Apple didn’t kill its ad ID this week, which some see as a cause for cautious optimism.
But others view Apple’s move to require an opt-in to use its IDFA as the harbinger of, well, a coming apocalypse for mobile ad tech.
Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) is now essentially Apple’s default position on app tracking.
“Look, the IDFA is dead,” said Alex Austin, CEO of deep-linking startup Branch. “There is no other way to interpret this.”
Specifically, starting with iOS 14, which is set for release in September, developers must get permission from users before tracking them with the IDFA on an app-by-app basis. Apple dropped the news Monday at its virtual Worldwide Developers Conference.
A new permission dialog will ask users to allow or deny tracking for advertising before any tracking occurs, either at first launch or before using certain app features.
Some text in the notification will be customizable. In the documentation for iOS 14, Apple advises using the space to inform users about why the app is asking for permission to track them. Users then have the option to grant or deny the request.
The question is, are people actually going to opt in when presented with an explicit choice between being tracked and not being tracked?
App developers at least have a better chance of getting an opt-in than their web counterparts, where the value exchange isn’t as clear, said David Simon, CRO of app monetization company Fyber.
“The opt-in notice is an opportunity for developers to demonstrate their value to the consumer,” Simon said. “Obviously, I’m not saying this is hurrah and amazing for developers, but the value exchange in apps is tighter and cleaner – tracking makes a game free, for example – versus on the web, where sometimes all people get for opting into cookie tracking is the ability to read one article.”
Most mobile developers are also already familiar with how Apple’s permission system works, because they’ve had to get opt-ins for lots of other things in the past, including access to a user’s microphone, location or contacts lists, said Romain Gauthier, CEO and co-founder of French consent management platform Didomi.
When the request is appropriate, consent rates within apps typically range from 50% to 70% in Didomi’s experience, Gauthier said.
But Branch’s Austin is skeptical that users will smash that “Allow Tracking” button.
“We’re operating under the assumption that 95% or more of people will opt out – honestly, I’d be shocked if more than 5% of people opted in,” said Austin, noting that in certain countries, LAT numbers are high even without making the IDFA an opt-in feature.
In the United States, more than 30% of iOS users have LAT switched on, according to data from mobile marketing analytics company Singular. In the United Kingdom, it’s 28%. In Germany, 22.5% of iOS users disabled ads personalization.
Other signs point to tracking getting a lot trickier in the iOS ecosystem, even if Apple isn’t formally quashing the IDFA.
Another shoe is probably going to drop soon, and it belongs to Google.
The clock is ticking on GAID: the Google Advertising ID.
“Google has already said it’s going to remove third-party cookies in Chrome, and now Apple’s set the precedent on mobile,” Austin said. “There’s nothing stopping Google from closing that down entirely.”