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What Apple’s New iOS 14.5 Means to Marketers

Tim Woitkun - Group Media Director

With the much-anticipated release of iOS 14.5, Apple has started enforcing its new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, which may impact your advertising across Apple devices. ATT was created to enhance consumer privacy by prohibiting tracking on Apple (iOS) devices without a consumer’s consent. Before this update, Apple had created an ‘IDFA’ (Identifier For Advertisers) to allow for attribution of mobile app advertising campaigns across media placements. Now, apps will be required to present a pop-up to consumers that allows them to agree to or disable ad tracking, putting the choice front and center, making it easier to disable ad tracking.

How does this impact marketers?

Advertisers may find that the data they’ve grown accustomed to is no longer available, which could complicate targeting and measurement. When a marketer executes an ad campaign, it’s highly beneficial to understand where your users are coming from, who they are and how they interact.

The ability to follow the consumer’s journey helps to showcase the effectiveness of the advertising efforts, as well as optimize those efforts based on performance. Without user opt-ins this may become complicated.

It is important to note that these updates are going to impact marketing efforts focused on mobile applications and the relationship between a brand and their consumer after the install.

Search campaigns, whether it be through Google or Bing, are not expected to be impacted by this. This is due to the fact that search is a reactive ad unit and is triggered by immediate and direct customer request.

As it relates to social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, etc., the greatest impact will be felt when it relates to app-install conversion and attribution tracking. In addition, the lessening of the data available to create custom audiences may decrease in size, however this should only impact niche audiences.

Search and Social will remain two of the most powerful media channels to continue driving brand awareness and sales.

Limited work-arounds

Unfortunately, there are currently no approved workarounds outside of the Apple sandbox. However, if a company owns multiple apps, it can track their users across those apps. For example, if a user is on Instagram, Facebook would then be allowed to use any data gathered on Instagram to target their advertising efforts within Facebook. Apple’s new ATT policy means it’s an ideal time to explore new means of testing and learning, in an effort to increase user trust and, therefore, increase the opt-in rate.

Actions you can take

We’ve outlined some steps you can take to help mitigate the potential loss of data and keep your marketing moving forward.

Enable the SKAdNetwork
This is simply Apple’s attribution framework which will remove the device-level information previously passed (IDFA) and aid in facilitating ad measurement.

Implement the App Tracking Transparency Prompt
This prompt will need to be in place If you want to continue to receive attribution data after consumers have updated to iOS 14.5. Here are suggestions to help increase the opt-in rate while ensuring users understand how their data will be used and benefit them:

  • Customize the prompt that Apple will display after install
  • Create a custom, context-providing prompt prior to Apple’s prompt
  • Remind users that they can change their settings
  • Make it as easy as possible

*It’s important to note all users MUST opt-in via Apple’s framework/prompt once on the new OS

Reach Out to Ad Partners To Confirm Configuration Changes
Since the list of ad networks adapting Apple’s new framework is changing by the week, it’s important to check in with your partners to know what their strategy is and how it may impact your current integration/s with them.

Focus on Building First-Party Data
It’s a good time to find ways to better understand your consumers. If you don’t already have a CRM program in place, explore instituting one and reaping the benefits. Adding data from other sources enables you to see who’s interacting with your brand and how, helping you dive deeper into the data and metrics you may already have in place. Being able to capture your consumers’ contact information will also allow you to communicate with them beyond apps, keeping them engaged with your brand and offerings.

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