iOS14 & What It Means For You
March 9, 2021
Consumer privacy has been top-of-mind for the digital advertising industry for the past several years, and to better understand this issue, we need look no further than Apple’s recent release of iOS 14 and the privacy-driven changes to IDFA that are still to come.
The Receding IDFA
Apple’s iPhone spearheaded the app revolution, and almost since its inception, Apple’s mobile operating systems allowed a degree of cross-app tracking. Beginning sometime this spring, however, apps will have to ask users for permission to track certain activity. Whether the consumer opts in or not will determine whether Apple shares their Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Data suggests that many users will opt out of ad tracking given the opportunity.
IDFA historically allowed iOS and Safari to use common tools like frequency capping, app install attribution and campaign measurement, all of which will be hobbled if users opt out of sharing their IDFA. IDFA has, up until now, enabled all of those practices specifically for each individual user.
This isn't the first time Apple has made changes concerning IDFAs. In 2016, the company started offering “IDFA zeroing” to enable limited user tracking while preserving privacy.
What Do The Changes Mean For Digital Marketers?
Campaign measurement and attribution and media planning and activation will likely be where this has the most impact for marketers.
Apple's iOS 14 allows users to disable precise location tracking for measurement and attribution. Users are asked to explicitly choose whether to share precise or approximate locations for each individual app. Those who choose approximate location sharing will be shielded from things like in-store location tracking.
Losing the ability to track the customer journey means that last-click attribution will be one of the only models available. Websites likely won’t be able to distinguish between new and repeat traffic. However, geotargeting and geofencing represent audience targeting tactics that could help dampen the impact of IDFA blocking in iOS 14. By geofencing and geotargeting, advertisers can replicate some of the contextual benefits of IDFA by segmenting consumers by their proximity to known locations.
With this change to IDFA, as well as third-party cookies receding, publishers and app developers that don’t offer their own targeting solutions will likely have a more difficult time growing ad sales. This will add to the pressure on inventory suppliers and publishers to figure out contextual adjacency or custom audiences built from existing first-party data.
As more users opt out of sharing their information, this will also affect reach and frequency tactics. Inventory suppliers are currently trying out other methods of frequency tracking. The immediate impact to measurement and media planning will likely give way to an entirely new framework for data collection in iOS 14.
Advertisers with strong first-party data will have an advantage in this new environment, and both advertisers and suppliers will be incentivized to push opt-in permissions for consumers. This means that publishers should start working now to solidify the relationships with their audiences that will encourage people to opt in to tracking.
At this point, there still remains much to be seen in terms of how the industry will collectively respond to these changes. Few industries are as innovative as digital advertising, however, and multiple solutions are in development to keep the digital ad industry effective while protecting individual privacy. While questions remain, it is clear that agile marketers, along with their agency partners, will successfully adjust and turn uncertainty into opportunity.
(Ref: Jason Wulfsohn https://bit.ly/2SoRaAE)