The wait is over — Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, stated the ATT prompt will be mandatory with the next release of iOS14 and thus remove the IDFA in March or “early spring”. This morning 2/2, we heard from multiple sources that Apple’s new Beta candidate is out, and ATT is off by default… so, it is really happening! The goal of this article is to share highlights from my conversations with industry leaders and make some suggestions to help you prepare to navigate the POST IDFA world and future-proof your mobile app ad accounts. While this is a massive industry change, full of uncertainty, the good news is that we are all in the boat together.
Impact of Losing IDFA
Over the last seven months, I have spoken to many CEOs, user acquisition, and growth leaders across the mobile app ecosystem. I gathered their perspectives on the impact of losing IDFA on their business and the mobile app/mobile web industries. Their opinions were highly varied. And what is clear, is that no one knows for sure what will happen to their business with the IDFA removed. What is universally accepted is that the financial impact will not be isolated to a titan battle between Facebook and Apple. But it will cause uncertainty and financial stress across the mobile app and mobile web industries during a pandemic and at a time of record unemployment.
Account Restrictions of Apple’s SKAN
The account restrictions of Apple’s SKAN will cause a significant reduction in mobile app and mobile web company’s ability to profitably advertise – with certainty. However, it appears not all market segments or companies will be impacted the same. For example, companies running an eCommerce mobile app using a single agency of record will be less impacted than a game and mobile app advertiser that runs an internal UA team with one or more agencies. SKAN’s negative impact will be driven by both a loss of deterministic measurement and the need to limit the ad account structure to 1 account per app with 9 campaigns and 5 ad sets per campaign. The requirement of a single account restriction will force companies to decide to either keep the iOS 14 account internal or to allow a partner/agency to drive that one account. Obviously, no changes to Android are currently forecast.
Last week, Facebook and Google rolled out recommendations on how to prepare for ATT/IDFA loss. I have summarized my thoughts and recommendations for how to survive and thrive through these highly uncertain times. Also, how to best leverage the expertise of agencies, which will have a broad view into the rapidly evolving impact of IDFA’s rollout to mitigate risk. Please start your review by reading Apple’s SKAdNetwork article.
Implementation of iOS14 and ATT
The implementation of iOS14 and ATT will cause fluctuations in CMPs, reporting efficiency, audience, deterministic LTV models, and traffic quality. But we are uncertain how quickly things will change. Facebook’s testing has revealed more than a 50% drop in Audience Network revenue which may impact apps that make money via ads. Will CPMs drop as impacted companies and segments pull out of the market? We believe spending should slow for those more impacted. Such as, remarketing, hyper-casual / IAA monetized apps, and whale hunters (mid-core/hard-core/social casino). But will other companies step in to keep CPMs high (branding, CPG, etc.)?
It is highly unlikely that the bottom will drop out of any platform, Facebook, TikTok, Snap, or SDK Networks (Unity, Applovin, Vungle, IronSource). However, it is more likely that erosion will occur over 2-4 months as the efficiency of lookalike audiences drop and deterministic LTV models get replaced with less efficient probabilistic solutions.
Recommendations on How to Prepare:
Please review this Facebook post on Actions to Ads for Ads Ecosystem Changes.
For advertisers that optimize, target, and/or measure using web events here is how Apple’s user prompt impacts information sharing:
For advertisers that optimize, target, and/or measure using app events here is how Apple’s user prompt impacts information sharing:
Key actions Mobile App Advertisers need to take before Apple’s IDFA removal in “early spring”.
- Do It Now: Review Facebook’s developer blog post as a great starting point.
- Do It Now: Upgrade to Facebook’s SDK version 8.1 or later, assuming you are using their SDK for advertising.
- Get Ready: Configure App Events Optimization, Mobile App Install, and Events with AAA and Value campaigns.
- Be Ready: Advertisers using Facebook SDK & App Events API, get prepared to use “Advertiser Tracking Enabled” to tell Facebook to restrict data use on a per-event basis.
- Get Ready: If you are using App Events API, plan to integrate SKAN API using Event manager. See instructions in Facebook’s native tools.
- Be Ready: Create several ad accounts (1) Android, (2) iOS < 14, and (3) iOS14 and later. The iOS14 account must strictly adhere to the following account requirements. Including, 1 account, 9 campaigns per app, and 5 ad sets per campaign of the same optimization type. See below for some of our recommendations.
Suggestions for how to set up your iOS14 Account for In-App Purchase (IAP) apps and ideas for how it will evolve when lookalike audience performance erodes.
Recommendations for how to set up your iOS14 Account for In-App Purchase (IAP) apps when lookalike audience performance erodes.
Suggestions for how to set up iOS14 accounts for In-App Purchase (IAP) apps once your lookalikes have eroded and you have tried the above. Please note, these recommendations are not in order of priority. They should be evaluated based on your app/audience and optimization techniques.
Suggestions for how to set up your iOS14 Account for In-App Ads (IAA) apps and ideas for how it will evolve when lookalike audience performance erodes.
Recommendations for how to set up your iOS14 Account for In-App Ads (IAA) apps when lookalike audience performance erodes.
Key actions Web Advertisers need to take before Apple’s IDFA removal “early spring”. (Cont.)
- Do It Now: Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager, see their developer blog post for more information.
- Get Ready: Prepare to operate and define the priority of each of 8 total events per domain. Note this may be a significant change for some companies and require experimentation.
- Be Ready: Evaluate and experiment with attribution windows. Note the potential loss of view-through attribution and required short windows of 24-48 hours.
- Get Ready: Experiment with campaign optimization strategies, bidding, audiences, etc.
Facebook’s AAA API
If you develop proprietary AdTech using the Facebook API, we also recommend that you implement Facebook’s AAA API that was just released on February 1, 2021. Facebook has expanded the access of Automated App Ads to the Marketing Ads API.
- Automated App Ads API is a new way to run an app install ad on Facebook. This helps app marketers of all sizes achieve better performance, greater scale, and more efficiency.
- Automated App Ads leverages powerful machine learning to automatically optimize your campaigns across creative, audience, and optimization. They also deliver more high-value conversions with less effort.
- The product is designed to improve your experience with app marketing in three areas:
- Better performance with AI-powered targeting and improved delivery models.
- Sustain performance when increasing budgets with machine learning that automatically tests creative combinations to deliver the highest performing ads.
- Faster and more efficient campaign management with a streamlined campaign creation flow that reduces the need for manual adjustments.
- Please see their developer documentation for more details on the API.
Check out our other articles related to IDFA removal:
External Articles we recommend:
- Preparing our Partners for iOS 14: Impacts to App Advertisers and Developers
- App Tracking Transparency Codex: the ultimate guide to ATT, IDFA deprecation, and SKAdNetwork
- Tim Cook to speak at EU data conference at Apple-hosted advertising session
- Facebook Login Updates: A New Limited Data Mode
- Apple privileges its own ad network with ATT. What is its privacy endgame?
Facebook’s latest updates to prepare partners for iOS 14:
- Preparing our partners for iOS 14: Mobile Web Advertising [December 16, 2020]
- Facebook’s Previous Updates to Prepare Partners for iOS 14:
- Preparing for Apple’s App Store Data Disclosure Requirements [October 22, 2020]
- Preparing our Partners for iOS 14 [Updated September 10, 2020]
Please reach out to sales@ConsumerAcquisition.com if we can help with IDFA strategy, creative or media buying on Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search Ads.