How Will App Developers and Marketers Survive in the iOS 14 World?

With the release of the iOS 14, and the IDentifier For Advertisers (IDFA) becoming almost useless, the online marketing industry is facing the beginning of a new era. In this article we briefly explain how the new release is affecting tracking, and what solutions are embraced by Dreamin to effectively measure results across performance marketing campaigns on iOS.

In WWDC 2020 Apple announced their new AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, requiring users on the new iOS 14 version to opt in to tracking. Moving forward, the IDFA will only be present for users who explicitly give their consent to the advertiser to use their data for advertising purposes. This is what the pop up message on the user’s device will look like-

It goes without saying that the typical user in 99% of cases is likely to pull the trigger on that second option, which clearly is a game changer for marketers. But, with user privacy being the primary concern, who would argue with that? Instead, what marketers and developers are left with is the need of creativity, maybe more than ever, to work around the identifier limitation while securing their marketing operations and revenues. Considering an ad spend of $189 billion in 2019 in mobile marketing (statista.com), these revenues are well worth securing on industry level. 

Although Android holds the majority (51.8%) of smartphone consumers, iOS users are the most valuable with $15 billion revenue in Q1 2020 vs. $8.3 billion on Android (according to App Annie).

With 1.5 billion active iOS users reported in 2020, and a projected 70% of them to eventually be on iOS 14, approximately 450 million iOS users remain with IDFA still accessible. With the US being among the countries dominated (60%) by iOS, the negative impact over worldwide marketing revenues is becoming viable and calling marketers for immediate action.

So how will results be effectively measured across performance marketing campaigns?

The level of granularity that marketers obtained thanks to the IDFA - whether for tracking, re-targeting & compliance purposes to name a few - is hard to substitute, and yet there are ways to facilitate this transition into an IDFA-less ecosystem.

The following solutions provide attribution and performance measurement without compromising on user privacy, and are all embraced by Dreamin-

  • IDFV (Identifier For Vendor) - a code assigned to all apps by one developer on every iOS device. A set of apps will have a different IDFV value on different devices, and one device can have different values for apps that are installed from different developers. While the IDFV is not as unique as the IDFA, it does provide marketers with more accurate data for their campaigns. Dreamin is able to pass back the IDFV with the tracking URL, similar to the IDFA.
  • SKAdnetwork by Apple - SKAdnetwork is Apple’s own network, a safe environment which identifies revenue generating ads without revealing any information about the user or their device. The postback from now on will be handled internally by Apple and shared with the adnetwork upon conversion. By sending a signed notification (postback) to the ad network that originated the ad campaign, Apple validates the revenue without sharing any further information about the new acquired user. Dreamin is currently working with Apple to become a registered partner on the Apple SKAdnetwork. For further info, or to obtain our ID, please get in contact with our team.
  • Fingerprinting - Often operated as an attribution back-up. Apple will most likely fine-tune their policy to strictly limit, or completely remove, this technique.

What tracking solutions do MMPs offer that are also compatible with Apple SKAdnetwork?

Apple’s SKAdnetwork is taking charge of attribution thus resulting in MMPs seeking solutions to allow them maintain their position as data collectors, while providing app developers with an added value for their ad spend. 

  • Attribution Hash by Adjust - developed a secure Hash that is created upon reading the IDFV and IDFA when an app is installed. This relies on Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework’s exception rule allowing to track users without their permission under strict conditions linked to third party data, and while shielding the device or user from becoming identifiable. The Hash allows to match a user for attribution, without building his profile or retargeting him across different apps. 
  • Appsflyer - introduced a solution based on differential privacy tailored around data privacy, and the removal of IDFA from the mobile ecosystem. Aside to that Appsflyer shared some best practices and implementation guide to using their attribution system with SKAdnetwork data
  • Branch - built a concept of data collection which relies on cookies and other IDs across the user’s device. These are being matched across all apps using Branch with a variety of mechanisms to obtain increased data accuracy.
  • Identity Locker by Kochava - provides an identity token by enabling demand- and supply-side parties to onboard their own first-party audience into a secure environment, called Locker. The locker allows access to 1st party data through their independent marketplace. The First party data is collected across thousands of apps to which Kochava provides service and free app analytics in exchange.

Our industry is still in the information gathering stage, and the iOS 14 release will bring along some innovation, comprehensive testing and some patience until an optimal solution is found. During these times, as always, Dreamin will keep exploring the best solutions that are out there to provide the best response to iOS 14 for the prosperity of our partners’ business objectives.

During special times like this, we like to remind ourselves that learning, experiencing and evolving is what drives innovation and results! May the remainder of Q4 2020 bring maximized opportunities and valuable learning upon all of us.

By Roberta D’Angelo, Director of Client Success & Growth at Dreamin

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