What is an Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA)? The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a device identifier assigned by Apple to a unique user’s device. Advertisers use this to track user data so they can effectively target and deliver customized advertising. The IDFA is used for tracking and identifying a user without revealing personal information.
This data can show which in-app events a user triggers. The IDFA can also identify when users interact with a mobile advertising campaign, provided the channel offers IDFA tracking and the advertiser tracks users who interact with it successfully. If this occurs, the IDFA can identify whether specific users click an advertisement for payment and attribution purposes.
Why is IDFA important for advertisers?
IDFA is important because it gives an accurate means to track users in the mobile advertising ecosystem. By assigning a device to a single IDFA, advertisers who can track IDFAs within a campaign have greater certainty about the defining qualities of that user and whether they installed due to an advertising campaign. IDFA also offers a welcome level of privacy for users. This can have additional effects for advertisers, while the IDFA’s depersonalization of user data ensures that it is on the right side of data protection efforts.
The Android equivalent to the Identifier for Advertisers is called a GPS ADID (or Google Play Services ID for Android). A user has access to their GPS ADID in their settings menu under ‘Google – Ads.’ They can also reset the ID and opt out of ad personalization.
How has IDFA changed in the advertising ecosystem?
In Spring 2021, Apple removed IDFA tracking capabilities from iOS14.5, which has had a reverberating impact on the mobile advertising industry because many platforms rely on IDFA to enable efficient ad targeting, like Facebook, TikTok, Snap, and many other advertising networks.
For months we have been sharing insights about the loss of Apple’s IDFA and its profound impact on the mobile app ad ecosystem (Hey Apple, You Suck!, IDFA Armageddon Part I, IDFA Armageddon Part II, IDFA Armageddon Part III). After reviewing $250 million in ad spend, we now have a clearer picture of how dramatically Apple has hurt iOS app advertisers and we have recommendations for how to survive and thrive in this post-IDFA world!
How has IDFA loss impacted lookalike audience targeting?
Prior to the loss of IDFA, lookalike audience targeting was reliable, effective, and efficient; it offered limitless opportunities to slice and dice revenue events to uncover new high-value users. A strong lookalike audience could scale and run for a month or more; but now, ROAS might be 0.5% when it was previously 15%. As a result, advertisers have been decreasing social ad spend for iOS by 40-50% each month since ATT enforcement and are consistently shifting more ad spend over to Android. However, Android ads are surprisingly not immune to the larger ecosystem effects of IDFA. Android performance across social networks is declining, as well. With GAID going strong, the inflated CPMs aura effect on Android advertising means everyone needs to get more creative.
According to Facebook, creative must speak to the distinct motivations of different types of players; they identify this as a massively underutilized opportunity for ad efficacy as user tracking declines. They recommend, “…as gaming advertisers look to diversify their strategies in response to an evolving ads ecosystem, motivation-led creatives provide a future-proof solution.” For user acquisition teams, experimentation with interest groups may unlock pockets of efficiency, and persona-led creative help advertisers design an experience to meet the target user’s expectations, needs, and desires. Like appealing to motivation, Branch’s 2021 Mobile Growth Handbook recommends aligning ad creative with user intent.
While much of the industry has been focused on user behavior, the deterioration of lookalike audiences and the black box of deeper funnel events means a user’s declared interests are critically important for insights into motivation and intent.
Check Out Our Blockbuster Creative!
Follow us for more insights and update on IDFA changes and impact:
- As research into this post, we have spoken with twenty large spenders. They agree that fully loaded costs of internal UA teams are 6-8% of media spend. Consider leveraging the expertise and optics that an external agency provides. This will give you a broader understanding of the highly evolving IDFA impact.
- Founded in 2013, ConsumerAcquisition.com is a technology-enabled marketing services company that has managed over $3 billion in creative and social ad spend for the world’s largest mobile apps and web-based performance advertisers. We provide a creative studio and user acquisition services for Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search social advertisers.
- We can provide your internal user acquisition team a perspective on iOS14 impact across paid social providers. Our Hollywood-based team of storytellers can produce a steady stream of persona-driven creative ideas to stay ahead of creative fatigue.
- Contact Sales@ConsumerAcquisition.com to work with the team.
Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.