Next month, Apple is slated to launch the latest operating system, iOS14. This operating system comes with a lot of excitement centered around the consumer features including a new home screen with the App Library, Picture in Picture capabilities, and more. For marketers, it is coming with a lot of anticipation as media, technology and measurement platforms prepare for the expected impact from the latest privacy changes included in the launch.
3 key impacts from a Media POV
The app is in control of when the one-time pop-up message for consent is triggered, giving the advertiser the ability to influence when and how the consent is triggered. Advertisers should consider developing a strategy for opt in, including timing of consent within the consumer app journey and if there is a potential value exchange for tracking. An example of value exchange for users who enable tracking could be access to user benefits or relevant offers from the store locations they frequent. Providing the user with this transparency and understanding of how the tracking benefits them could increase opt in potential.
3 IMPACTS TO MEDIA IDENTIFIED
(1) Users will have to opt-in for Tracking
Users will now have a one time, opt in consent to allow an app to track them. After the user either opts in or declines, they will not receive another pop-up prompt to opt in for tracking on that specific app for the lifetime of the app install. Users can make changes to tracking at any time within their settings.
Anticipated Media Impact: When a user does not opt in for tracking on an app, the mobile device ID (IDFA) will not be shared with that app. This impacts media in several ways ranging from mobile app attribution for brands, specific media targeting capabilities, and functions such as reach and frequency capping.
What Advertisers Should Consider:
All advertisers that run media on iOS devices will be impacted to some degree by this change. Advertisers should consider evaluating how they are currently using mobile device IDs on iOS within media to understand their specific, potential impact.
Advertisers with a branded app will be impacted the most. These advertisers should consider how they can best influence opt in for consent of tracking on their app to minimize the loss of mobile device IDs on Apple devices.
(2) Users can Change Location Data Sharing From Precise to Approximate
Apple is continuing to give users more control of their location data and how this data is shared with apps. With iOS14, users will be able to see a map of the data being shared with an app and they can change between ‘precise’ location or ‘approximate’ location sharing. Apple divided a map of earth into a number of regions each approximately 10 square miles, each region is a fixed part of the map that does not change. The identifier for that region is then passed along to the app to provide approximate location.
Anticipated Media Impact:
Location targeting and location data providers will be impacted by this change, in addition to the limitation of IDFAs. The impact to location data is likely to vary platform to platform, depending on their usage of identifiers outside of mobile device IDs and their strength of app partnerships that will likely have users allow not only for tracking but precise location tracking.
What Advertisers should consider:
Advertisers will want to work closely with their location providers to understand the specific changes to their platforms and how it will likely impact their media activations and measurement. Advertisers should also consider if it would be beneficial to expand their customer data to include address and/or zip code to give advertisers more control of the data able to be leveraged for media activation and personalization
(3) Apple Launches a Revamped SKAdnetwork 2.0 for App Attribution
The originally launched in 2018 with low adoption. The 2.0 version launching with iOS14 will likely see a dramatic increase in adoption as it becomes the only fully deterministic method for advertisers to have app install and event attribution. SKAdNetwork enables advertisers to get last click, deterministic app attribution aggregated at the ad network level. It requires that the ad network, source apps, and the advertised app all have SKAdNetwork and the same campaign naming configuration. It is a very basic and rigid solution that is likely to be adopted, but not likely to be the only source of measurement for advertisers.
This solution provides a high level, likely secondary measurement option for brands to evaluate and compare to their more detailed and now more probabilistic attributed measurement solutions. That is, if it receives a more mass level of adoption. Some of the top media partners including Google, Facebook, Snap, and Twitter are reportingly planning on incorporating in SKAdNetwork into their platforms. Other media platforms will likely follow.
What Advertisers Should Consider:
Advertisers should consider investigating if SKAdNetwork is a potential solution for them and how they can incorporate it into their app.
EXPECTED IMPACT TO THE INDUSTRY
We conducted a global evaluation of publicly available information and interviews of industry leaders in, technology and measurement platforms to evaluate the anticipated industry impact of the iOS14 upcoming changes. Through this evaluation, we identified the most likely high impacted areas for advertisers to be aware of and to monitor through the course of these changes.
Mobile App Measurement will Shift From Mostly Deterministic to More Probabilistic:
Mobile Measurement Platforms (MMPs) and any other technology being utilized to measure app install and app event attribution will likely see the greatest impact of the iOS14 change with the limitations of mobile device IDs (IDFAs). This industry was largely built on using mobile device IDs on both Apple (IDFA) and Android (AAID) to attribute app install and app event actions. This allows these platforms to have a deterministic methodology across a user’s journey of media and apps on their device to tie back to specific desired brand app events. With IDFAs becoming limited on Apple devices, these platforms will have to rely on more probabilistic methodologies for users who do not opt in to tracking on the advertiser’s app and/or the ad network or source app of the media impression.
This changes how attribution will be done moving forward, shifting from a mostly deterministic methodology to a much more probabilistic methodology.
Apple’s aforementioned SKAdnetwork is their solution to this attribution issue. We see this solution as a potential secondary measurement if there’s enough ad networks and brands utilizing it.
This solution is deterministic, essentially, it’s an app store receipt, but the data is last click only, it is aggregated at the publisher level and it has limitations in naming and other technical aspects. MMPs are currently investigating and evaluating how they can leverage this system to incorporate it into their methodologies.
Location Data Providers will Likely See Diminished Scale
Location data providers are expected to be impacted differently depending on if they use other identifiers and the strength and scale of their data partnerships. Location data providers who have large partnerships with apps that users are likely to consent to for tracking and precise location, such as weather and traffic, will likely see less impact than others. However, we expect all location data providers to see diminished scale of targeting and measurement anywhere from single digits to upwards of 50%- 60% in more worst-case scenarios.
HOW WE EXPECT IT TO IMPACT THE INDUSTRY
Dependencies on Mobile Device IDs will need to be Reevaluated
Advertisers who use Mobile Device IDs for onboarding of data, to match data, or in
any other way will need to reevaluate these processes to be prepared for the upcoming changes. An advertiser’s 1st party data is becoming more and more valuable with each of the subsequent privacy and 3rd party identifier changes. The more an advertiser can ‘own’ their customer relationships and the data associated with them, the less impacted they will be by industry changes around 3rd party identifiers.
Mobile Targeting Scale to be Impacted Across Most Media Partners
Targeting users on mobile devices will be impacted depending on the media and/or data partner and what identifier they utilize to target. We expect platforms to continue to offer the same capabilities and features, however those that rely on mobile device IDs will likely see limited scale from the reduction in Apple mobile IDs (IDFAs) being tracked.
Platforms and media partners are still in a state of flux as they are figuring out how to best adapt to the iOS14 changes. The anticipated impact evaluation spotlights where we should prioritize platforms and media partners to monitor closely through the adoption of iOS14. Now is a good time to do your own evaluation of potential impact to set expectations and identify platforms and capabilities to monitor. At this time, it is not recommended to make any changes to platforms or capabilities based on potential iOS14 impact.
Once potential impact is understood, brands can then conduct a post iOS ‘actual impact’ evaluation (60- 90 days post launch) if needed to fully understand actual impact before assessing the need to make changes.