iOS14 Launch: The Anticipated Impact on Media
Samantha Jahnke
21 August 2020

Next month, Apple is slated to launch the latest operating system, iOS14. For marketers, it is coming with a lot of anticipation as media, technology and measurement platforms prepare for the expected impact from the latest privacy changes included in the launch.

The iOS14 launch will limit the use of mobile IDs (IDFAs) through user opt in requirements for tracking by app, location data will be limited with the ability for users to switch from precise to approximate location sharing, and measurement will have another option with the launch of SKAdnetwork from Apple.

OMD conducted a global evaluation across 33 media, technology and measurement platforms to evaluate the anticipated industry impact of the iOS14 upcoming changes.  Through this evaluation OMD identified the most likely high impacted areas for advertisers to be aware of and to monitor through the course of these changes.

Platforms and media partners are still in a state of flux as they are figuring out how to best adapt to the iOS14 changes.  The anticipated impact evaluation spotlights where to prioritize platforms and media partners to monitor closely through the adoption of iOS14.  Post adoption of iOS14 we will be eager to see how the actual impact compares to what we anticipated.

Mobile App Measurement will shift from mostly deterministic to more probabilistic

Mobile Measurement Platforms (MMPs) and any other technology being utilized to measure app install and app event attribution will likely see the greatest impact of the iOS14 change with IDFAs (Apple’s mobile device ID).  The MMP industry was largely built on using mobile device IDs on both Apple (IDFA) and Android (AAID) to attribute app install and app event actions.  This allows these platforms to have a deterministic methodology across a user’s journey of media and apps on their device to tie back to specific desired app actions.  With IDFAs becoming limited on Apple devices these platforms will have to rely on more probabilistic methodologies for users who do not opt into tracking on the advertiser’s app and/or the ad network or source app of the media impression.  This changes how attribution will be done moving forward, shifting from a mostly deterministic methodology to a much more probabilistic methodology.

Apple’s SKAdnetwork is their solution to this attribution issue.  We see this solution as a potential secondary measurement if there’s enough ad networks and brands utilizing it.  This solution is deterministic, essentially, it’s an app store receipt, but the data is last click only, aggregated at the publisher level and it has limitations in naming and other technical aspects.  MMPs are evaluating how they can leverage this system to incorporate it into their methodologies, which is still being investigated.

Location data providers will likely see diminished scale

Location data providers will face two challenges with iOS14, the first is the reduction of IDFAs, the second is the ability for users to change their location sharing from precise to approximate.  Location data providers are expected to be impacted differently depending on the usage of identifiers outside of mobile device IDs and the strength and scale of their data partnerships.  Location data providers who have large partnerships with apps that users are likely to allow for tracking and precise location, such as weather and traffic, will likely see less impact than others.  However, we expect all location data providers to see diminished scale of targeting and measurement anywhere from single digits to upwards of 50%-60% in more worst-case scenarios.

Dependencies of Mobile Device IDs will need to be reevaluated

Advertisers who use Mobile Device IDs for onboarding of data, to match data, or in any other way will need to reevaluate these processes to be prepared for the upcoming changes.   An advertiser’s 1st party data is becoming more and more valuable with each of the subsequent privacy and 3rd party identifier changes.  The more an advertiser can “own” their customer relationships and the data associated with them the less impacted they will be by industry changes around 3rd party identifiers.

Mobile targeting scale to be impacted across most media partners

Targeting users on mobile devices will be impacted depending on the media and/or data partner and what identifier they utilize to target.  We expect platforms to continue to offer the same capabilities and features, however those that rely on mobile device IDs will likely see limited scale from the reduction in IDFAs being tracked.

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