Small Change with a BIG Impact: IDFA Opt-in Effects

What is IDFA?

IDFA is short for “Identity for Advertisers”, an option for Apple for user tracking/targeting on mobile devices. It limits ad tracking settings on Apple’s mobile operating system that prevents marketers from seeing and tracking customers or users by their device-specific Identifier for Advertising. 

It was launched in September of 2012 with the release of the iPhone5/IOS6, this was an advantage for app advertising with cookies to keep track of what the customers  wanted applied for example in Google or Facebook. 

Now it was announced the release of IOS14 with this new privacy settings to use the IDFA every single time people download apps giving customers the freedom to decide so this means it would require developers and app publishers to ask for users’ permission to be tracked through its mobile ad ID, the IDFA. It was gonna be implemented in September of 2020 but now Apple announced it will be delaying implementation of its new iOS 14 privacy measures until early in 2021 to give the mobile advertising industry more time to prepare and make the necessary changes.

How IDFA works:

Users of iOS 14 receive a notification in their Apple device informing users about why the app is asking for permission to track them. Users then have the option to grant or deny the request. So now the users are gonna take the decision in the Apps if they want  to share their personal information or if they don’t. Apple decided to make it easier to find the way to take the ads of each app without the need to enter a Settings app where almost no-one could find it, although increasingly people were finding it and turning it off , and making it explicit and an option for every single app. If an app wants to use the IDFA, iOS 14 will present  in the phone a big scary message giving the option of Allowing tracking giving permission across the apps and websites owned by other companies, to deliver personalized ads to you, or ask the app not to keep track of each customer navigation.

What This Means for Advertising & Mobile Marketing:

Well first we need to think about the visual and psychological impact of the scary side of sharing personal information. Would you say “yes” to allowing an app or brand permission to “track you across apps and websites owned by other companies?” The 99% of consumers will take the decision to have privacy in their personal information. 

In the United States, more than 30% of iOS users have LAT switched on, according to data from mobile marketing analytics company Singular. In the United Kingdom, it’s 28%. In Germany, 22.5% of iOS users disabled ads personalization. 

This is a great move for user privacy but it will also have a huge impact in the advertisement and tracking of information, advertisers who can’t track advertising effectiveness don’t remain advertisers for long, It makes it much more difficult for advertisers to track users.

Mobile app advertising is a huge market. It was almost $80B in 2019 and it’s expected to grow to $120B by 2022. The shark’s share of the market was held by the advertisers of iOS apps. But  with the changes to IDFA, the online advertising industry might experience a significant setback.

The Lasting Impacts:

Developers must get permission from users before tracking them with the IDFA on an app-by-app basis.

A new permission dialog will ask users to allow or deny tracking for advertising before any tracking occurs, either at first launch or before using certain app features.

And this is a really smart move for the company Apple. Marketers care not  losing the IDFA capability, because technically still there, and also who can argue with giving people more rights with their personal data? 

People are increasingly concerned about privacy and worried about the risks of releasing personal information. Apple has been beating the privacy drum as a competitive advantage. The company moved to block third-party cookies on the Safari browser. And now is giving people the freedom to choose. The question is: Are people actually going to opt with an explicit option between being tracked and not being tracked? Knowing this is important to think about the future, How will be the approach in the marketing solutions for this new option of tracking in the devices? How marketers will adjust to new data-collection processes? and more importantly, how does this change marketing strategies?

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