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Home Blog App Marketing The Post-IDFA Era, What Does It Means for Mobile Marketers and How to Ensure the Realization of Revenue?

The Post-IDFA Era, What Does It Means for Mobile Marketers and How to Ensure the Realization of Revenue?

May 28 2021


As we know, Apple has moved away from using IDFA as an associated or widely used identifier which will certainly bring two changes. 

With the update of the latest version of iOS, Apple adjusts the user privacy policy, and I believe iOS-related content must be a recent topic of hot discussion and concern by the majority of the developers.

Apple will enforce the ATT privacy framework and will implement SKAdNetwork as the attribution scheme.

From the user's point of view, the privacy protection is further upgraded, so what is the impact on mobile advertisers, developers, advertising platforms and attribution platforms? How can all parties collaborate to better improve the effectiveness of mobile marketing for customers?

The disappearance of IDFA

iOS 14 by default sets all devices to restrict enabling ad tracking, which will block IDFA

If a publisher or target (advertiser) app wants to read IDFA, it must separately ask the user to grant permission when prompted


idfa stands for


What changes does the iOS 14 user privacy policy bring to the industry?

Apple will enforce the ATT framework to protect user privacy

ATT stands for App Tracking Transparency, a user privacy framework that Apple will soon enforce.

Developers ask users via a pop-up window whether to authorize ad tracking.

It was formerly known as LAT, or limit ad tracking to restrict ad tracking.

Before iOS 14, the default user was allowed to be tracked in Apple settings, whereas now it is the default user who is not allowed to be tracked.

After receiving the ATT pop-up, if the user does not choose to allow ad tracking, the app will not be able to access their personal information such as IDFA.

We also suggest developers to go to the iOS developer platform to learn how to optimize the ATT page settings to increase the percentage of tracking allowed.

Apple has some rules, such as allowing developers to choose the right time to pop up the ATT window on their own.

So it is optional whether it appears during the newbie teaching phase or when the app is opened for the first time.

In addition, Apple allows developers to display a page before the ATT pop-up to explain to users why they want them to allow ad tracking.

Apple is still offering some solutions, but because of the short time frame, it is unknown how effective it will be for now.

iOS 14.5 traffic growth trend forecast


post idfa advertising

How many users will actually update to the latest version after the iOS14 update? As shown in the chart above, we can roughly know the update rate of iOS 14.5 based on the update data of iOS 14.2 and 14.3.

It is predicted that within 40 days, 65% of users will update to the latest version.

Meanwhile, the actual update speed may be faster because iOS 14.5 protects users' privacy better, and 65% is just a conservative prediction.

No user wants to be "stalked on the Internet". There is nothing we can do except accept it.

However, IDFA is no longer available. Even though Apple suggests using SKAdNetwork instead, this would fundamentally prevent user-level attribution, audience retargeting, and audience-like features.

Apple introduced SKAdNetwork attribution mechanism. So what are the advantages and challenges of SKAdNetwork?

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It is expected that 65% of users will update their systems within 40 days of the release of iOS 14.5.

This means that after iOS 14.5, the IDFA of a large number of users is not available to developers. But in this ecology, developers still need an attribution scheme.

So Apple provides a new attribution mechanism - SKAdNetwork.

Briefly introduce the attribution chain of SKAdNetwork. There is no difference between users clicking ads and downloading apps, but when users activate the app in the phone, they need to call Apple's two APIs, one is Register API, which records one application activation.

Next, if you want to record user's behavioral events such as registration and purchase events, you need to call SKAdNetwork's Update Conversion Value API to record user's behavioral data.

At the same time, Apple has introduced a countdown timer mechanism in the whole link. After you have called the API once to record the user's behavior data, you need to wait for 24 hours for the countdown timer to end.

At the end of those 24 hours, the device will send the attribution results to the ad platform within 24 hours.

As you can see, the whole chain is very different from the attribution mechanism used in the past years. It is believed that such a set of mechanism with delay and value resolution will have some impact on the advertising platform and the realizing platform.

For developers, the above two positive signals are worth focusing on

About SKAdNetwork2.2

After IDFA access rights were adjusted, advertisers wanting to access channel attribution and user behavior tracking had to get users' consent, and to reduce the impact of this change, Apple introduced an alternative solution, SKAdNetwork.

In fact, as early as March 2018, Apple released SKAdNetwork 1.0 on iOS 11.3, but it did not promote widespread use; last year, Apple actively updated it to version 2.0, and the upgrade to version 2.0 can solve the conversion behavior brought by IDFA such as installation, and later registration and purchase within the app.

However, the above two versions, both only support StoreKit-Rendered Ads, an advertising type.

Recently, Apple launched SKAdNetwork version 2.2 again, which supports tracking the click effect of ads in iOS, iPadOS and other web pages based on the original tracking of App ads, and also adds attribution tracking of View-Through Ads, including video, audio and other ad formats, so developers can evaluate which ads are most developers can evaluate which ads are most effective and drive user conversions (such as purchases or registrations), greatly reducing the impact of the upcoming IDFA access adjustments.

View-Through Ads with customizable ad formats

Previously SKAdNetwork only supported one ad type, i.e. StoreKit-Rendered Ads (Rendered Ads), but with the launch of version 2.2, SKAdNetwork is also able to support View-Through Ads (Browsing Ads), which starts to apply to the effect tracking of 2 ad types.


StoreKit-Rendered Ads

StoreKit-Rendered Ads (original): This ad type can directly call the download page of an App in the App Store in the App, directing users to download and attribute to that channel source directly.

View-Through Ads

StoreKit-Rendered Ads and View-Through Ads at the same time: StoreKit-Rendered Ads will be given priority as attribution; if a user clicks on StoreKit-Rendered Ads before downloading and installing the App, and then clicks on View-Through Ads, StoreKit-Rendered Ads will also be judged as a valid channel.

In short, when different types of ads appear at the same time, SKAdNetwork will consider StoreKit-Rendered Ads as valid as long as the user clicks on StoreKit-Rendered Ads.

What is the impact of SKAdNetwork attribution mechanism on advertising realizations?




This year, programmatic buying is a big trend in the industry, and In-app bidding is one of the ways that people hope to solve the revenue problem.

Since March this year, Facebook has asked iOS developers to give up cashing in waterfall and fully switch to In-app bidding to manage their own traffic.

So, In-app bidding is a clear trend, and it's a good time for developers who aren't already using it to get on the programmatic buying bandwagon, helping to reduce risk and improve efficiency.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of SKAdNetwork framework in terms of attribution?

First of all, SKAdNetwor is deterministic attribution, and Apple created this framework based on the premise of protecting users' privacy, so it is said that this set of links can protect users to the maximum extent.

Moreover, since SKAdNetwork is not based on IDFA attribution, the attribution result of this framework is not limited by whether the user is authorized or not.

In other words, SKAdNetwork can cover the attribution results of all users.

Gaming industry may be affected, be honest and transparent to players

In the past two years, the traffic in the global game market has become more and more expensive. Summing up the reason, it is attributed to the fact that players have become more and more mature and have a better appreciation of games.

In fact, this is not unreasonable. But in addition, as users survive in the digital society for a longer time, they will not only strengthen their ability to identify information, but also their awareness of privacy protection, especially in today's increasingly specific user identity information, users' privacy is no longer limited to application information, but also fingerprints, faces and other unchangeable and more physiological information.

Although this information is localized storage, but the confidentiality of technical requirements are extremely high, once leaked, will have serious implications.

In addition, for APP advertisers, especially hand game enterprises, IDFA launched, will in turn lead to a decline in advertising effectiveness, which greatly affects the APP advertising, including hand games, advertisers will bear higher placement costs and lower user conversion rate, and this loss may eventually be transferred to the user, such as increasing the purchase price of some services, some free services will be charged and so on.

Of course, in today's game market where the user dividend is losing, the stock is peaking, and users are paying more and more attention to privacy and device access, charging users is naturally the next best thing.

If we want to maintain the business model of IAA-type game advertising, game makers and advertising platforms will lose their brutal access to user information, and how to gain users' trust and balance between data privacy and business interests will be the next key point for manufacturers to make efforts.

According to the "Brand Loyalty: The Need for Hyper-Personalization" report released by brand testing company Formation.ai last year, 83% of consumers would be more willing to share data if brands were transparent about how they use it.

From the perspective of information access, users are actually not ignorant of the information and search convenience brought by personalized recommendations, and are also willing to exchange customized services by conceding some of their rights and interests to companies, which is not only conducive to maintaining good precision marketing and a win-win situation for all parties, but also to achieve the benign development of the Internet economy.

But what is really offensive is that some companies abuse user data without the users' knowledge, leading to the leakage of user information, specifically in the form of receiving various push messages for no reason.

And now after the launch of IDFA, both game advertisers and advertising platforms should regain the trust of users by virtue of openness and transparency.

Without IDFA, how about the alternatives

IDFA is an official Apple solution to address advertisers' device identification needs. On iOS devices, it can play a better tracking effect than cookies, and thus has a very good recognition on the advertisers' side.

For iOS, which is very closed, once IDFA is restricted, there is no official standardized identification parameter.

As a result, many technology platforms serving advertisers are thinking about how to find alternatives to IDFA without violating Apple's official regulations.

How can developers ensure the stability of realizing revenue in terms of advertising realizations?

LAT has been a hot topic for marketers in the mobile industry since Apple announced its iOS 14 user privacy policy update.

LAT stands for Limit Ad Tracking, which means to restrict ad tracking. When users turn this setting on, their IDFA will appear blank when the ad is tracked.

For example, developers can use IDFA to create custom audience groups or similar audience groups, or to attribute installs to specific ad campaigns.


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