Home Business How will Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework affect advertisers?

How will Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework affect advertisers?

How will Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework affect advertisers?

Jake is the CEO of edgemesha global web acceleration company empowering ecommerce brands to deliver faster, more streamlined websites.

Private user data is a billions of dollars industry that tracks people’s activities on their devices. Advertisers often take advantage of personal information for profit – this can range from building elaborate user profiles to hyper-personalized ads. Perhaps this is not surprising. However, it is important to note that all of this usually happens without users’ knowledge.

This recent surge in unauthorized access to consumer data has prompted Apple to devise an approach to curb it. App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is Apple’s framework that requires iOS apps to ask users for permission to track their activities on other apps and websites. this framework rolled out in the iOS 14.5 update in April 2021 and came with popups that allow users to choose the apps they want to share their data with.

How does ATT work?

Before this new ATT update, app developers had instant access to iPhone users’ data upon installation. Meanwhile, users were able to restrict this access using the restrict ads setting on iOS. This setting prevents app developers and advertisers from tracking users’ activity on their devices.

This update does not necessarily affect advertisers on Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Once users accept the prompt to allow activity tracking, advertisers can typically use the IDFA code to identify those users to get around the restriction.

According to Apple, “Use the AppTrackingTransparency framework to request permission to track the user and access the device’s advertising ID. You should also include a target string in the system prompt that explains why you want to track the user. Unless if you get user consent to enable tracking, the device’s advertising ID will be all zeros and you may not track them as described above.”

Apple reiterates that the device’s ad identifier value is returned only after users consent to tracking.

How does this affect advertisers?

The ATT update reflects Apple’s intent to protect users’ data, but many advertisers view it differently. Some are concerned that this update will complicate product personalization, leading to increased user churn. Others estimate that ad campaigns will perform poorly due to a lack of substantial user data.

Some of the challenges ATT can pose to advertisers include:

Increased user churn: Enabling ATT requires app developers to send prompts to users when they download the app. While the prompt isn’t really a problem, the message on the screen can be. The message reads: “Allow [app_name] to track your activities on their companies’ apps and websites? Your data will be used to tailor the experience to your interests.” If you accept this prompt, users’ private data will be disclosed to app developers. Users who are careful about sharing their data may find this prompt disturbing and uninstall the app before using it.

Lack of high-quality user data: Advertisers often rely on high-quality user data to create hyper-personalized ads for their intended audience. With ATT adoption, there probably isn’t enough data to run effective ad campaigns. This puts advertisers developing app-based strategies for different advertising channels in a difficult position. At a larger scale, advertisers could see a smaller audience, leading to lower conversions.

Bad app customization: Previously, mobile measurement partners (MMPs) could collect, organize, and attribute app data into a unified view to give advertisers an in-depth analysis of campaign performance. This data includes views, clicks, navigation patterns, session duration, and installs, helping advertisers understand user behavior. With the new ATT update, MMPs cannot retrieve data of apps, leaving advertisers in the dark about customizing apps based on user preferences.

Limit on data sharing: Large tech parent companies often have multiple subsidiaries that collect and share user data, even on apps users don’t use. This allows advertisers to easily collect comprehensive user data from a single app and use it to advertise to users on the apps they have installed. For example, advertisers can use data from the results of your recent searches on Facebook to show you ads on Instagram.

Apple cherishes the idea that companies don’t spy on their users at all, which is why the new ATT update doesn’t allow advertisers to use cross-platform user data to serve ads.

What can advertisers do?

In my opinion, Apple doesn’t seem eager to stop ATT any time soon. While advertisers have seen the effect of these changes on their campaign results, there is no certainty about how they impact global advertising. However, advertisers can use the solutions below to optimize their campaigns for the right audience.

1. Start a pre-prompt technique.

Since it is difficult to make accurate decisions and increase conversions without sufficient consumer data, advertisers can start a pre-prompt technique. With this technique, the app prompt appears before Apple’s ATT prompt. Ideally, this prompt should contain a consumer-facing message designed to convince users of the importance of tracking their activities to better serve them tailored preferences that will help them enjoy a better customer experience.

2. Switch to other segmentation options.

I’ve found that segmenting your campaign with user devices is the best approach. And in this case, Android might be the best choice. With Android, Google grants partially unrestricted access to user data provided you don’t violate its privacy policy.

3. Make use of your website.

Your website offers several untapped and unlimited possibilities. For example, there are tools that allow you to track where your visitors are coming from, their time on page, device type, etc. You can then use these data points to build accurate user profiles that you can target for ad campaigns.

This new Apple update raises more questions than answers. Many advertisers fear it won’t be long before companies like Google and Facebook go down the same path to block access to user data. While some large companies can find a way around this impending restriction, small companies may not. This can mean more marketing budget wasted on ads that don’t convert into sales.

I think the only viable solution is to build user profiles using first-party data sources, e.g. website, email and any other independent channel. This way, you can rely on quality data to expand your audience, reach, visibility, conversions, and targeting.

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