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3 Things UA Managers Should Do Following Apple’s iOS 10 Tracking Limitations

By Shay Gabay, Business Development Manager
September 25 2016

If you are managing your UA campaigns on mobile, I’m sure you have heard Apple’s latest update on iOS 10.

In a nutshell, when users update their Apple devices to iOS 10 and switch LAT (limit ad tracking) on, their devices will be signaled as zeroed ID (00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000), and become useless data when it comes to attributing paid UA/Re-engagement. Meaning that when Richie Rich from Beverly Hills, who spends 50K annually on games, decides to activate LAT, he might as well be Sally from the Slums – from the advertiser’s data POV.

A lot of serious implications can be inferred from this:

  1. 10%-15% blindness in UA all across the board (according to estimations) meaning  revenue attributed to paid UA can be lost once numbers will start piling up.
  2. Inabilities with personalized retargeting.
  3. Negative user experience – users receiving irrelevant ads on iOS, which may also lead to advertisers experiencing a decline in acquiring high-quality users
  4. Make UA more complex and expensive if mobile developers insist on getting device-level data, then analytics companies will have to build tailored solutions and potentially sell them, thus making UA even more expensive.

Having said all of the above, some speculate that this disruption will actually open opportunities to smaller developers – high-quality users who had an expensive price-tag previously will now be “open” to view other, smaller companies, which were unable to reach them before due to very competitive bid levels.

It is still premature to decide how this will impact the industry in the long run (Apple’s search ads perhaps), but a few suggestions to deal with the situation should come in handy:

  • Measure the effect: We already know the update is not significantly impacting all mobile verticals, so the first step should be assessing the impact of this change on your specific product. Measure what % of your overall iOS UA is zeroed out (% of overall installs and how much revenue it accounts for) Industry benchmarks estimate the loss at approx. 15%, meaning that if it’s below 5%, there is not much of an impact and you can go on as usual. If it’s above 15% – you should be taking some actions.
  • Rely on additional tracking sources: IDFA is not the only way to get the required data you are looking for. S2S fingerprinting or the old FP redirecting method can be used as an alternative for measuring UA & building audience lists based on actions/revenue.
  • Don’t look for workarounds: Every time a tech disruption occurs, fast-moving tech companies offer remedies for that specific pain. In this case, since Apple has a fairly strict approach to their users’ privacy, most likely all efforts of managing to obtain user-level data using workarounds will be in vain – just ask the FBI.

To wrap things up, it is the same situation as managing any UA campaign in case of uncertainty.

Though it is premature to draw hard conclusions about the change’s effects, there are a few simple steps any UA manger needs to do: measure the data, analyze the impact, and take actions if needed that will drive the best possible outcome.

For more on this contact: shay@bidalgo.com

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