The Moment Is Here! Be Prepared For IDFA Changes Today.
It’s a game changing moment for app developers & marketing teams.
Haven’t you heard? IDFA degradation is here.
But don’t worry, we are here to help you understand everything you need so you can make the right decisions.
Since Apple delayed the implementation of the IDFA tracking rules, that gave us some time to analyze what needs to be done and prepare ourselves for this new game changing moment.
For you as an app developer and growth marketer, there are action items and next steps you need to take right away and some others, while the SKAdNetwork implementation and IDFA degradation applies this year (It is rumored that it will be by March 2021).
Action Items you should take into account:
App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Framework and Implementation:
Apple claims that its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt, which it will require developers to display at some point this year and which allows users to opt into ad tracking for each app they download; provides consumers with choice around how their data is collected and used. With the ATT app developers can prompt their users in order to opt in to share their device ID (IDFA) with the developer.
Why is it important for you to have the ATT prompt and have a certain number of users sharing their IDFA?
With the ATT prompt developers can ask their users to opt in to share their IDFA. On the other hand, with the SKAdNetwork network there will be up to 24 hours delay to get install attributions and up to 72 hours to get post install events conversion. As a result you are dealing with a delay problem that will cost you a lot of money in order to understand your early KPIs.
So for example, let’s say today you are investing $10k a day on UA, now you will have to wait up to 72 hours to analyze your early KPIs like D1 ROAS. However, when you get the IDFA prompted users data you will not face the challenge of delay, everything will be the same way as it is now.
What you can do with this data is analyze the early KPIs as early as the first or second day of install, instead of waiting 72 hours and use those learnings as a directional understanding of what the metrics will look like for the SKAdNetwork reported users and then take actions immediately.
Here’s another example, let’s say you are investing $10k a day on UA, so from the opted in users you can see directionally if the early KPIs are strong or hitting your targets for that segment. If not, then you don’t have to wait up to 72 hours and invest $30k (for three days of running UA) in order to see what the early KPIs are from your SKAdNetwork report.
So you probably want to know how to prompt users to opt in?
Easy, by giving incentives or messaging that they will receive a better gaming experience if they share it.
And what you should do now with ATT Prompt as a developer?
You should start by running A/B testing for small segments of your existing users, in order to learn the opt in rate. This will also help you optimize it to get most of the opt ins when you launch it across all your audiences. The industry is aiming for opt in rate for anywhere from 15%-40%.
Next Steps: Preparation
Make sure you update your SDK to the latest version that covers the SKAdNetworkN framework. Most of the MMPs, such as Appsflyer, have built a separate dashboard that reports to you all the SKAdNetwork numbers. So keep in mind that your old dashboard will still be separate. Basically you will end up getting two dashboards from Appsflyer, one for the SKAdNetwork numbers and one for IDFA opted in user numbers.
Make sure to set up SKADNetwork conversion value event mapping. You will have to go through your MMP iOS14 setting and turn on conversion value management for the SKADNetwork setting and add up to 6 events (yes, another new limitation!).
Prior to diving into each channel and how to prepare for the upcoming tsunami, please keep in mind that no company has all the answers about the impact, including giants such as Facebook and Google. The statement that all those companies are making, is that it is going to be an ongoing learning process for all of us, including developers. So our job will be to prepare ourselves with the available resources in the marketplace.
Facebook Next Steps:
Facebook advertising in most app developers’ cases, is the largest spender of the UA budget and it will be highly important to start taking actions and identify what the known limitations will be on their platform.
Prior to diving into what actions you should take, I want to share with you what Facebook will be doing on their end. They will be using Apple’s ATT framework to prompt their own users of Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp to opt in, into sharing IDFA.
Why is it important for Facebook and their advertisers to opt in, in the ATT framework?
Because when a common user between Facebook and a third party, like an app developer, opts in on both products, Facebook will be able to do identity matching of the user and that will help better serve ads on their platform. On the other hand, they will be using Apple’s SKAdNetwork API for App Business tools such as Business Manager.
Which Facebook product will experience the bigger impact?
It will impact the most on their core business products such as:
- Business tools (Business Manager, Facebook Analytics…)
- Events Setup (Purchase Events, Level Completion, etc)
- Targeting (Lookalikes, Retargeting, Interest Targeting)
You should also take into account that this is not only going to impact advertisers to iOS14 devices, but the whole iOS marketplace. Besides, with the SKAdNetwork reporting, the data will be aggregated and delays are expected (up to 24 hours for install and up to 72 hours for post install events).
What does data aggregation mean to advertisers?
Data will be aggregated at campaign level and country level only. With this change we will lose the ability to look at demographic data such as gender or age groups.
In addition, with this new change we will no longer be able to do lift measurements (A/B Testing Control Vs. Test Groups) on app install and app engagement campaigns.
What are the limitations on the ad accounts?
Each brand will be limited to one ad account and each ad account can only have a maximum of 9 campaigns. Each campaign can have a maximum of 5 ad sets with an unlimited amount of ads.
Take notes of the following Recommended Actions listed by Facebook:
To do Now:
- Submit app privacy details to Apple via App Store Connect.
- Review Facebook’s data ingestion practices available in their developers blog post to inform app privacy details via Apple’s App Store Connect.
- Include the SDK data sharing like app install if using Facebook SDK update to 8.1 or above now.
To prepare for later:
- For advertisers using the Facebook SDK and App Event API: Configure conversion schema for app Events Optimization, App Installs and Events with Automated App Ads (AAA) and value optimization campaigns.
- For advertisers using MMP: Consult with them on their SKAdNetwork integration and conversion schema configuration.
- If you use any app based business tools (fb SKD for ex), you will need to prepare to use “Advertiser Tracking Enabled” flag to instruct Facebook to restrict data use on a per event basis. And if you only use the App event API, plan to integrate the SKAdNetwork API via Events Manager instruction.
- Plan to have all campaigns of one app in one ad account with 9 campaigns and 5 assets max for each.
Google Next Steps:
Google just recently made an announcement about how developers and advertisers should prepare for iOS14 and what the impacts are. As we predicted, they don’t have a precise solution nor quantifiable impact on Google Ads Campaigns. But their stance is that they are working closely with Apple to further improve the SKAdNetwork so advertisers can measure campaign results accurately.
They also are encouraging advertisers to monitor performance closely as the day comes and make bid and budget adjustments accordingly to achieve the goal. In addition, they expect fluctuations in performance for iOS App Campaigns and they also stated that App Campaigns for Engagement will be significantly impacted and we will see a decrease in reach.
However, what’s interesting about Google’s approach is they won’t be using the ATT framework for their own apps such as YouTube or Gmail. That means, they are ready to turn the IDFA page and start with new beginnings with SKAdNetwork. Therefore, they are encouraging developers to upgrade the Google Mobile Ads SDK to version 7.64. This version includes the SKAdNetwork support feature that will help tracking monetization better.
What are the “Action Items” that Google is asking you to take now?
If you are using Google Analytics for Firebase, they encourage you to update it to the latest version to include SKAdNetwork support. With that they will automatically register your app for SKAdNetwork attribution to help measure first open conversions. The alternative to this will be to implement Apple’s SKAd Network API instead of using Google Analytics for Firebase.
As we expected consolidation is also their recommendation: Since there will be campaign quantity limitation, they are recommending 8 app install campaigns per app. They haven’t specified if we will be able to use multiple ad accounts for the same app.
tROAS campaigns are gone, until further notice! They are asking advertisers to pause tROAS campaigns if you are participating in the beta and revert those campaigns to tCPA or tCPI. There’s a big limitation right there, especially if you are optimizing the highest LTV and ROAS for your campaigns.
Reporting for iOS App Campaigns:
- They are moving to modeled conversion reporting methods just as they had for Search Campaigns. This means your conversion column—as well as your install, in-app action, and conversion value columns—may contain modeled conversions.
- On the other hand, they will have a separate SKAdNetwork report which you will be able to access through Reporting > Other > SKAN conversions after Apple’s ATT policies are implemented. The SKAdNetwork report will be available through Google Ads Api in the coming months.
What you need to know about “View Through Attribution”?
Here it is: VTR will be gone! With the loss of VTR, there will most likely to be a loss in performance on UAC campaigns. You should also account for Google’s algorithms requiring a learning period after the change in order to adjust to the new world. This may cause fluctuations in performance for the short-term. But it may be worth trying to switch budget to UAC campaigns on Android
To fix the loss of View through Attribution, Media mix modeling using data from previous iOS versions and opted-in iOS14 data is likely to become the de facto solution to investigate.
What about “Delayed Reports”?
To avoid delaying reports for channels using SKAdNetwork, you’ll want to limit the number of post-install events you track. Similar to the events you’re tracking for Lookalike Audiences, you should identify which are the most important events that are early leading indicators of monetization and retention, and start focusing on tracking these events.
Snapchat Next Steps:
Snapchat recently shared with their clients their stance and they do not have any specific solutions as well, but they are recommending to take the same actions that Facebook is recommending. They mentioned they will share the expected impact with their clients soon.
It’s important to take into account that Snapchat will be using Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework to collect user IDFAs. That would be key for merging with developer data for better targeting, similar to what Facebook will be doing.
“Snapchat plans to show the tracking prompt (“modal”) to users and continue collecting IDFA (Identifier for Advertising) for iOS users who opt-in to tracking on iOS 14.”
As expected they are also jumping on board of SKAdNetwork integration:
“Snapchat intends to fully support Apple’s SKAdNetworkNetwork measurement solution while maintaining flexibility for our advertisers. We plan to provide reporting in both Ads Manager and Mobile Measurement Partner dashboards. In fact, we moved quickly to test SKAdNetworkNetwork in a closed beta in Q4 ‘20, and plan to make SKAdNetworkNetwork generally available within the coming month.”
If you want to know more about their recommendations, check out their Q&A and Campaign Setup section in the link below:
Non-Self Attributing Networks (Ironsource, Unity, Vungle, etc.,) Next Steps:
The initial thought in the marketplace was that this will be the end to non self attributing networks until the MMPs and those networks, found a solution that for now sounds reliable. That solution is called Probabilistic Modeling using fingerprinting as the backbone for this method.
What this means is that those networks and MMPs will start using IP Addresses, Device characteristics (device type, ram size, WiFi, network) using the fingerprinting method. The expected coverage of attribution with this model is 95%. If they prove out this model successfully, then this might be “the solution”.
An important reminder is that Apple prohibited fingerprinting tracking with iOS 14, however there’s a catch here. Appsflyer is calling this privacy-centric attribution which is aligned with iOS 14 guidelines.
Apple Search Ads Next Steps:
Unlike other self attributing networks, ASA will not be impacted by the iOS 14 deprecation because they don’t use user IDs for behavioral targeting in the first place. Their nature of advertising is intent based.
On the other hand, the rumor in town is they might use this to their favor and build their own ad network to compete against giants like Facebook or Google. However, so far Apple disputed this allegation.
What can you do with your ASA campaigns now?
If you haven’t been giving them love lately, now it might be a good time. Why? First because they aren’t going to be impacted by the change. Second, ASA is expensive right now and we expect it to be even more expensive as advertisers will shift their budgets toward their platform when iOS14 deprecation is in place.
You also want to make sure you start positioning yourself in the market through your own branded keywords and competitor keywords even though it will cost you now. Because if you wait, it might be costlier or too late to position yourself later.
In conclusion, even though we are recommending you sharpen your ASA skills, we advise you to take it with a grain of salt approach because ASA has always been a challenge for advertisers to invest efficiently and drive positive ROAS. We expect we will have similar challenges in the future.
And last but not least, let’s check out what Appsflyer commented:
Unlike fingerprinting, which seeks to maximize captured data points from each user in hopes of creating an ID, AppsFlyer’s Probabilistic Modeling is employed with the sole purpose of non-deterministically attributing users’ activity within the scope of their apps, and connect that to their owned media such as websites, social media platforms, emails, user referrals, and their own ads which users interacted with.
This form of anonymized attribution is based on machine learning and probabilities, as opposed to ID matching and lookback window, therefore lookback windows cannot be defined.
We believe that our privacy-centric attribution, that enables aggregated attribution data integration with partners, is aligned with Apple’s iOS 14 guidance.
With that said, we recommend our customers, whether or not they plan to leverage ATT, to review the Apple app developer agreement, all their partners integrations, and data collecting policies to make sure that their app is compliant with iOS 14 guidelines.
We hope all the information in this article will help you to be prepared for what is coming and to start taking the steps your company needs in order to succeed with this new IDFA tracking rules.
Are you interested in learning more about how to prepare your UA team for this change? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org