There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks where decades happen.

It’s an apocryphal quote, but definitely true of the past seven days in mobile marketing land — after months of relative calm, the IDFA Apocalypse is back with a vengeance.

Still, to paraphrase a comment from a savvy performance marketer this morning:

Let’s just get on with it? This is going to be a new world, but at least it’ll be over. No point looking back now.

Without minimizing the importance of making sure everyone is as prepared as possible to avoid extreme disruption (and I wish we'd all had this much clarity nine months ago, instead of getting the information in small drips), I'll be glad when these iOS 14 changes are all in the rearview mirror. Some things will be 'worse' than before, but at least the uncertainty will be over.

PS, I put many of these articles on Twitter before they end up in the newsletter — this week, with a particular focus on highlighting the latest iOS 14 news as it comes out. If you’re interested in getting links and commentary in real time, please give me a follow!

Alex Bauer


IDFA Apocalypse: The Next Chapter

Here’s the basic timeline of what went down last week:

  1. Google: on Wednesday (January 27) at 7 am PST, Google gave a long-awaited update on their iOS 14 plans.
  2. Apple, part 1: that same evening (around 9 pm PST), Apple issued a press release and a PDF resource titled A Day in the Life of Your Data for their ‘Data Privacy Day’. These finally teased a timeline (iOS 14.5) for full ATT rollout and enforcement, and were covered immediately by TechCrunch, meaning the press release was likely under embargo.
  3. Apple, part 2: on Thursday morning (January 28), Apple published several new developer updates aligned with the press release, including this notice and a number of additions to their User Privacy and Data Use landing page.

Now the dust has settled, the takeaway is this: if you want granular ad attribution on iOS, you must get user consent consent for ad tracking via the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, and nothing else. If you attempt to perform ad 'tracking' without ATT opt-in, your app will likely be rejected from the App Store.

Whether or not you agree with Apple’s strategy, at least it’s there now in black and white.

There have obviously been a variety of other, second-degree updates connected to these, which we’ll cover individually below.

What the MMPs are doing

As a mobile marketer, your MMP is the part of your tech stack where these iOS 14 changes actually make contact. Let’s recap the approach each is taking as a result of this latest round of news:

  • AppsFlyer invested in an 'aggregated attribution’ system for iOS 14 that may no longer be feasible after this latest round of guidance from Apple. They’ve said nothing yet, but that’s not unexpected — they took several weeks to issue a statement after WWDC, too.
  • Adjust already recommended that customers display the AppTrackingTransparency prompt by default. They published a blog post this week vaguely acknowledging Apple’s update, but not directly addressing most of the changes. However, the main Adjust news is definitely that they are selling the company (see below). That’s absolutely iOS 14-related.
  • At Branch, we previously expected that the ATT prompt would apply to IDFA access, but not to the entire brand <> user relationship. We feel that Apple is pushing the envelope of what is acceptable for a platform owner, but we’re committed to meeting the letter and the spirit of the policy.
  • After WWDC, Singular took a position that initially looked like an outlier, but ended up being the closest to Apple’s latest guidance. As you might expect, they’re quite pleased about this.
  • Kochava has the same interpretation as everyone else: ATT is required for all device-level ad attribution.

Industry Buzz

Walled Gardens

Privacy & Security




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