Advertising and Marketing Impacts of iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency

April 1, 2021
Ios 14 Tracking Permission Prompt

Why should I care about this release?
Apple is now beta-testing iOS 14.5. Although the release won’t include a huge update in terms of features, it will have a considerable impact on any business that advertises on a mobile app and then uses that data for optimization, targeting, and reporting. Here’s what we know so far and what you can expect in the coming months.

When is the iOS 14.5 release date?
While Apple doesn’t publicly announce when it will release new versions of iOS, it is likely to be the Spring of 2021.

What do I need to know about the iOS 14.5 release?
It will include a substantial new privacy measure called App Tracking Transparency. This means all apps going forward will be required to ask for user permission before tracking them and accessing their device’s advertising identifier. This new opt-in requirement will mark a significant shift in how mobile app developers can collect data from iPhone owners and share that data with other firms, including data brokers, to aid in advertising.

Ios 14 Tracking Permission Prompt

iOS users will see a prompt like above when they open any app for the first time and how they respond will impact your digital advertising efforts…

Wait, what’s tracking again?
Tracking is the act of linking user or device data collected from an app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for improved targeted advertising or measurement purposes.

How does this affect my business?
Any business that advertises on a mobile app and then uses that data to optimize, target, and report on website conversion events will be affected. At ROI, we’ve been preparing for this iOS release to minimize the measurement and optimization impact on our client’s advertising.
The top three areas of focus in today’s blog are:
· Advertising impact
· Analytics & measurement impact
· Marketing data impact

What is the advertising impact?
Facebook appears to be the most affected platform so far. Apple’s changes with iOS 14.5 will impact how it can receive and process conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. From delayed reporting to narrower data sets, the impacts are far-reaching. Your ability to optimize will be limited, especially if there are not sufficient data points. Additionally, as more people upgrade to iOS 14.5, the size of retargeting audiences will shrink.

What are the analytics & measurement impacts?
The narrowing of data availability will have a notable impact on measurement and analytics. As people opt-out of data sharing, platforms will delay data accessibility, cookie expirations will shorten, and IDs will expire. Additionally, brands with direct-response targets or sales goals will also be limited in how they attribute sales and conversions, which will impact how advertisers optimize and increase their campaign performance.

What are the marketing data implications?
Depending on how users respond to the opt-in choice, data could be severely limited, impacting both targeting and measurement. It’s most likely we’ll see a considerable reduction in the availability of device-based IDs in the app ecosystem, which will in turn hinder marketers’ ability to target, measure, and attribute performance to paid media.

The marketing data areas we believe to be most affected:
· Behavioral segmentation and targeting
· Geo-location targeting
· Frequency cap
· Control for recency of message
· Retargeting
· Sequential messaging
· Ability to measure and optimize
· Attribution to sales

Our perspective
This release will have a significant impact on brands with far-reaching implications. That’s why we believe it’s time to shift into high gear to address it properly.

The iOS 14.5 updates are going to change a lot about how we track the performance of ads. Paid media has been and will continue to be a rapidly evolving marketing channel: we can successfully adapt to these changes by implementing new data and measurement solutions and by continuing to focus on marketing best practices.

There are still many unknowns, but every day brings additional information. Stay tuned for more articles to come in the next few weeks, starting with our in-depth look at the release of iOS 14.5 and its impact on Facebook.

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