How Mobile Advertisers Can Prepare for iOS 14

Image credits: Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

Apple have announced the rollout of iOS14. They are making a major user privacy change in the next version of its mobile operating system that will affect all mobile advertisers, particularly the ad targeting side of the ecosystem (retargeting, segmentation, lookalike audiences, etc.). 

There is a September deadline on the entire advertising industry for IDFA compliance (date TBC). As mobile advertisers, it’s important to prepare for this transition. Let’s start now.

What you need to know

What changes for mobile users? 
As you may be aware, there is already an option to hide IDFA in the settings, but only about 30% of Apple users actually hide their data (Singular). 

This number is set to grow with the new iOS14 changes, as users will be asked to opt-in or opt-out of sharing their IDFA on a per-app basis. Users will receive a pop-up message within the app, asking for permission to track them across other apps and websites.

While it’s a step forward for user privacy, it will be a big challenge to overcome for marketers and advertisers, as a large part of the ecosystem is built on IDFA. 

How will iOS 14 affect mobile advertisers?

Mobile advertisers and ad networks use IDFA to measure the results of mobile marketing campaigns. Attribution can also be based on IDFA (some are based on click ID but advertisers have the option to match IDFA). The ad targeting side of the ecosystem – retargeting, exclusion targeting, segmentation, lookalike audiences – relies heavily on using the IDFA. 

Without access to IDFA, advertisers will no longer be able to run personalized ads. They will not be able to monitor the results of their advertising on a granular per-device basis by default. The repercussions on ad monetization and user acquisition will be huge. 

The mobile advertising industry is questioning Apple’s controversial move, which seems more of a competitive strategy to improve its positioning than to protect users’ privacy. As Forbes reports, Apple’s ad network will retain access to more data over its competitors including Facebook and Google. In addition, Apple’s own advertising service looks to  enable personalization by default, giving it a platform-level advantage over competitors. It seems likely that Apple will further cement its position as a leading player in the mobile ads ecosystem. 

Our tips you can start implementing now

  • Redefine user acquisition strategies with your clients: Mobile marketers – now is the time to be having a conversation with your advertising partners. The changes are going to impact your partner’s targeting abilities and the conversion data they receive from your MMP. Make changes to your BI stack, where necessary, starting by changing any parameter tracking IDFA. Then, let your clients know how you are preparing for the change and how you will use IDFA in targeting, retargeting, lookalike audiences, white-and blacklisting, and seed audiences. Planning and communicating are key for maintaining a trustworthy partnership. Also, make sure to talk to each of your SDK providers to hear about their solution and plan a version release with the updated SDK.
  • Review monetization sources and speak to partners: iOS 14 updates are likely to further reduce IDFA availability on a portion of users, potentially causing a drop in your ad revenue potential. Speak to your monetization partners to understand how they will readjust to these major changes.
Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
  • Optimize pop-up windows towards user consent: It’s important to remember that as users start upgrading their devices, all the already existing data will be rendered useless, so it’s crucial and essential to get users’ consent. We advise you to use an internal prompt instead of Apple’s automatic pop-up, so you can customize, design and word it to best fit your app. See it as your own consent form. App developers should mobilize themselves to create customized pop-up messages requesting user data, optimized towards high consent rates. Start running tests for both new and existing users across your apps. Play around with the text and timings. For example, try inserting the pop-up only after a certain action has been performed by the user, once he has an incentive for opting in and you have built trust. 
  • Strengthen anti-fraud capabilities: A greater volume of devices without IDFA will leave iOS campaigns more vulnerable to attribution fraud (things like click flooding). Prevent this with the right tools. 
  • Create a multi-level owned media strategy: With retargeting and targeting models being highly affected, owned media channels will be more important than ever to re-engage your users. Try push notifications, emails, SMS other than the usual pop-up – basically, anything that doesn’t require IDFA.
  • If you are using an automation tool for optimizing your campaign, beware that the change is expected to skew numbers and increase rates. So pause its settings for the first few days after the release and make manual optimizations instead.

Independently of which side of the ecosystem you are in, keep a close watch on how campaign numbers are affected in the first few weeks after the release. Ask yourself: what isn’t as effective as before? What needs more work? Optimize and adjust accordingly.

What’s next?

As we work closely with a number of trusted partners, we understand how important it is that the new rules for compliance are met. We want to support our clients and provide the tools to apply for different situations, as their needs vary. For example, our clients require more transparency than ever before – not only for iOS for Android. This is why we are ensuring that the compliancy changes are also implemented for Google AD ID on Android phones. 

We are happy to help our clients and fellow mobile marketers to understand and navigate the changes around iOS 14 launch. 

It’s still early days to predict how much iOS 14 changes will impact the mobile marketing ecosystem. At Apptrust, we are confident that as an industry, we will find a solution that protects user privacy, while also creating a sustainable future for app developers and advertisers. We are looking forward to working closely with players in the industry to help solidify a solution. 

If you need tailored advice on how to get ready for iOS 14 or are looking for support to manage your mobile marketing campaigns, get in touch with us at

Author: Elizabeth Marchetti