Advertising platforms of all sorts are updated constantly to reach some kid of perfection, but there are some universal, intrinsic concepts that modern-world advertising is based on. One of them is the ability to track the user on various platforms anywhere on the Internet. No conspiracy theories implied: it’s just the ability to recognize user A with a device B as the same user A that visits various websites and downloads apps.
Apple’s IOS has IDFA (introduced in 2012) — identifier for advertisers for this purpose. It is a unique, randomly generated ID assigned to a user’s device. It is also resettable, which means that it is ‘renewed’ every now and then so that the user’s privacy is not compromised. The Android version of this ID is called AAID (Android Advertising ID), but their purpose is almost identical.
Currently, IDFA is enabled by default (opt-in), but users can enable LAT (limited ad tracking) and opt out, for that they need to go to the Settings menu. Interesting fact: the advertisers who use analytics platforms can get pretty close estimates of how many users have enabled LAT, for example, when they use Adjust.
In June 2020, Apple announced that the new release of their mobile operating system — IOS 14, planned for September 2020, and alongside with it — the new IDFA rules.
“Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used” (from the Apple presentation)
In short, the system turns to “opt-in” rule: to allow ad tracking, users will have to give permission to every single app, who will show a pop-up notification with a request.
To avoid misuse, Apple has warned app owners against forcing and bribing their clients to agree to tracking.
The news has been a bombshell and caused panic among both advertisers and advertising platforms. Facebook did not hesitate to forecast an immediate 7% drop in developers’ revenue: a huge part of how Audience Network currently works os based on IDFA.
Due to the fuss and criticism, Apple has delayed the introduction of the new rules.
There have been rumours about the advantages they gain with this innovation (like the exclusive benefits for their own apps), but no one’s there to prove or deny the claims.
In December 2020 Facebook announced a campaign against the new rules. They wiil run ads to explain users why they should allow ad tracking and how users will benefit from being shown personalized ads.
Developers have already named a few shady ways to fight against the opt-in, but they all have one thing in common — being caught results in eternal ban in the App Store.
Some pessimistic comments claim that the blissful era of free apps living on in-app ads will come to its decline. Most on the ad tracking platforms have released some sorts of white papers trying to explain the new règle de jeu.
We believe that the advertising industry will manage to find a solution — because the price of a failure is going to be too high.
Are you afraid of what comes next? Do you think advertisers will give up easily, find bypasses or invent something completely new?
Please share your opinion!