’s attempt at a single sign-on (SSO) and is designed to compete and replace popular SSOs provided by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The announcement of SIA was met with mixed reactions from developers. While most developers were happy to hear about the new service, they weren’t thrilled to learn that Apple was mandating SIA in iOS and macOS apps that also integrate competing SSOs. They also weren’t happy that Apple was demanding that SIA appear above competing SSOs, but Apple has since removed that requirement.

Putting SIA’s developer requirements aside, the new SSO does offer a couple of features that set it apart from its competitors. First, SIA will work with Face ID and Touch ID, making it more convenient to use. Second, it’s designed for privacy. While that may be good news for consumers, it may be bad news for marketers.

A key privacy feature in SIA is called Private Email Relay Service (PERS). PERS will allow consumers to generate unique proxy email addresses for every service they access with SIA. This is how Apple described PERS on their site.

Some privacy-conscious users will choose to keep their personal email address private and use Apple’s private email relay service when setting up an account. To send email messages through the relay service to the users’ personal inboxes, you will need to register your outbound email domains.

Proxy Email
Example of proxy email address for Sign In with Apple.

If consumers widely use the proxy email service, it will mean that ad targeting via email addresses will be virtually impossible for anyone that uses SIA. That’s because per app proxy email addresses aren’t related to any entities and therefore can’t be uploaded and used by advertisers for custom audiences on social platforms.

Jon is the founder and Managing Editor of Coywolf. He is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in web development, SaaS, internet strategy, and digital marketing. Follow @henshaw

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