How iOs14 IDFA Changes Will Impact Attribution Models for Mobile Apps
By now most of us have come to know that Apple is about to remove IDFA support from iOs14-powered mobile devices (the change has been delayed to early 2021, which is the silver lining in the situation, giving the companies and agencies affected by the change a little bit of extra time to adjust and plan ahead). This is going to impact the ad tech industry on several fronts.
After having looked at this major update closely, we have come to the conclusion that IDFA explicit opt-in (i.e. users who express their consent to be tracked by ads) won’t be a huge success for advertisers. We strongly believe very few users will explicitly opt-in to receive personalized ads; this means campaigns that rely on users who opted in won’t have scalability in terms of reach, which is, in other words, “no bueno” for advertisers but in a way also possibly for the users (essentially relevant ad targetization will be lost).
We already discussed in another article how this will force advertisers to buy more mobile web traffic for their acquisition campaigns. Essentially new strategies will need to be used in order for advertisers compensate and maintain their revenues.
But there is another effect of the changes in iOs14. Fingerprinting will be widely used as the only possible attribution model for app campaigns. (If you don’t know what an attribution model is you can start reading about it here).
Wait. What is fingerprinting? It’s a statical method to identify the correct source of an action (app install, post install event, …). When the user clicks an ad the Web Browser opens up the App Store application. Tracking this action is possible only through the analysis of some data (basically IP address & user agent). This means that every action is probabilistically attributed to the click (i.e. the attribution is precise but not perfect).
This is true only for iOs, because the play store supports the concept of click ID, so on Android there is no need to use a probabilistic model.
Back to iOs14 — the surge of mobile web traffic usage means more fingerprinting.
The changes will have a lesser impact on acquisition channels such as Google & Facebook, since they will use more sophisticated models & benefit from “special” support from Apple (though it seems that Instagram is a little worried too).
Is this good for the mobiles ads ecosystem? We don’t have a clear answer yet, but there are some pros and cons we can start looking at:
- Fingerprinting is less precise than device ID. It might lead to wrong attribution data about your campaigns.
- Fingerprinting might detect organic activity as the results of clicks on ads (basically this is a kind of fraud).
- Running retargeting or re-engagement campaigns only on fingerprinting is definitely feasible but certainly not easy.
- Mobile web traffic is cheaper, so fingerprinting will probably lower acquisition costs, BUT:
- The probabilistic model will require higher costs for using attribution platforms.
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In the end, we believe iOs14 changes will mostly effect the way traffic is sold and bought, and likely the promotional strategies, but overall, campaigns and budgets won’t be significantly affected. At least not to the point that advertisers should despair.
We will continue to keep a close eye on the ongoing industry reaction and will continue to update our Blog to keep our readers informed on any new or major news as we get closer to 2021.
Mapendo is a tech platform for app user acquisition. We deliver huge volumes of CPA & CPI conversions to the best mobile apps available with A.I.
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