Blog Post

Apple iOS 14: What It Means for Marketers and First-Party Data

July 7, 2020 - Wesley Farris

During the WWDC Conference in June, Apple announced iOS 14 – an operations systems update that will be coming to iPhones this fall. The update brings a variety of new features to iPhones and iPads, most notably for marketers are some major changes to privacy features. New features will protect users against location tracking and tracking on apps and websites. 

When iOS 14 goes into effect, mobile apps will need to request and receive permission from users via a pop-up opt-in to access a device’s Identifier for Advertisers or IDFA. IDFA is a device identifier that Apple uses to identify a user’s device without revealing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Many advertisers rely on IDFA to find target users, deliver customized advertising, measure campaign performance, and more. 

The IDFA is not going away officially, but it’s critical that marketers start preparing for an IDFA-less world. It’s estimated that the majority of users will be wary of sharing data and will NOT opt-in – with only 0-20% of users expected to be willing to opt-in to IDFA tracking. 

In an IDFA-less world, for marketers to properly track mobile attribution, users will need to have opted-in to tracking on every app where ad impressions were served. 

As a result, fingerprinting and probabilistic attribution will become even more important and mobile measurement vendors like Kochava and AppsFlyer will respond with continued investments to innovate and deliver high demand solutions. 

One drawback to probabilistic methodologies is that they are more susceptible to fraud. Bad faith actors will see Apple’s privacy changes as an opportunity to deceive marketers on attribution. so marketers and strategic partners will need to focus heavily on fraud and brand safety measures. 

Looking Ahead To First-Party Data

If there is a single takeaway for marketers from Apple’s iOS 14 announcement it’s that the risk has never been higher for marketers who rely heavily on IDFA and other third-party data identifiers and tracking sources. Alternatively, the door to opportunity will open wider for marketers that are staying closer than ever to first-party data. 

While the IDFA is largely going away, marketers will still have access to the Identifier for Vendors or IDFV. The IDFV ensures that companies with their own app(s) can use an identifier to access first-party user data and to understand the audiences within the app(s) they own. 

Today, marketers can activate these first-party audiences and push them to many platforms for activation and media buying via the IDFA because it is universal. With the release of iOS 14, marketers will need to focus on identity resolution around hashed emails or households to integrate first-party data seamlessly into activation channels like Facebook and Google. 

The importance of first-party identifiers and data has steadily increased over the years, and Google’s Chrome and Apple’s iOS announcements have sent it forward exponentially. 

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how to set your brand up for success in an IDFA-less world or you just want to chat through some of your concerns related to the iOS 14 release, contact us here.

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