First things first. What is IDFA? IDFA stands for Identifier for Advertisers. Traditionally IDFA was available by default to app developers and it was used to uniquely identify a device, hence being able to provide personalized ads.
It seems that in iOS 14 the users will now be prompted to allow sharing their IDFA with an app (like in the screenshot below).
As it is expected that the majority of users will decline to grant permission, this means that advertisers' capability to serve personalized ads will be diminished. Here’s Google’s point of view on the situation: “Apple's ATT changes will reduce visibility into key metrics that show how ads drive conversions (like app installs and sales) and will affect how advertisers value and bid on ad impressions. As such, app publishers may see a significant impact to their Google ad revenue on iOS after Apple’s ATT policies take effect. To help improve iOS monetization rates, we encourage developers to upgrade to version 7.64 of the Google Mobile Ads SDK for new features like SKAdNetwork support.”
Google said that it will no longer use the IDFA, so the users of Google applications on iOS will not see the prompt above. Anyway, Google does have its own mobile ad ID, so it will be able to partly track users. Facebook on the other hand will be in a much dire situation and it will be in an even worse situation as it is very likely that Google will implement something similar to Apple’s IDFA prompt in Android, to avoid customer backlash.
Here’s Facebook’s point of view on the situation: Apple's upcoming anti-tracking privacy-focused change in iOS 14 will have a harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat and on the free internet that we all rely on more than ever. [...] We disagree with Apple's approach and solution, yet we have no choice but to show Apple's prompt. If we don't, they will block Facebook from the App Store, which would only further harm the people and businesses that rely on our services. We cannot take this risk on behalf of the millions of businesses who use our platform to grow.
So, just to sum up, and considering that more than half of website traffic comes from mobile devices, following those changes, we will lose the ability to track individual characteristics like age or gender and a lot of user actions taking place on our website. The tracking will be limited to a single session, meaning that when a user leaves the session and later returns, it will be treated as a new visitor. Also, conversion tracking will be click based only, we will not be able to measure anymore impression based conversions, like in the case of retargeting campaigns.
Most advertisers that are running single search ads, like Google search won’t be dramatically affected by the changes. But those relying on display/ YouTube ads, things will be more difficult, as you won’t be able to rely as much on data from the past. Also automated bidding will be affected.
Okay, so what now? Well, as some of you may know, for a very long time i’ve been an advocate of returning to proprietary assets. Yes, you SHOULD use everything that Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and all the others offer, but DON’T put all your eggs in their baskets. To protect your online presence and valuable data on the long term you should definitely keep the most important stuff on proprietary assets. Invest in your website, your email marketing strategy, customer support tools and CRMs & marketing automation tools.
Take the IFDA case at hand. Good CRMs and solutions such as HubSpot CRM, Salesforce CRM, HubSpot Marketing Hub or Salesforce Marketing Cloud are capable of independently tracking prospects right from their signup. You can say, with pinpoint accuracy for ONE PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL which had brought him/ her to you, every email he/ her opened, actions taken and so on. And the best part of it is that this data is YOUR PROPERTY. Not Apple’s, not Google’s, not Facebook’s.
If you need our help starting building your proprietary digital marketing & sales infrastructure, contact us here. These days we even have some co-marketing campaigns running with our partners (like Salesforce or HubSpot) and we can provide solutions that start from 1kEUR and can be implemented in less than 3 weeks.