IDFA? What Apple’s Changes Mean for Mobile Marketers


It’s September, which means it’s time for news from Apple.

This September will mark the arrival of Apple’s new mobile operating system – iOS 14. The features with the biggest impact for the martech industry will be the changes in the tracking policy. With iOS 14, app marketers will need to receive a user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier (IDFA).

Late last week, according to AdExchanger, Apple announced that they will delay enforcement of the aforementioned IDFA restrictions in iOS 14 until sometime early next year. We’ll update our blog when we have more details.

In short, when Apple enforces these privacy changes, before the IDFA can be accessed by an app and passed to a martech company, users must opt-in first. 

Users will be presented with a message like this:

OK. So how many iOS users will opt in to this?

At this point, it’s too early to tell. Estimates for the opt-in rate run between 10 – 20%.

What else should we be considering?

Here are some tactics which marketers are re-considering:

  • Contextual ad targeting: A solution which is GDPR and CCPA-compliant that can be very effective with certain verticals, content and creative implementations
  • Using an email address or phone number as an identifier: This will be the go-to work-around for many app developers
  • Not using the IDFA and relying on historical data to define quality users. This solution has its limitations

As one of the leading mobile marketing platforms, Creative Clicks has a large volume of historical data. Therefore, together with our machine learning platform, we are able to identify and simulate quality users with a strong probability of predicting a high LTV.

In the short term, the companies in the app marketing eco-system impacted by Apple’s change in policy will need to evaluate exactly what they can offer advertisers in terms of measurement and transparency. Therefore, if the industry is changing the way mobile advertising is measured and tracked, then there is no point pretending that the problem will go away. Now is the time for honesty. And in the next few months, as iOS 14 gets installed, we’ll get smarter regarding the most effective targeting methods. 

Though Apple’s move may appear deliberately disruptive, it is putting users back in control of their own mobile experiences. Therefore, I believe that there are companies that will emerge from this stronger by earning the trust and the attention of mobile users.

Stay tuned

As an industry, we are waiting to feel the full impact of these changes. While things right now are uncertain, I am confident in the ability of our team – working with our attribution partners – to plot a successful and profitable path forward.

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