Marketers rely on user-level data to track and target users and deliver hyper-personal ads based on anything they do - from credit card purchases to their favorite apps or games, as well as their overall behavior on the Internet (sites visited and their interactions with them).
Mobile marketers have had a year - especially when it comes to app user acquisition. Apple's introduction of App Tracking Transparency and SKAdNetwork meant that app marketers had to change their marketing strategies and what we attribution as we know it.
Apple shuffled the deck again with the release of iOS 15 on September 20 and added new challenges for app marketers - affecting everything from email marketing to app engagement strategies that became even more important after IDFA was abandoned.
These changes have been a long time coming and represent a new proactive culmination of Apple's efforts to ensure that mobile devices remain the ultimate personal utility, not a source of distracting annoyance. As a key real-time channel of mobile devices, the benefits of helping users better manage and balance notifications could be enormous.
Apple's mission to provide consumers with maximum transparency and control over their privacy and digital health has reached a crescendo, and now every app company must quickly consider how to stay visible and increase its relevance in what will quickly become a new era of marketing's new customer-first approach.
Privacy-first mobile growth and user acquisition
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the tech giant unveiled a number of new features built into its iOS 15 operating system update. These include VPN access through a new private relay feature, anonymous email address generation to improve inbox privacy and "privacy report" for apps on a given device - which gives users a better understanding of how various apps use their personal information.
These updates add to a series of privacy-focused changes Apple introduced earlier, including the company's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which requires users to opt in before advertisers and developers are allowed to track their behavior on the web. These changes have created new barriers for advertisers. In particular, the changes make it more difficult to get a granular view of user behavior, which inhibits advertisers' ability to deliver targeted ads and measure the impact of their efforts.
In iOS 15, Apple also updated its advanced iCloud storage and cloud services to offer Private Relay. The service encrypts web browsing data and assigns users an anonymous Internet Protocol (IP) address, making it more difficult for websites to track their browsing activity.
The service will make it more difficult to reach consumers across Web sites and applications. As technology companies respond to growing privacy concerns, they are phasing out support for third-party cookies, a common method of online tracking. Apple blocked all third-party cookies in its Safari browser last year, and Google has been building its privacy sandbox while preparing Chrome to phase out third-party cookies by 2022.
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How do we do toward the privacy-focused changes?
As addressability changes, audit campaigns targeting and measuring specific data associated with iOS 15 will become important. For all Apple products, marketers must monitor results before and after iOS releases to make adjustments as necessary and continue to stay ahead of the curve as we move toward a privacy-first future. Pay particular attention to this update if you rely heavily on IP addresses for geotargeting or use CRM data for search remarketing.
While Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices account for more than 35 percent of the global email provider market share, Google, Outlook and other email providers have yet to announce similar privacy initiatives, meaning their open and IP data can still provide reliable tracking information. Marketers still have time to prepare for the changes if any other email providers will follow the steps.
One good thing you can do right away is to make sure your email list is as clean as possible. Don't clutter your marketing efforts by allowing bad information in from the start. You want your marketing to attract people who are already customers or who are already showing strong signs that they may become customers.
Another way you can enhance your marketing is to shift from an approach that relies less on email tracking to one that is more participatory. If you haven't already done so, try introducing pop-ups on your site for visitors who may be willing to share their information because they find your products and/or blog/article content appealing to their needs. This first level of information is always better than the results you will see from tactics such as tracking, because you will know that users are willing to receive information and updates from you. You also have the advantage of setting up effective pop-ups because you know which channel brought the visitor to your site in the first place.
Following the AppTrackingTransparency policy, SKAdNetwork is now the primary solution for ad attribution on iOS. In iOS 15, in addition to getting credit for ad networks, SKAdNetwork will support sending copies of winning returns directly to advertisers or their MMPs.
This addresses one of the most common requests for SKAdNetwork improvements, and will increase transparency and reduce complexity. While we still don't have the opportunity to see user-level attribution, we can audit how marketing dollars are performing across the network.
To learn more about SkadNetwork, you can check "What is the profound impact of the SKAdNetwork 2.2 update on mobile growth and install attribution
?" of our previous articles.
Focus mode and notifications
iOS 15 dramatically improves the ease of controlling when and how notifications arrive with a new status mode called Focus - a more nuanced approach than the binary "Do Not Disturb" option. With Focus, Apple will use on-device machine learning that includes the user's activity and location or time of day to suggest Focus states such as "Work" or "Personal" as well as suggested apps and people who can interrupt them when that state is active. Users can also create their own focus modes that are automatically activated by detecting their behavior (e.g., "Exercise," "Driving," and "Reading") and selecting apps and people who can be notified of breakthroughs with instant alerts.
While the default setting for iOS 15 is Not Focused, we believe Apple's Active Focus recommendation will appeal to users who want to limit irrelevant or less important interruptions at critical times of the day. A user's Active Focus status will be available for iPhone, iPad and Mac. And with their permission, it will be visible in Apple's messaging apps, WhatsApp and Snapchat.
With iOS 15's Notification Digest, users will be able to choose which apps to include in a cross-app notification summary available at certain times throughout the day. If individual notifications contain images and are considered more relevant (based on user behavior and message relevance scores), they are more likely to be more prominent in the collapsed Notification Summary.
After clicking on the scheduled overview, users will expand their notification summary in the Notification Center, where messages will be prioritized based on relevance and the user's application habits and settings. Individual "communication" notifications from the messaging app will not be included in the summary.
Apps that choose to be included in the user's notification summary will have higher visibility within the Notification Center, as they will appear at the top and arrive there silently before all other notifications. From being included in the user's focus mode and notification digest to sending time-sensitive notifications, brands now have multiple ways to reach people when it matters most to them.
Brands need to adapt to changing user behavior and focus on delivering truly user-centric value, letting unworthy distractions fade into the background or reconsidering sending them in the first place.
Marketers need to be more sophisticated than ever to ensure they are sending timely and relevant messages, which means leveraging first- and zero-party data as intelligently as possible, rather than ignoring opportunities for transactional messaging that simplifies the customer experience. It's also a good time to re-evaluate in-app messaging strategies that engage customers while they focus on your brand and ensure that preference centers enable customers to choose what they want to hear.
App Store-centric mobile growth and UA
Custom product page
A long time ago, Apple decided it wanted its App Store to be the primary way users discover apps and games, and wanted app and game companies to see it as their user acquisition engine.
Custom product pages are one of the biggest announcements from the new iOS 15 update. You can now create up to 35 versions of your app's product pages. This way, if a user visits a specific impression, topic, or campaign, you can tailor what they see based on the value they find, hopefully increasing conversions based on the value they're looking for.
The introduction of custom product pages means we will see a fundamental change in the way users acquire marketers to target audiences and drive conversions. The new updates allow marketers to align their unique messages with the intent of their audience, resulting in more valuable and engaged users. Similar to product page optimization, each page can be monitored, tracked and reviewed in App Analytics to collect the average revenue generated per user. This not only enhances the personalization of the app marketing space, but also provides insights on how to optimize product pages.
Product page optimization
It's finally here: A/B testing on the App Store! Now we're talking. The App Store will be divided into two categories; paid and organic. But what does this mean for you?
Depending on your target audience, you will be able to customize the content on your product pages so that you can optimize them. Essentially, marketers have more freedom and ability to determine how their pages interact with users through A/B testing. Similar to the Play Store, app icons, screenshots and highlighted features are some of the variables!
On top of your default product page, you can actually create another three different variants - perfect for comparing and figuring out which brings the best results. For up to 90 days, App Store Connect provides comprehensive App Analytics where you can monitor the different conversions for each variant. (Performance of each variant in terms of number of displays, page views, installs and conversions).
Each test performed can be localized for a different audience. Think about these insights. You can collect learning about user behavior from different countries, cultures and backgrounds.
Product Page Optimization allows you to effectively target a range of audiences by providing pages that are optimized specifically for each audience. This is another step to help you better communicate with your users and build strong user loyalty from early on.
To learn more about product page optimization, you can check "iOS15: A/B Testing Your Product Page
" of our previous articles.
An interactive events calendar in your app store? Say hello to in-app events. Whether it's an exclusive online game or a movie premiere, these limited-time events will be visible on the product page, not just in the app. Users can simply click on the event's details to learn more and even be directed to download the app if they haven't already done so. In addition, there is now the option to share the campaign directly from the product page via social media or messaging.
Creatives are able to showcase compelling, upcoming events that will draw users into the app and encourage conversions. Previously, in-app events were only associated with increasing engagement with existing users, thus limiting any external discovery and downloads of the app. Every developer will be vying for a way to make their events featured.
To learn more about iOS15 App Store new capabilities, you can check "The Beginner's Guide to Create Your Product Page on iOS App Store
" of our previous articles.
Here are three key points you should prioritize when preparing your app in advance of the iOS 15 release.
- Custom product pages allow for greater freedom and creativity. By planning your custom product pages ahead of time, you'll be able to work quickly and speed up the process of gathering further insights about your users and increasing conversions!
- The focus feature means you may need to rethink your push notification strategy. The more your push notifications are optimized for your users and the more engaged your users are, the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd of apps competing for the same user attention.
- Last but not least, data is still key. Not only do users now have better control over the amount of data you have access to about them, they can also see how accurately you are using that data. The push for greater transparency and responsible tracking and advance use of data will only help further strengthen your relationship with your users.