But that delay only adds a few months onto the deadline. Early next year is sooner than it sounds. And there’s still a lot of prep work that developers and their partners need to do before the IDFA becomes opt-in.
Primarily, that means testing the heck out of SKAdNetwork and figuring out how to implement an effective consent flow. And even with the extra time, it’ll be a scramble.
But the advertising ecosystem is adaptable, said Ekaterina Dudinskaya, VP of performance marketing at mobile game developer Gismart.
“Every update from Apple is positioned by the marketing world as something that will cause significant damage,” she said. “However, as it’s been proven many times, after a few months the industry manages to adapt to the new norm, and we believe this update will be no exception.”
We asked the experts: Will Apple’s extension change how you plan for the coming IDFA changes?
- Shamanth Rao, CEO and founder, RocketShip HQ
- Moshe Vaknin, CEO, YouAppi
- Alex Austin, CEO and co-founder, Branch
- Nathan Levin, CEO and founder, Mobile UA Ltd.
- Paul Müller, CTO and co-founder, Adjust
- Ekaterina Dudinskaya, VP, performance marketing, Gismart
Shamanth Rao, CEO and founder, RocketShip HQ
In the short term, many of our clients had braced for a significant revenue hit in Q4. With the rollout moved to early next year, there’s some relief on account of the transition coming at a less sensitive time.
This gives developers the opportunity to think through their SKAdNetwork strategy and understand what their conversion value architecture needs to look like to be truly representative of the long-term value of their users. This also offers the time to think through and test consent prompts – soft prompts as well as hard ones – to maximize consent rates once the privacy features roll out.
Our current strategy doesn’t change. Rather, we have a longer runway to test our product and be well prepared for Q1. This also gives SKAdNetwork extra time to improve its solution, as there are fundamental pieces missing, such as app retargeting measurement and testing for creative.
Apple has a lot of work ahead of itself to provide the level of granularity that attribution platforms can currently provide mobile marketers. This is especially true for cohorted data which is currently completely unavailable with SKAdNetwork. I also don’t understand why SKAdNetwork would choose not to track impressions, which is such a fundamental part of advertising. Hopefully, this extension not only gives marketers more time to prepare for IDFA deprecation, but also allows Apple to improve on the functionality to be a legitimate tool for marketers.
This stay of execution will allow for a lot more testing through SKAdNetwork to allow marketers to establish baselines and to A/B test their 6-bit configuration and feedback loops for partners. All the while, we’ll still be able to aggressively spend on iOS the same way we have in years past with the majority of our budget. I would project it to be the largest Q4 in terms of dedicated ad spend for iOS that Apple has ever seen.
Apple’s delay of IDFA enforcement is further validation of both poor execution and the magnitude of the impending apocalypse in the most advertising-dependent app economy. While it’s unlikely we’ll see any changes or improvements to the AppTrackingTransparency framework or SKAdNetwork, the extra time will help companies manage the disruption, mostly as they try to understand the accuracy and functionality loss in the move to an IP-based environment.
We’re not planning to make any changes to our current prioritization or activities. Apple has been signaling this for years, and we’re prepared to offer continuity no matter when the change happens. While we do believe SKAdNetwork will play an important role in billing and fraud detection on iOS, our primary focus is making sure the mobile advertising ecosystem supports device-level attribution.
We’ve been hard at work since June building an iOS 14 solution. Having said that, we welcome Apple’s decision to extend the time for implementing those guidelines, because it’s an opportunity for us to further help our clients and partners be ready for when Apple enforces these changes sometime next year.
We’ve started our own research program with the help of our UX and UA experts to help clients implement the best consent flow and UX design that fits their app and maximizes opt-ins. Our SDK supports all iOS 14 privacy features, and we’ll continue our work for full dashboard and server-side integration. Over the next few months, we’ll keep hosting roundtable discussions, developing our research on the consent flow and optimizing our products for iOS 14.
As a large developer and publisher, we’re concerned about how our key partners, such as Facebook Google and ByteDance, will respond to iOS 14 and how it will impact us as an advertiser.
We’re now focused on preparing for the upcoming changes by investing in educating ourselves about new attribution models and using new methods for obtaining data to model the performance metrics of our advertising activities.
We’re also working on evaluating our current partners on the monetization side to distinguish which may suffer the most from the updates and to build new monetization strategies based on that forecast. Regardless of the overall complications with the iOS 14 release, some large networks can better weather the negative impact since they have their own internal attribution and user identification system, such as Facebook.
Responses have been edited and condensed.