Apple’s iOS14 App Tracking Transparency and its impact on the digital ad industry

By: Tracy Gamlin, Senior Manager of Digital Marking & Analytics

Apple’s recent  App Tracking Transparency (ATT) release bundled as part of the iOS 14 update requires apps to ask a user’s permission to track their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.

Previously when using apps on your iPhone or iPad, your activity could be tracked and shared across multiple apps and websites. Tracking user interactions this way enhances ad targeting to make ads more relevant to you. This targeting is facilitated via the IDFA – Identifier For Advertisers. IDFA tracking data is anonymized so a users personal information is not directly shared with the apps or advertiser.

Apple’s new ATT release changes data collection standards to opt in rather than the previous opt out. Although Facebook has been the most vocal on this update, the concern is shared by Google and other ad networks – that most iPhone users will opt out of data tracking, thereby significantly reducing the effectiveness of ad targeting.

Our paid Digital Media, and Facebook efforts consistently deliver excellent results for our clients; we rely on this cross-app and website targeting for optimal ad performance. &Barr reports on conversions, among other metrics, to our clients as a measurement of overall campaign health and performance.

With the new ATT launch, Facebook will utilize Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) which is similar to Apple’s new Private Click Measurement. Both of these systems allow for conversion measurements from iOS 14 devices but don’t allow tracking data to be shared among apps and websites. Therefore, it’s likely that Facebook will use statistical modeling in some capacity to measure ad performance in cases where cross app/web tracking is not permitted. Facebook currently uses AEM methodology for tracking store visits.

This update will likely impact our in-app advertising publishers as well, and they are working on additional solutions to address performance with Apple’s roll-out.

While it is impossible to forecast the impact this update will have on ad personalization, targeting, and performance, we don’t expect significant changes up front. &Barr will keep you updated on this dynamic issue and how the digital ad industry at large is adapting for the best results.