Ever wondered how digital platforms always seem to know exactly what you are looking to buy?
That is yet another fascinating feature of the digital age, in particular, IDFA - IDENTIFIER FOR ADVERTISING.
IDFA is a code that is randomly generated by Apple to identify and facilitate Advertising through their apps. Android has a similar feature called advertising ID. These IDs are the key to identifying the interests and showing relevant ads to users.
However, the decision to share this data can be controlled by the user (you) and iOS 14 has introduced the option to opt in or out of sharing any (and all) information to advertisers. With this update, app publishers will not be able to promote their products without your consent. Following the update, app publishers will be required to provide their app’s privacy policies for every app install under the tag - ‘Nutrient Labels’. Based on this, users can choose to opt in or out of sharing any data that can be used to target them by advertising companies.
A major point to note is that none of the targetable data being discussed here corresponds to data points that are deemed as personally identifiable information, or data that can be used to identify a user individually (like Mail IDs, Contact numbers, etc). Usage of this data has been ruled out quite some time ago and all players in the programmatic ad space are required to abide by this.
Needless to say, the advertising industry will be affected due to this change. Some major targeting strategies which will be impacted are:
• Control on daily pacing: We will not be able to implement frequency caps for each user which would lead to advertising budget being spent on messaging the same user more frequently than necessary.
• Measurement ROI: We will lose the ability to calculate ROI on iOS because events like registration and purchase require targeting that will be lost if users opt out of sharing data.
• Creative optimisation: We cannot personalise or optimize creative messaging to cater to narrow user groups that the campaign targets.
• Recency: We cannot do recency based targeting by time and number of days.
• Audience targeting: We cannot create and target combined audiences, lookalike audiences or even retarget audience.
Why are the rest of the digital giants unhappy?
Facebook and other advertising giants like Google make billions of dollars each year tracing the detailed digital footprints their users leave behind. Primarily, Facebook uses the IDFA as part of ‘Audience Network’ i.e., its own advertising network for app developers. Therefore, Apple’s requirement that developers show you a warning that they are collecting your IDFA is expected to severely affect the viability of Facebook’s Audience Network.
Google has already started to fight back against Apple to show users that it, too, cares about privacy. Android 11 comes with a bunch of new privacy features. Mobile measurement partners are looking for alternatives to track users and conversions.
Latest update on IOS:
Latest news is Apple is going to postpone the enforcement of its planned IDFA restrictions in iOS 14 until sometime early next year.
Apple’s update doesn’t mean that users will stop seeing ads altogether, just that the ads might not be relevant at all. However, the budding possibility of serving extremely relevant ads that are catered to user’s individual needs has, for the lack of a better term, been greatly diminished. Let us consider the example of a motorcycle customised parts dealer who wants to go digital to promote a new range of parts that are customised towards adventure touring bikes, a very small segment in the market. The programmatic landscape was evolving to allow them to understand which users in their local market needed these parts and spend their advertising budget on creating customised content for the said users. This scenario will no longer be feasible given the new updates.
The advertising industry is awaiting Apple's final take on the decision and also for developers and MMP’s to find an alternative way to allow advertisers to find their right audience without breaching these norms.
The author is director of operations at Oplifi.