Note: As of January 28th, 2021, Apple has changed its policies regarding attribution on iOS 14. Read about that update and Branch’s latest stance here.
In iOS 14.5 and beyond, likely to be released in spring 2021, Limit Ad Tracking will be enabled by default. This means users will be required to consent to sharing their IDFA and all other user/device-level data via Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework. Everyone in the mobile advertising ecosystem is currently scrambling to get their ducks in a row in time for this enormous change to the mobile industry. Right about now, you’re probably wondering what to do with your ad spend on iOS to make the most of the current systems you have in place before they get interrupted.
We’ve chatted with multiple marketers in the industry, along with experts from different ad tech companies. From that, we’ve put together some handy tips around what we recommend for mobile advertising in September:
1. Expect Interrupted Services
Apple has essentially killed device-level data, so it would be naive to expect that a change of this magnitude would go unnoticed. Even though all players in the industry are working very hard to have the infrastructure in place for a world without granular data, it’s safe to say there will be some interruption to the way things operate, at least for the first couple of weeks. The iOS side of the mobile ecosystem is built on granular attribution data, so removing it could be compared to telemarketing and having phone numbers suddenly removed — definitely plan for interrupted services.
2. Capitalize on iOS While You Can
With this in mind, one recommendation is to upweight the spend on iOS prior to Apple’s new changes. By doing so, you can then significantly downweight, or even pause, iOS campaigns for the remainder of the year. If you have the opportunity to sit back and wait for the storm to pass, that would be your best bet to limit budget wastage.
3. Test and Learn
Post iOS14 release, take the opportunity to test and learn. See what ad types allow you to use Branch links to still get best-in-class cross-platform attribution, make sure SKAdNetwork data is flowing properly between your systems if you opt to utilize it, and speak to your ad partners about what they recommend. See this as an exciting time to reinvent the way you advertise and track attribution on iOS. Branch will continue to release lots of resources in this area, and a good place to look if you want to further your knowledge is our newly launched Branch University — register to make sure you have access to all our resources!
In addition, start testing a pre-permission prompt now to discover how to optimise for higher opt-in rates. Start with a small number of users before launching full-scale in the spring.
4. Transform Your Web Campaigns
Get creative! With Branch’s cross-platform capabilities, why not utilize the web? Place Branch links in your web campaigns and use deep linking to drive users straight to the right content inside your app. If you instead need to drive users directly to your website because of the way the ad partner operates, use a Branch link configured to route users via your website, and still get attribution once the user eventually lands in your app.
5. Keep Android Top of Mind
Lastly, don’t forget about Android. This part of the ecosystem is not affected by the change, so take this opportunity to focus on your Android advertising in the second half of September.
While the IDFA apocalypse is looming, there is a lot to be excited about. This truly is the time to reinvent the way we think about app attribution and mobile marketing in general, and to be honest, we’ve probably had it a little too easy up until now with a common identifier across apps. With this change, we are forced to finally stop thinking about mobile web and app separately, and rather look at mobile as one unified part of the marketing mix. Further, this change will push companies to be strategic about their martech stack to ensure they’re properly equipped to continue to drive optimal growth — and still have the data to prove what channels work. Let’s take this opportunity to burst open the walls of fragmentation that exist on such a tiny device, and work together to form the future of mobile marketing.