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Insights from the industry

iOS14 Update Explained

iOS14 Update Explained

Posted on February 22, 2021 by Daniel Farrell

The iOS 14 update is out and there is a lot of information out there about its impact on advertising, most of which is a bit technical and quite frankly difficult to digest. We have decided to put together a clear summary of the information to help you understand the effects this could have on your digital marketing campaigns.

What is the App Tracking Transparency policy (ATT) ?

Apple iOS 14 is requiring apps to show users a prompt asking permission to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier (IDFA). Previously, consumers had to opt-out. Now when a user installs or updates the new iOS, a prompt will appear alerting the user to opt-in or opt-out of the sharing of this information.

What is IDFA?

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is a unique identifier for mobile devices and is used to target and measure the effectiveness of advertising on a user level across mobile devices. It is very similar to a cookie, but where cookies only track you across a web browser, IDFA tracks you across a device. 

What does the update means?

The update means that users have the choice to expressly give consent to track them and many anticipate that a significant number of users will opt out. Currently, about 70% of IOS users share their IDFA with app publishers, after this change it is estimated that this number will drop to around 10% to 15%.

How would it affect digital campaigns?

The changes may lead to decrease in control over targeting and personalisation especially on platforms that require the tracking of offf-site behaviour for targeting. Facebook & Display (programmatic) may be the most affected routes to market. Advertisers in general will be impacted in the following main areas:

  • Ad Retargeting – Any retargeting to users (based on device-level targeting) will no longer work for users that have opted out of sharing their IDFA. Note that platforms like Google and Facebook can use other deterministic variables to identify devices (email, phone number).
  • Ad Measurement – Tracking capabilities may be limited with event attribution being restricted and/or delayed. For example, Facebook has released reporting limitations: 1. Less conversion events: Moving forward, your pixel may only optimize and track a maximum of 8 conversion events for each domain. 2. Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to three days.
  • No Support for Breakdowns – For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region and placement will not be supported.

Why is Facebook more affected than Google?

Most of Google’s ad revenue comes from search results pages, since these ads are keyword-driven, it is unlikely that we will see a drop in performance from Google Search Ads. Ads on Google’s Display Network, such as those you see in Gmail or on other 3rd-party websites, will likely see more of an effect because Google will have limited visibility into what a user is viewing on other sites. However, Google still collects information on a user’s behaviour based on Google searches, Gmail, Google Analytics, and data from other Google properties that they can continue to use for targeting.

Facebook is following Amazon by aiming to keep everything in app, currently making a play into commerce with Shops and Instagram Checkout. If they own the transaction and keep it in-app, they can retain enough data to power ads moving forward.

Do I need to worry?

It is too soon to worry as no one really knows what the opt in and opt out rates will be. It is like what we experienced with the introduction of GDPR and even though it took a lot of preparation companies adapted to the measures. In this case Facebook, Google and all advertisers are working on how to mitigate the effects in the case that the changes do have an impact.

It is also important to remember that it only affects iOS users. As of January 2021 according to Statista iOS accounts for 27% of the mobile market share worldwide (Android accounts for the 72%).

What actions needs to be taken? 

 So far there is not much information from  Google. Facebook on the other hand has been quite vocal about their disagreement with apple’s update on what it has been seen as a public war between Facebook & Apple, as a result Facebook has been the only platform to released steps to take in order to comply with the update.

Key steps for Facebook:

You will need your web team to complete the process. To record web conversion events, you will need to verify your domain with Facebook if you haven’t already done so.

Facebook is beginning to implement their new Aggregated Event Measurement, starting with their recommended configuration of the 8 prioritised conversions on each domain. You can now view which conversion events have already been pre-assigned to your domain within Events Manager on your Facebook Business Manager. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events that we believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. However, this can be modified based on needs.

You can find more information about this on our website and by contacting us here

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