Changes in iOS 14.5: Another wake-up call for advertisers

Changes in iOS 14.5: Another wake-up call for advertisers


By: James Kupras, Chief Technologist of The CLV Group

Change seems to be the only constant in our industry these days. 

The most recent update from Apple has caught the eye of marketers and app developers who rely on IDFA for media targeting and campaign attribution. We are going to break-down, however, why these metrics may be less of a concern to those brands who have developed a 1st party data strategy. 

In the utmost of simplifications, iOS 14.5 (Apple’s newest release) has a feature called “App Tracking Transparency” (ATT) that enables consumers to easily opt-out of being tracked by advertising companies. While Apple had holistically eliminated tracking in the Safari browser by removing support for third-party cookies years ago, tracking within mobile applications is/was still possible via IDFA, Apple’s device identifier for advertisers.

After upgrading to iOS14.5 and upon installing a new mobile app, consumers will see a prompt where they must select if the mobile application can or cannot use the IDFA for tracking. This is yet another positive move in making data usage and tracking more visible to consumers. 

What impact does this have on data-driven marketing and advertising?

  • In App Conversion Tracking:

    • Mobile app owners will no longer be able to leverage the IDFA to deterministically track conversions from affiliates and media partners

  • Targeted Media:

    • DMP, DSP, SSP and similar technologies that leverage IDFA to target and/or retarget users will be significantly hindered

How should brand advertisers address the changes within their planning and buying strategies?

First of all…now is the time to reflect and assess. Before rushing to identify a solution, do you understand what new customer acquisition delivers to your business vs. your existing customer base? How frequently do newly acquired users purchase in the first 30, 60, 90 days? How much advertising spend do you need to put towards retention of these users? Leverage historically available metrics to develop these key insights and benchmarks. 

Next, how are you suppressing your current customers from acquisition efforts? While this may sound simple and tactical, without the attributable identifiers in place, it can save you wasted time and resources by ensuring this is in place properly.  

Now is the time to reimagine practices by putting customers preferences at the center of your strategy. Yes, your traditional ways of using app data for targeting or tracking app downloads is called into question – but if your customers are asking you to respect their privacy, what is there to question?