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What Can Marketers Do About Apple's ATT Policy


For marketers, Apple users are the crème de la crème of mobile ad targeting. Collectively, they generate more than $500 billion a year in ad revenue via in-app advertising. But now, new policies Apple has implemented regarding user privacy puts Apple-centric marketing efforts in peril.


Since the 14.5 iOS update, the new AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) policy has been shaking up mobile ad campaigns all around the industry. When only 5% of American app users are opting into tracking, what else would you expect? It’s not the end of the world for advertisers, though; we just need to adjust our approach to a new, more privacy-oriented framework.


Getting ATT the Crux of the Issue


Apple designed the ATT policy to prevent user data without consent. For users, this is a good thing because they get to decide where their data goes. For advertisers, this makes it harder to personalize campaigns. Ad networks will be unable to collect the identifier for advertisers (IDFA) of users who have opted not to share their data. Without IDFA, ad networks can’t create and share data on audience behavior. For advertisers, this means you won’t target groups based on their interests or run retargeting campaigns.


Any ad network that has a mobile app on iOS 14.5 is affected, including:

  • Social media ad networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok

  • Ecommerce ad networks, including Amazon or eBay

  • Mobile game apps with in-game advertising


Some of these mobile apps have millions of daily users, so you can imagine how big of a hit this is. However, if a user uses an earlier version of iOS, they won’t be affected by the new policy. Likewise, desktop campaigns and ads served to Android users also won’t be affected.


Maintaining High Performing Mobile Campaigns


The ATT announcement unsurprisingly spurred many advertisers to explore alternatives. One option that advertisers are looking into is called the SKAdNetwork. Apple actually launched this framework back in 2018 and has been updating it ever since. It aims to help measure conversion rates of app install campaigns (CPI) without compromising users’ identities, limiting ATT’s impact on tracking performance.


Another option could be a mobile measurement partner (MMP). Essentially, an MMP is a software development kit (SDK) with an attribution feature, and they provide a unified view of omnichannel campaign performance. MMPs are currently creating algorithmic alternatives that will allow advertisers to do attribution again with criteria such as device type or IP address.


Explore More Mobile Options With The Ward Group


ATT is just one example of changing privacy parameters. Across the digital ad industry, user privacy concerns are prompting many changes, including the retirement of third-party cookies and more robust user data controls. As you navigate these changes, you may find you’ll have to rethink how you target your audiences. So whether you want to learn more about how to take it back to basics and use contextual targeting, take advantage of first-party data, or explore new technologies, The Ward Group will ensure your ad budget is invested correctly. Contact us today to get started!