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Home Blog App Marketing Changes to Apple IDFA and IP-Based Games Shaping Mobile App Market 2021

Changes to Apple IDFA and IP-Based Games Shaping Mobile App Market 2021

Apr 30 2021

idfa mobile gaming


On April 5, Apple posted a message on its developer website stating that it will begin enforcing the new IDFA policy with the release of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5.

This also means that with the release of these system updates, developers will need to obtain explicit permission to access the on-device advertising identifier (IDFA). Only then can users be tracked across apps and websites for ad targeting.

In fact, Apple mentioned the new privacy policy as early as last June at the WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference), but it was finally scheduled to "land in early spring" this year after a delayed adjustment.

With the release of iOS 14.5 Beta 6 on April 1, and the news of this release, it seems that developers are being reminded that the official implementation of the new privacy policy is getting closer and closer.

Don't underestimate this "little" change. From opt-in to opt-out, it's not a matter of simply lifting a finger, as a large number of users will swing towards the "off" option, making it difficult to track most apps.

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From the user's point of view, they are naturally happy to do so. Although the APP tracking function collects, in plain view, the public information of the user, but no one wants to be quietly observed by their own cell phone. This is especially true in today's increasingly aware of privacy protection.
From the perspective of the Internet advertising industry, if IDFA modifications are implemented as expected, the difficulty of collecting information from iOS channel users will be immeasurable, and even if sporadic users are willing to choose to turn on the feature switch, the amount of information and accuracy will produce a slippery decline compared to before the policy modification.    

Apple's move is undoubtedly a "devastating" knife to the Internet advertising industry (game buying circle), which needs to collect a lot of user information.

Protecting users' privacy

Before all the analysis begins, a clearer interpretation of the application scenario of the so-called "IDFA New Deal" is warranted.

After the policy is updated, users of Apple electronics will be asked to consent to the application's access to information about the device when they click into certain software that collects information about the user. Only if you choose to allow it can the app get access to the information.

There is no doubt that this move by Apple will be welcomed at the user level. And users will likely go along with the "no" option after getting this data sharing power.

In the view of the competition, Apple's move may break the last "clear glass" between users and advertising vendors, so that they can be honest and know each other's roots.

But obviously, IDFA's new policy is more beneficial to users, so naturally, both hands welcome it. The advertising giants, on the other hand, have more than a little to lose, and it's hard not to object.

For example, in June last year after Apple announced the news, then expressed strong protest Facebook.

On December 17, Mark Zuckerberg could no longer resist and published an article titled "We're standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere" in the New York Times and other foreign mainstream media, opposing the new IDFA policy.

But between the lines, apparently also contains the previous Apple "neutered" its App game function block, in the purchase of 30% still high and other historical legacy problems.

Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to Facebook on Twitter in a rare move, saying, "Users should have a choice about what data is collected and how the platform uses that data."

To cut to the chase, the root cause of the outrage from advertising giants like Facebook is the over-reliance on Apple's IDFA functionality.

For example, the Audience Network technology that underpins Facebook's advertising business relies on IDFA's ability to target, track and match audiences in third-party applications.

In response to the change, Facebook also recently announced that it is "developing a short- and long-term strategy" for continued ad delivery under the new IDFA policy.

But he also said that this will limit personalized ad customization, which will lead to a 50% reduction in ad revenue for app developers.

Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg chose to compromise in the end. After all, even if revenue declines, no one wants to give up the iOS channel with a user base of more than 1 billion.

Of course, the improvement of user privacy awareness is an unstoppable trend, and Apple this is a wise move to follow the trend.

"Apple has always played an important role in the industry, and now that both government policy and user awareness are increasingly concerned about privacy in China and abroad, it's not hard to understand how it (Apple), as the leader in the industry ecosystem, should go about it." So said the head of App Annie.

In addition to Apple, Google and other giants have also expressed the same intention, and TikTok even launched a new set of "enhanced" privacy settings on January 13, restricting some functions for teenage users to protect the privacy of this group.

A study by the Pew Trust shows that 80% of social media users already have a distrust of companies and advertisers.

So, what specific impact will the new IDFA policy have on the mobile advertising industry?

The rising era of mobile data

The IDFA New Deal, if implemented in the future as expected, will definitely cause huge changes to the mobile advertising business. It will even have an irreversible impact on the structure of the entire mobile advertising ecosystem.

AppsFlyer data also says that 56% of marketers believe Apple's new IDFA policy will have a negative impact on the advertising business.

So thinking a little deeper, how does this negative impact come about? Changes in the way mobile data is accessed are a direct driver.

"To win the mobile market in 2021, mobile data should be a top priority." So writes App Annie's 2020 Mobile Market Year-End Inventory.

ASO World suggests that the growing importance of mobile data can be understood in terms of the market, users, and vendors.

At the market level, mobile data will allow manufacturers to see clearly the performance and revenue of segments and products in the "post-epidemic era" and confirm their long-term trends.

Mobile data will also allow for more accurate user profiling. Recently, we have repeatedly mentioned the difference between "Generation Z (post-95)" and other age groups in terms of cell phone habits, app preferences and game preferences. Mobile data will allow this difference to be visually reflected.

The above two functions will also enable mobile data analysis platforms like App Annie to better serve manufacturers and facilitate their project creation, R&D, distribution and operation.

Data is the lifeline for every Internet company. It is enough to see the importance of mobile data.

As for the connection between IDFA and mobile advertising, it is as follows: firstly, attribution statistics, i.e. to clarify which App is the source of users' clicking on ads; secondly, user portrait, i.e. to plan users' next placement needs through App usage trajectory.

In summary, it can be seen that the impact of the new IDFA policy on the mobile advertising industry comes from the tightening of the user mobile data acquisition side, and this tightening will have a serious impact on the mobile advertising industry in terms of attribution and user portraits.

The mobile advertising industry not only has a large plate, but also has an increasingly wide coverage, and many medium and heavy game makers have started to widely invest into it. And the industry is still a long way from touching the top, with strong potential.

Solidly, how to reduce the impact of the new IDFA policy on the advertising industry has become the focus of mobile data analysis platform has been on the agenda.

Breaking the constraints of the new IDFA policy

The so-called "data integration", that is, after the implementation of the new IDFA policy, there is no access to specific, accurate independent user data, the only way out is to collect all the data collected together to analyze, open the road between data and users blocked by IDFA.

As for the source of these data, most of them come from publishers and advertisers' own channels, including advertising platforms, data analysis platforms and so on.

Some advertisers have one or two dozens of cashing platforms with cooperative relationship alone, so the total amount of data is not to worry at all. But how to make these data integration, integration together, and then total collar analysis to draw conclusions is the key.

The priority of "market data analysis" is even higher.

After IDFA tighten the user-side data, it is necessary to enhance the sensitivity and analysis ability of market data, and put down the previous mode of doing placement and material with a single user data, but to make decisions from the market perspective.

In addition to the assistance of the mobile data industry, the Internet advertising industry itself has also had many discussions on the new IDFA policy, and Competitive Core believes that the "digital alliance" is perhaps the most feasible.

In other words, within a specific period of time, the dynamic characteristics of iOS devices tracked by two apps are highly similar and can be judged as the same device.

Just like Apple's "new policy on version number", IDFA's new policy is inevitable, so it is not feasible to take a chance.

We should discuss the solutions applicable to the mobile advertising industry and adopt a more feasible mobile data integration solution in order to be invincible.

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