As part of our ongoing iOS 14 update series (Part 1 & Part 2), we’ve detailed how Apple has rolled out new updates to their iOS system that impact advertisers & paid media campaigns. Although there is still a lot that’s unknown, we wanted to provide you an update on iOS 14 so far, how it will impact paid media performance & our recommendations prior to Apple’s policies taking effect.

Previous iOS updates

In June 2020, Apple announced an update to iOS 14 requiring apps to ask users for permission to access Apple’s identifier for advertisers (IDFA) through a prompt called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. 

Platforms (such as Google, Facebook, MMPS) use IDFA to serve personalized ads to users at the device level and attribute them to the correct ad network. Due to the lack of IDFA data, Apple introduced the SKADNetwork, which provides a privacy-safe solution for mobile app marketers by removing user-level details entirely. 

Given the pushback from platforms with only two months to adapt to changes, Apple delayed rolling out the ATT framework until 2021, however, the rest of the iOS update rolled out in September 2020. 

Overall Business Impact 

  • Reduction in reported conversions, due to the opt-in nature of the ATT prompt
  • Reduction in retargeting & custom audience sizes (suppression will have gaps)
  • Reduction in attribution due to being limited to click-through conversions, as view-through will no longer be attributed moving forward. 
  • Lack of user-level details such as demographic & device level insights

Recent iOS updates

Recently, there has been buzz that in April 2021 we all will see the release of the ATT framework. DA is actively in conversations with platforms and will continue to share our recommendations for the changes and help protect your ad revenue. 

Direct Agents recommendations

To prepare for the changes, Direct Agents recommends the following:

  • For app developers, evaluate if ATT is right for your app & customize ATT prompt to find the most relevant messaging for your audience
  • Update your SDKs to the latest version, be it Facebook, Firebase, or a MMP like Branch, Kochava, AppsFlyer (among others) to support the SKAdNetwork 
  • Expect fluctuations in campaign performance as campaigns learn to re-optimize to fewer conversion data & decrease in reported conversions due to the gap in data
  • Build a strong First-Party Data Strategy to enable user matching 
  • Expand marketing tactics such as email, push notifications, in-app messages & SMS, after users install your app.

Platform Partner recommendations

Platforms continue to work closely with Apple to develop solutions & have provided the following recommendations for advertisers.

  • Google 
    • Consolidate Google App campaigns, for optimal performance by allowing for more data for the algorithm 
    • Switch bidding strategy from tROAS to tCPA, due to limited post-install data hurting tROAS algorithm
    • Google will report conversions via “Modeled Conversions” to create an accurate, privacy-safe, and aggregate view of user behavior.
  • Facebook
    • Facebook moved from the default attribution window of a 28-day click, 1-day view, into a 7-day click, 1-day view, resulting in fewer reported conversions.
    • Facebook will report conversions through “Aggregated Event Measurement”, including users who opted into ATT measurement & provide an aggregate view.
    • Launch a separate Facebook ad account for App Install campaigns 

Looking Ahead 

In preparation for the ATT rollout, we recommend brands using digital marketing to devote developer and engineer resources to implement SDK updates, along with evaluating campaign success due to the gaps in data. Currently, there is still a lot unknown in the post-iOS14 world & Direct Agents is working alongside its partners to provide up-to-date information that embraces both user privacy and campaign success.

– Complied by Wathmi Pathinisekara, Sr Search Analyst at Direct Agents