Whiz will no longer show personalized advertising.
Since we started in 2013, we’ve continually evolved — the app has grown from a simple bus-tracker for three cities in the UK to a worldwide transit navigator spanning over 150 cities. The way we monetize the app has evolved as well, from selling apps up-front, then making the app free and showing advertising, to our current subscription model.
Advertising needs to evolve as well. We’ve decided to stop showing personalized advertising in our apps. What’s prompted us to do this? In previous versions of iOS, Apple has provided the IDFA to any app that wants to use it. The IDFA is a unique ID that allows advertisers to track you from app to app, building up a profile of your habits and spending patterns.
We use Google’s AdMob to display ads in Whiz, which takes the IDFA on your device, combines it with the same IDFA sent by other apps on your device, and builds up a profile of you, as well as associate app installs back to the original adverts, and which app displayed that advert.
However, with the launch of iOS 14, that ID is restricted, and apps must explicitly ask you for permission to share that ID with other companies. Let’s take a wild guess and say most people will say no to this.
So, we’re opting out and will soon no longer show any personalized ads in either our iOS or Android apps. Other apps may ask you to share your data with advertisers, they may even penalize you if you don’t. We’re not going to do that.
We believe the era of personalized advertising is over — when you Google for a product, then that product follows you around for days and days, from website to app and website — that’s not a great experience. Without the ‘critical mass’ of apps on your phone shovelling your personal data to advertising companies, the effectiveness of personalized advertising will diminish. There’s no need for it any more.
We’ve always taken pains to keep your data private — but relying on personalized advertising for revenue has always been a worry. What kind of data is being swallowed up? We don’t know. We’re not in control of that.
We don’t use any third-party analytics, store any server logs, or keep any personally-identifiable information. Those are things we can control. Removing personalized advertising is the last step to making Whiz completely private to you, our customers.