Criteo Stock Hit Hard, As Apple iOS Update Limits Its Ability To Track Safari Users

Criteo’s stock plummeted nearly 27% midday Thursday, as the ad tech company revised its Q4 business outlook in the wake of Apple’s latest iOS browser update.

Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature, designed to limit ad tracking on Safari browsers by crippling third-party cookies, will create more kinks for ad tech giant Criteo than it originally anticipated.

The company, had in November predicted between 9% and 13% net negative impact on 2018 revenue ex-TAC. But when Apple rolled out iOS 11.2 earlier this month, it disabled Criteo’s ability to reach Safari users.

Criteo’s working on a fix, the company said in a statement, but noted that “this solution is still under development and its effectiveness cannot be assessed at this early stage.”

If Criteo’s developing solution doesn’t work, it could experience a net negative impact of 22% on 2018 revenue ex-TAC.

Criteo declined further comment.

In October, Criteo CEO Eric Eichmann claimed, “We have ways of circumventing ITP.” Criteo’s methodology involved using HTTP Strict Transport Security protocol to bypass Apple’s cookie-killing measures.

The solution, which Eichmann said encompassed a cookieless identifier, was intended to allow anonymized data to be passed between Criteo’s servers and third-party publishers and exchanges.

But Apple’s latest operating system update may have thwarted Criteo’s workaround, leaving it scrambling to build a new countermeasure while putting its 2018 revenue at risk.

More details should emerge mid-February when Criteo releases formal guidance around revenue ex-TAC for fiscal 2018.

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