Apple’s iOS 14 Update to Require Opt-In to its Consumer Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA)

Note: For more information on Data Privacy in the Marketing landscape, download our eBook: Why Marketers Should Emphasize Data Privacy.

Apple’s latest software update, expected to roll out September 2020, will require user-permission to run Apple's Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). IDFA enables app owners to track individual user data within apps - the tracker cloaks a users' personal information, but still provides data on in-app activity, like actions taken in the app, acquisition chains, etc.

Data privacy has become an increasing consumer concern, especially amidst the backdrop of the data privacy-fueled TikTok Ban, enforcement of the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), and Google’s announcement to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome.

These bring important questions that we’ll be addressing in this post:

  • Is Apple’s move the beginning of an industry trend that marketers need to prepare for?

  • How do consumers feel about the change compared to advertisers?

  • Is this a change that advertisers and brands should be leaning into?

How Do Consumers Feel?

Facebook has given a pretty clear stance against the iOS update: "Despite our best efforts, Apple's updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14… For developers and publishers using Audience Network, our ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 will be limited. As a result, some iOS 14 users may not see any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads from us, but they'll be less relevant. Because of advertisers’ reduced ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns, app developers and publishers should expect lower CPMs on Audience Network and likely other ad networks on iOS."

However, the end user sentiment has been in support of the change.

Others are even pushing that explicit opt-ins should become an industry norm.

A report conducted by PcW found that 92% of consumers say companies must be proactive about data protection and 88% say the extent of their willingness to share personal information is based on how much they trust a company.

Users have always been able to opt-out of IDFA tracking, but the settings for such are not readily accessible, and require some digging to find. The update to iOS 14 will make IDFA opt-in instead, which will see many users switching off the tracking option.

How Does This Change Affect Advertisers?

Mobile attribution and measurement possible will still be possible on iOS 14 but ad publishers will need to clearly communicate to users the value of sharing their IDFA and serving them targeted ads. App publishers could offer users the choice between a free, ad-supported version, and a paid, ad-free version of their app. Social media apps could simply make it part of their terms and conditions that a user would allow them to show ads and share the IDFA in order to fully use the app.

We're seeing a rise in permission marketing, which has been a long time coming since Seth Godin coined the term in 1999. As the industry moves forward the focus will be on adding value to the customer rather than "the next sell."

Is This Going to Be the Norm?

As the world moves increasingly digital in the digital transformation exacerbated by the pandemic, data privacy will only continue to be a concern for customers. Brands should lean into the changes to grow consumer trust. In fact, 97% of companies have seen benefits like a competitive advantage or investor appeal from investing in privacy.

Data privacy concerns aren’t going anywhere soon. The first step will be for brands to be more transparent about how they’re using their data. 63% of consumers say most companies aren’t transparent about how their data is used and 54% of consumers say companies don’t use data in a way that benefits them.


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