Apple announced last year that it’s changing the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) settings on iOs devices, such as iPhones and iPads. This change is part of the company’s mobile operating system, iOS 14.
So, what does that mean exactly — and how can advertisers navigate this major shift?
What is IDFA?
IDFA is the identifier that Apple uses to track users on its devices. Platforms like Facebook use this identifier for advertisers to collect data about consumers, learn about their behaviors, and target ads to them. If an iPhone user sees an ad on their phone, for example, and then clicks on that ad and downloads the brand’s app, that brand can identify that user. They can then launch new ads that target similar users to increase conversions and make the most of their ad budgets.
How do consumers feel about IDFA?
While IDFA is an obvious boon to advertisers, it can be off-putting to mobile users who don’t want to be tracked and have their privacy violated. That’s why Apple has already created a way for users to opt-out of IDFA tracking. All they have to do is select “limit ad tracking” in their settings. According to mobile measurement company Adjust, about 20% of iOS users have enabled this option.
Did Apple actually kill IDFA?
No. It technically still exists. But on the new iOS 14, it’s disabled by default. Meaning, that the “limit ad tracking” setting is already in place. And if users want to enable IDFA, they have to opt-in on each app they use. According to Forbes, this change will send an $80 billion mobile marketing industry into upheaval.
Now, users don’t have to necessarily seek out this option. As AdExchanger reported, a new permission pop-up will ask users to allow or disallow tracking when they open an app or try to use certain features within it. Time will tell how many users actually disable this tracking, but it’s looking like that number could be high with growing data privacy concerns.
What’s the post-IDFA solution?
Even with the IDFA changes, there’s still a channel through which brands can gather first-party user data on their own and build direct relationships with consumers: email.
Here’s why email is the solution to your post-IDFA woes.
Email addresses are identifiable across the web.
Email is an opt-in channel that many consumers already use across websites. Think about it. You use your email to subscribe to your favorite newsletters, sign into your bank account, log onto your social channels, the list goes on. As a piece of data, the email address is easy to track and easily identifiable.
As Forbes reported, targeting isn’t dead because IDFA is disabled. Brands can still target consumers with “non-IDFA identifiers” like email addresses.
Email is a direct communication channel.
You don’t need to trick or trouble email subscribers to collect information about their experiences. You can just ask them. Email is a direct communication channel through which you can send surveys, launch one-on-one conversations, and follow-up with audiences — right in their own inbox.
Email is multi-functional.
Email isn’t just a content marketing channel for delivering personalized messaging and staying top-of-mind. Like with mobile advertising, publishers can also monetize their emails by programmatically selling ad placements, which opens a world of opportunity for advertisers. Meaning, they can educate and inform consumers, drive engagement, collect data, gather leads, and generate revenue all through one platform.
The Move to Improve Consumer Privacy
This move to improve consumer privacy isn’t new for Apple — or other tech giants. Apple already disabled third-party cookies on its Safari browser, and Google is set to follow suit at the end of 2023 with its Chrome browser. Many expect Google will soon make its own mobile identifier opt-in by default. On top of that, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is now enforced, setting a precedent for other states to grant more data privacy rights to consumers.
With recent crackdowns on digital privacy, publishers and brands are facing increasing challenges on top of the changes to third-party cookies. Recently, Apple officially announced new Apple Mail Privacy regulations that will halt email opens and pixel tracking within the Mail app. For publishers and brands that do not have a solution in place, this will be a big blow to their mobile ads, app tracking, and ad targeting strategies.
With these new changes to the Apple Mail app, advertisers will be blocked from tracking pixels and email opens for iOS users. This sounds like a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be. With the proper platform, your email monetization strategy does not need to suffer.
Many industry leaders are saying that this move hinders brands, though what you really need to know is that is not entirely true. Apple’s upcoming iOS update will not affect the capabilities of performance-based platforms like Jeeng because the emphasis turns to engagement rather than impressions. Jeeng optimizes ad placements based on clicks and provides a robust and integrated tool to capture users through targeted email.
Publishers and advertisers should consider working with a performance-based metrics platform to overcome any obstacles this iOS update causes. These types of platforms grant the ability to track actual user behavior, as they use a CPC model instead of a CPM. Impressions become insignificant — performance is the goal.
Without tracking, the emphasis turns to providing relevant ad content aligned with the users’ interests. In other words, advertising is about to get much more interesting.
Evidently, this move toward greater user privacy isn’t slowing down any time soon. That’s why it’s so important for advertisers to work with publishers using an email monetization solution, and keep building those first-party relationships.