With September fast approaching, publishers, app developers and advertisers eagerly await the release of Apple’s new user privacy regulations for iOS 14. While no specific date has been announced, the revised regulations are expected to give a boost to the privacy of iOS users, and at the time, significantly impact the ad ecosystem.
“As of iOS 14, app developers will need to request user consent to track their users’ data via a pop-up message within the app. For users who opt out of tracking, their IDFA will return a string of zeroes, rendering it effectively useless. The changes will specifically affect the ad targeting side of the ecosystem. Retargeting, exclusion targeting, segmentation, lookalike audiences and much more all currently rely on using the IDFA, so these changes will have big knock-on effects on ad monetisation and user acquisition,” says Shubham Jha, Sales Manager India at Adjust , the mobile measurement company that works with over 2,000 advertising partners and 30,000 customers.
Shubham adds that while these changes will only affect iOS users, their impact will be felt across the mobile ecosystem. “While Android dominates the Indian market, these changes will also affect Indian app developers looking to take their apps global and target users in markets where iOS reigns.”
Developers and advertisers must have a strategy in place to ensure their readiness when the privacy updates are implemented by Apple. To provide guidance on this crucial aspect, Adjust has launched its guide — “The complete guide to app monetization on iOS 14”.
The guide will give an overview of the changes expected to take place in the ad ecosystem, and five aspects to consider when tuning one’s strategy after iOS 14 is rolled out.
The two paths to attribution and ad measurement
Apple has provided two new ways for attribution and ad measurement once iOS 14 is rolled out.
The first option is the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, which allows advertiser access to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) of iOS users only if they provide their consent for the same. This will provide the ability for attribution as it exists today.
The second option is the SKAdNetwork (SKA), which removes user level data entirely. Not only that, but it also puts the burden of attribution on the platform itself.
“Since the announcement, Adjust has been extensively researching options to provide accurate and granular attribution under the new proposed rules that will be introduced on iOS 14. Adjust will support our clients and partners using three different methods – including using SKAdNetwork as an additional set of data – but it’s our belief that opt-in deterministic attribution using the AppTrackingTransparency framework will provide the best path forward for the industry.”
Below are the five recommendations by Adjust that developers and advertisers can immediately implement to ensure they are prepared for the release of iOS 14:
Review: All app developers should carry out a review of their operations to see which software development kits (SDKs) and mobile measurement partners (MMPs) rely on IDFAs. They should then update, prepare and plan for a version release with the updated SDKs.
Consent mechanisms: If app developers and advertisers choose to implement the ATT framework, it is safe to say that refining consent mechanisms to enable maximum opt-ins is one of the most important aspects that will determine ad revenues.
“Securing high opt-in rates should therefore be every app marketer’s priority. After all, if users opt-in, you will be able to return to near-normal pre iOS 14 activity – and it will become a real competitive advantage to have high consent rates.”
Re-evaluating your business intelligence (BI) stack: It is important to review the elements of your BI stack that are reliant on IDFA data, and to make sure they can operate without its complete availability after iOS 14 is released. It is also important to note that while apps working without the IDFA will still be able to place contextual ads, they will no longer be able to place personalised ones. Given that personalised ads provide more revenue, scenario planning around potential revenue drops will help in preparing for the rollout of iOS 14.
User acquisition: As the new regulations would impact previous methods of targeting audiences and the conversion data they receive, developers should get in touch with their marketing partners and understand how they are preparing for the change, specifically when it comes to lookalike audiences, retargeting, white-and blacklisting, and seed audiences. A diversification of re-engagement options — whether through push notifications, emails, SMS etc — as well as focusing on the right mechanisms to collect consent for these options would also be beneficial.
Monetisation: The new privacy regulations are expected to impact the ability of developers and advertisers to deliver targeted ads to its users. Thus, it is important to have similar conversations with mediation tools or monetisation networks to develop an appropriate strategy to navigate these changes.