30 June, 2020

iOS 14 hushes IDFA, causing tremors felt across the UA world

Apple IDFA Update

“IDFA is DEAD! IDFA is barely breathing! IDFA is no more!”

Do any of those sound familiar? In case you missed it at WWDC 2020 this year, Apple announced iOS14 and that they are essentially eliminating ID for Advertisers with a simple pop up. Upon installing an app, users will now be prompted to make a decision: Allow the app to track you or not.

Now, I’m no scientist. But if I had to take a guess, I’d say that most people would choose not to be tracked. I could be wrong.

What is IDFA?

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is an identifier given to an Apple device. This identifier is used by advertisers to track data (not personal information) in order to deliver custom ads. This data is then aggregated and analyzed to find what in-app events had occurred.

Turning this feature off was always available on Apple devices, but users just had to know where to look. Now that it’s going to be out there in the open, the impact is expected to be huge.

This is an amazing step towards user privacy. However, it will definitely shake up the massive advertising/adtech industry.

What Does Apple’s Privacy Update Mean for Mobile Attribution?

iOS users are seen as higher-valued due to the amount they tend to spend on in-app purchases. Sure, Android has more users. But iOS users spend nearly twice as much ($15 billion in Q1 2020).

Without tracking, ad personalization becomes near impossible. Luckily, Apple has already been working on a privacy-safe mobile attribution model for the past two years. SKAdNetwork appears to be the direction Apple is heading towards.

Will SKAdNetwork be the Solution?

Since everyone has been using IDFA, not much is known about SKAdNetwork or the data it will be providing. So far, it looks like it will provide data on which ads achieved the desired results, yet leave out any personal information. We might get aggregated data from SKAdNetwork that won’t harm user privacy, but will allow us to continue optimizing and advertising.

“There is no doubt that this is going to have a massive impact on things,” says our Head of User Acquisition, Leeat Goldstein.

She continues, “While the possibility of a user actually choosing to opt into being tracked is slim (I don’t know. Maybe if they change the wording in the pop-up, people might opt-in), there will be a technical solution, whether within SKAdNetwork or perhaps even new models.”

What Might the Future Hold for App Attribution?

We’ve tossed the ball back and forth on some interesting ideas that may come out of this. Some of which include:

  1. Audience Creation will be limited on IDFA. This will have to redirect assembly to other practices such as manual customer lists, etc.
  2. Advanced Models like LAL/Similar audiences and optimization objectives could potentially be affected. It’s still too soon to tell, but those feed on user behavior and are mapped on the different platforms. One possible solution could be the improvement of existing targeting in platforms such as in-market audiences/behavior-based audiences.
  3. Re-targeting/re-engagement – further to the first point – when no signals exist, a tailor-made approach of targeting/custom targeting per segment will be limited or just gone. This scenario would rely on email-based seeds (if you have those).
  4. SDK integration within the app itself might be a workaround for companies like Facebook and Google, and allow them to pull data on in-app events. But this too may see some issues in the future.

While some people claim that this essentially kills the app attribution industry, others will find opportunities.

“The entire [mobile] ecosystem needs to understand how best to work with these changes. App publishers big and small will be affected and will need to review their business.” – Paul H. Müller, Co-Founder & CTO, Adjust

For a performance marketing company that prides itself on making data-driven decisions with precise campaign optimization, understanding user behavior is important. yellowHEAD is as committed as ever to providing our partners with actionable insights and growth opportunities.

User privacy is evolving and growing, and that is a beautiful thing. We value that at yellowHEAD. The advertising industry is a constantly changing landscape, which is why our team is always on top of the latest updates, adapting and expanding our marketing solutions accordingly.

While there are many theories running around out there right now due to the mass amount of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: UA is NOT dead.

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