iOS 14 is a big step forward for Apple in many ways. From the introduction of widgets for the home screen (finally!), to allowing custom app icons to let you change your phone’s whole appearance. It’s fair to say iOS 14 has a lot of fans.
One aspect of the update that has the potential to impact advertising companies is the introduction of what Apple calls ‘App tracking transparency’.
What is App Tracking Transparency?
Before getting into app tracking transparency, it’s essential first to understand how Apple has previously gone about collecting user data for the benefit of advertisers.
Back in 2012, Apple introduced IDFA, which stands for Identifier for Advertisers. It’s a random sequence of characters assigned to every iOS device, and works to allow advertisers to collect data on you without revealing your identity. It’s very similar to a cookie, but where cookies only track you across a web browser, IDFA tracks you across a device.
Once an advertiser knows a certain device clicks on a PC gaming advert for example, they can start building a user profile for that device, allowing for further targeted future advertising. The more you use your device, the more accurate and detailed that user profile becomes, and the more profitable you potentially become to the advertiser.
What’s Different in iOS 14 then?
iOS 14 introduces App Tracking Transparency, which prompts the user with a notification the first time they open an app, asking them if they are happy with that app tracking your activity.
Advertisers are apprehensive as on all previous versions of iOS, you automatically allowed this tracking via the IDFA by default. As such, around 70% of iOS users currently opt-in to sharing their data.
Consumers want to be in control of their data, and as Steve Jobs said back in 2010:
“People are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of you asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data”.
Predictions of what the new opt-in percentage will be aren’t very accurate at the moment, with some estimates being 10-15%, while others estimate around 30%.
However, there have been some promising results from a study conducted by French firm Adikteev towards the end of 2020. They found that a massive 73% of those shown the prompt, chose to opt-in to the tracking, which would suggest this recent update won’t have anywhere near the significant impact some advertisers think it will.
How Will This Affect my Campaigns?
Here at Fonemedia, we’ve been quietly taking steps for some time to ensure the effect this change has on our products, and therefore on you, is kept to an absolute minimum.
Our Behavioural Push product has traditionally focused on the Android operating system, with iOS push notifications a relatively new addition. As such, you will see no discernible difference when running advertising campaigns through this product.
Our soon-to-be-released Mobile Audio product will also not be affected by this update.
Mobile Enterprise, Mobile Direct, Mobile Plus, and Mobile First will be impacted slightly, as outlined in the analysis below:
As of 2021, Apple only holds a 27.5% mobile market share worldwide. And because this update only affects Apple devices, the remaining 72.5% of mobile phones will see no change in how advertisers currently operate and collect data.
Of that 27.5% share of the mobile phone market Apple holds, 70% of these devices currently opt into IDFA. If the Adikteev study results are correct, we should see no real difference in the number of devices opted in. If the worst-case scenario is to be assumed, the smartphone market’s overall impact will be minimal.
To put it into perspective, according to Statista, there are roughly 3.8 billion smartphones in use around the world. Assuming all non-iOS devices can be targeted for the sake of simplicity (and because they are unaffected by the iOS 14 update), the number of total trackable devices will only fall to 3.173 billion, a 16.5% total decrease (if the number of opted-in IFDA devices fell to 10% from the current 70%).
In summary, this is a big step for privacy control on mobile devices. As a business, we will always strive to do what’s best for our customers and will keep you up-to-date with any and all changes that happen, along with their potential effects and how we plan to work with it.
To find out more, please get in touch!