Last June, Apple announced that they planned to ask users permission in order to track and share their IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), or the unique device ID assigned to a user in place of personal information. This was confirmed along with the launch of iOS14.5, there is a change coming to Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) Framework, which is essentially its data sharing and privacy policies.
All mobile app marketers will now be required to obtain user consent to monitor their site and app behavior, according to Apple. By default, users will be opted out of app monitoring. App monitoring from well-known social apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok included.
Even though no one knows what percentage of Apple users who will opt-out of app-tracking, considering the privacy environment as a whole and the directness of Apple’s prompt, it's estimated that a significant percentage will. Which could make it more difficult for businesses to reach their target audience, and deliver relevant ads.
Although Apps Flyer data showed that 39% of people exposed to the IDFA prompt through 550 apps agreed to be tracked, the percentage of users who agreed to be tracked by social apps was lower than the average opt-in rate of 25%.
Now, when an Apple user installs an app, they will now be presented with a prompt asking whether they agree for the app to monitor them. Furthermore, due to a lack of app user data, companies such as Google have reported that ad efficiency and returns could be lower than before the update.
The effect of ATT cannot be completely known or expected right away. There are known variables, such as Apple's current data and the social network applications, as well as unknown variables, such as user acceptance, software update schedules, upcoming privacy-first measurement and attribution solutions, as well as customer reaction.
It is expected to see changes in audience size, action delivery, performance measurement, and reporting for advertiser campaigns, so prepare for the most immediately observable shifts to come from performance measurement and reporting due to the nature of social attribution, namely view-through attribution.
View-through attribution uses impression tracking and gives credit to a social app for a conversion by tracking the user from ad impression to website conversion, even if the user didn’t engage with the ad beyond viewing it. Although view-through conversions are a way for social ads to demonstrate its importance as a demand generator, most retailers still consider them to be less important than ad engagement conversions. (i.e. ad click). The holy grail of digital conversions is last-click attribution; however, most offline ads (television, out-of-home, print), arguably uses the same view-through conversion model. View-through attribution will be reduced, and this will be reflected in a company's on-platform reporting; these conversions account for up to 70% of prospecting conversions and 50% of retargeting conversions.
Let's take a look at Apple's advertiser identifier (also known as IDFA) to get a better understanding of what's going on with the latest update. Advertisers use IDFA to classify users since it is connected to each Apple device. Advertisers were usually able to see the IDFA code, which allows them to retarget customers. Now, it will only be given to advertisers if users offer their consent to track their app use across applications.
How this Affects MMPs (Mobile Measurement Partners)
Typically, MMPs have been able to pull data from mobile apps and present it in a structured and insightful manner, such as downloads, views, and ad clicks. Within their website, they give marketers an idea of where their customers come from and what the outcomes of a mobile campaigns are. With ATT's upcoming reforms, their ability to access all of this may be jeopardized.
However, some MMPs, like AppsFlyer, are leaning into Apple’s SKadNetwork to glean insights for their mobile advertisers.
The SKadNetwork is a safe way for MMPs and marketers to learn about app installations and promotions without linking them to particular user identities. Although the SKadNetwork is a decent alternative, it does not account for view-through attribution and only offers data 24 to 28 hours after the initial launch.
The mobile advertisement ecosystem has been shaken by this latest update. Because of the extent of its advertisement network through Facebook's suite of applications, Facebook is predicted to be the most heavily impacted of the social apps.
“Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ad personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events,” says a Facebook for Business statement.
Key changes Facebook Ads users can expect to see and how to prepare for them:
Conversions: Advertisers will be limited to eight conversion events per domain, which can be either pixel-based or custom conversion events. There is no intervention required, and the transition will occur automatically, but it is critical to prepare for no more than eight conversion events.
Domain verification: Facebook is transitioning pixels to domain-based ownership. If you use pixels, make sure to verify your domain with Facebook to avoid any disruptions to your results. It is particularly important to validate your domain if your pixel is controlled by multiple parties.
Ads reporting: 28-day attribution of any kind, as well as 7-day view-through attribution, will no longer be allowed. Only the API would have access to historical data. Prepare for the disappearance of view-through attribution data and download your historic data for both windows plus 28-day clickthrough now. Compare 28-day and 7-day click conversions if you use the 28-day window to see how your registered conversions may be affected. Any rules you use that are actually bound to 28-day attribution should be modified.
Targeting: As more users opt out of monitoring following the iOS 14 update, the number of app interactions and custom audiences for app and web activity is expected to fall. To account for this, expand the target audience in order to attract more potential customers.
Key changes to expect in Google Ads and how to prepare for them:
Reduced conversion visibility: Google has announced that ATT will indeed “reduce visibility into key metrics that show how ads drive conversions (like app installs and sales) and will affect how advertisers value and bid on ad impressions.”
Upgrade to latest Google Analytics for Firebase: For advertisers using Google Ads, it is recommended by Google to upgrade to the latest version of Google Analytics for Firebase to enable SKAdNetwork support.
Monitor campaigns and adjust bids accordingly: Advertisers using Google Ads on mobile devices should also track iOS campaign performance and execution as the launch occurs, and change their bids and budgets as necessary to meet their objectives.
These changes will have a significant effect on businesses that rely on social media advertisements and use data from the platform to personalize ads to individual users. If social media is unable to monitor user activity, its targeting feature will suffer, as will the amount of data it gathers. Without it, advertisements would be less personalized and therefore less profitable. As a result, social media advertising can generate less leads to drive sales. The change would also have an effect on reporting. Reports will be unreliable because the data will not include users who refused tracking permission and will only track a limited number of objectives.
Furthermore, since iOS users who refuse tracking permission cannot be monitored on websites, advertisers can decide that paying publishers to host ads on their sites isn't worth it. They will lose valuable ad placements, and publishers will lose money from those advertisements. Ad spending would become less productive and reliable, and may even become more costly. So now is the time to consider how to diversify the ads and revenue-generating approach.
And as expected, many advertisers are considering to switch to other mediums of advertising that could provide similar benefits if not more. And to lessen the headaches that come with massive, ongoing ad changes, campaigns are expected to make the move to other digital marketing platforms such as pDOOH (programmatic digital-out-of-home advertising).
At dKilo, we provide pDOOH to allow digital media buyers to target specific audiences in relevant ad environments, as well as optimize for time of day, weather, and other factors. It is a more advanced version of digital OOH that gives you all of the benefits of DOOH plus the ability to enhance your offering with data.
For both brands and consumers, the iOS 14.5 update and its effect on app ads are uncharted territories. We do know that this is an essential move toward giving consumers power of how their online data is processed and used, which is critical for the long-term viability of digital ads. However, we don't know what the effect will be, and we may not have a better picture for some time. But it is expected that advertisers find other platforms to advertise their campaigns and one platform that has been revolutionary lately is pDOOH, as it provides the same benefits if not more.
dKilo pays people for being stuck in traffic by pushing digital ads to their cars, and sell the digital ooh ad space to companies and brands through an intelligent impressions' based online ads manager platform.
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