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Your Apple iOS 14 Primer

by | Feb 2, 2021

Welcome to 2021, and the still-dizzying changes happening in our industry.  The most-watched update in Q1 will be Apple’s iOS 14 rollout.  With this operating system update, Apple is requiring app owners — everyone from banking apps to social media apps) to prompt users to opt-in to tracking. Proactive apps, like Twitter, have already started asking users to do this and have been explaining why it’s important.

It’s important to note that the Apple iOS 14 change only impacts ads served IN mobile apps.  Looking at our internal data, 79% of all the programmatic impressions we serve are mobile.

Roughly half of that is being served on mobile websites including news, entertainment and niche content sites.  The other half will be impacted by this iOS update as those impressions are being served within an app.

Of the many things we love about our industry is that technology is always adapting.  That is true of this Apple situation too.  App owners are quickly adopting an alternative to Apple’s IDFA (ID for Advertisers).  The SKADNetwork that is being developed gives advertisers access to conversion data.

More specifically, it provides the following level of targeting and tracking info:

  1. Click-through attribution for ads displayed in mobile apps
  2. Campaign, creative, and placement details
  3. Accurate, fraud-free attribution when ads are served in-app

Now, to what you don’t get:

  1. View-through attribution isn’t supported. An ad will need to be clicked to have engagement captured
  2. User-level data – no identifiable, user details will be captured (P.S. They never were).

What does this mean for us as marketers?

We expect to see a drop in traffic initially, as iPhone users adopt the changes being pushed out.  Then — because having location and other tracking info “turned-on” is essential to how we use our phones (think weather and traffic apps) — we will see people opting-in and impression shares returning to a more normal level.

With the last similar, iOS change, we saw a drop in available in-app inventory of about 35%, but it came back within six months.

Specific to social, January Spring has the ability to procure device IDs, based on geo-fencing and upload those directly into Facebook to build a custom audience.  The technology we use is built right into the apps that people use every day, making it a reliable and less-impacted source of audience data.  If you haven’t launched this offering yet, contact your January Spring sales coach to learn more. You can read more about this new offering, here.