Tracking iOS apps after IDFA changes

Cedric Nauwelaerts
Cedric Nauwelaerts

What’s new?

Apple recently confirmed that it will be implementing changes in the iOS 14 update as part of its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy. New measures will mean that users have the ability to block the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) when using apps. Advertisers will now have to ask permission to collect and share user data. Prior to this update, advertisers were able to use the IDFA to deliver targeted adverts and analyse advertising campaign performance. 

What are the implications?

First, it’s important to note that Apple’s announcement affects both users and advertisers. Apple is introducing a raft of modifications that impact app tracking controls to promote tracking transparency and enhance security and privacy. To access the information that was previously available to advertisers, users will now have to opt-in.

When using an app, a user will see a pop-up. The request asks them to choose between allowing app tracking and rejecting tracking. Advertisers will seek permission through the AppTracking Transparency Framework. The implications are similar to the gradual phasing out of third-party cookies and Apple’s ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) tracking impact. 

The image below details the privacy changes associated with iOS 14:

Image source:

What are the benefits?

Increased privacy is the primary benefit for users. They will now have the option to decide whether or not to allow tracking when using apps. As privacy is a concern for most smartphone users, taking proactive steps to protect users is likely to be a welcome step. 

For advertisers, there is still scope to access information. Undoubtedly, companies and agencies will need to evolve and develop alternative ideas and work on innovative solutions. A good example of such new developments is contextual advertising.

What are the limitations?

For app users, there is a choice to opt-in and therefore, the limitations should be minimal. If users want to be tracked, they can simply allow access. 

For advertisers, the adjustments in the new update restrict access to app tracking, but there are alternatives. Apple’s SKAdNetwork provides a more privacy-friendly mechanism. With this feature, registered networks will receive a signal from Apple. This enables advertisers to connect app installations with specific campaigns without revealing user-level data. 

There will not be any clear data on opt-in tracking rates until the update launches. Estimates suggest a range of 10%-15%.

The future of app tracking

The initial reaction to Apple’s IDFA changes may have been one of panic or disbelief. But, there is a silver lining. One upshot is a shift towards enhanced user privacy and superior user experience. 

In the long-term, the modifications may encourage advertisers to develop more sustainable tracking methods. This will benefit customers in terms of personalised recommendations at the same time as providing peace of mind. 

Advertisers are already working on novel and innovative ways to connect with audiences following the update. Adapting will create new opportunities while protecting customers and working towards optimum user privacy.

Upthrust: Taking care of your mobile tracking needs

At Upthrust, we recognise that our clients have ever-evolving needs. That’s why we’re here to cover your mobile tracking requirements. We have extensive experience in digital analytics and we understand the impact and implications of Apple IDFA changes. We work with clients to develop and implement innovative solutions, providing tailored, results-driven services. 

Do you have any questions about the impact of IDFA changes? Would you like to find out more about how Upthrust could help you adapt and evolve? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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