Apple took many by surprise last month at the WWDC 2020 conference when it announced a spate of privacy changes, most notably the decision to deprecate the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).
The IDFA has previously served as a way for advertisers to anonymously track and identify a user in order to deliver more targeted ads.
Much like Google’s decision to deprecate third-party cookies on Chrome, Apple’s call on IDFA’s has many asking – what’s next?
When Apple officially launches iOS 14 in September, the little-known SKAdNetwork API will likely become the future of mobile app attribution.
Launched in 2018, SKAdNetwork has been slated as way for buyers to attribute installs from the app store without having to use a third party.
Apple will now use the network to receive metadata from ad clicks and send information from apps back to advertising networks.
Although it has so far received very little adoption, reports suggest Apple is actively recruiting ad networks to try out its new product.
Upon announcing the end of IDFAs, Apple revealed a handful of updates to SKAdNetwork to help advertisers, including information around the source publisher and conversion events.
This will still allow advertisers to collect information on conversion events, while maintaining greater user privacy.
But according to ADA CEO Srinivas Gattamneni, the change will make it harder for advertisers when it comes to measuring ad spend.
“Apple’s decision to make IDFA (ID for Advertisers) opt-in on iOS 14 onwards is a great move for user privacy, but it will impact the mobile marketing industry moving forward,” Gattamneni said.
“Up to now advertising platforms could track marketing campaign attribution at a device level to ultimately calculate ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) from a specific campaign or ad.
While the SkAdNetwork API will still allow for the collection some information, Gattamneni suggested marketers rethink their strategy at a broader level.
“Marketers will struggle with building Lookalike audiences — audiences of [anonymous] people who share similar characteristics to their target audience. This also has an impact on giants like Facebook and Google who will find it tougher to help their clients optimise campaign targeting,” continued Gattamneni.
“To continue delivering on campaign performance, marketers will need to pivot to letting their creative make an impact. Social listening and video analytics tools will provide the insights to inform the creative process. And creative automation will allow generation of creatives at scale for better targeting and optimisation. These are what marketers can lean on in order to overcome these new IDFA limitations.”
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