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Home Blog App Store News Where Should Developers Go with The Release of iOS 14.5 and The End of IDFA's Era?

Where Should Developers Go with The Release of iOS 14.5 and The End of IDFA's Era?

Jun 23 2021

ios 15 SKAdNetwork solution


During WWDC2021, Apple introduced the new features and changes of iOS15 while also announcing some new developments for the new privacy regulations, such as the Digital Legacy Program and increased App privacy reporting.

One of them is a piece of information that many people ignore but is very beneficial to the advertising industry: after iOS15 goes live, SKAdNetwork will support data back to advertisers.

SKAdNetwork existed long before the new privacy regulations: in March 2018, Apple released SKAdNetwork 1.0 on iOS 11.3, but it did not drive widespread use; last year, Apple aggressively updated it to version 2.0 to address conversion behaviors such as installs, in-app registrations, and purchases brought about by IDFA.

On February 1, 2021, Apple again launched SKAdNetwork version 2.2, which started to support tracking the click effect of ads in iOS, iPadOS and other web pages based on the original tracking of App ads, and also added attribution tracking for View-Through Ads (browsing-based ads), including video, audio and other forms of ads. The impact of the upcoming IDFA access rights adjustment is greatly reduced.

Apple is implementing the application tracking transparency framework



When iOS 14.5 goes online, ads that use IDFA as the basis for billing will be greatly impacted and affected, such as CPA and ASO type ads.

Based on Apple's control over privacy issues, is it necessary for developers to access the ATT framework? What are the implications of choosing not to access it? What is the security of SKAdNetwork, an alternative solution introduced by Apple?

What is the ATT framework? 

At last year's WWDC 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple proposed the "ATT Framework".

Apple suggested that from iOS14 onwards, ad tracking user permission will be managed by the AppTrackingTransparency framework system to maximize the security of user privacy and put the security switch back into the hands of users.

What are ATT’s uses?

Before the transparent App privacy tracking function was launched, it was easy for the App to get the IDFA of users, and by getting the data, it could count the cost and conversion and other data of each media and material, and complete data attribution; it could also analyze users' preferences to do personalized recommendation and targeted push to achieve good advertising effect.

Before, users only need one authorization, the whole iOS device can get the authorization of IDFA thus can track user behavior, and IDFA authorization will be turned on by default. After the transparent APP privacy tracking feature goes online, the app must explicitly request user permission before accessing IDFA of the user's device, and obtain user authorization to obtain IDFA. and IDFA has a separate switch for each app in addition to the system switch.

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Do all apps have to access the ATT framework?

Not mandatory. However, after the Transparent App Privacy Tracking feature goes live, developers must get the user's consent through a pop-up window to obtain the user's IDFA.

If developers do not access the ATT framework, they will not be able to get the valid IDFA of users who upgrade to 14.5 and above system, and the returned IDFA value will be all 0, resulting in abnormal IDFA data for CPA and ASO type ad callbacks.

In what cases can they be exempted?

Apps that do not collect user IDFA can not be connected, such as children's apps

In addition, the following behaviors will not be considered as tracking behaviors and do not need to seek user permission through ATT framework.

(1) User data or device data in the App is only associated with third-party data on the user's device and will not be sent externally from the device in a way that identifies the user or the device.

(2) The data agent sharing the data will only use the data for fraud detection, fraud prevention or security protection purposes and will only act on behalf of the developer. For example, data agents are used only for the purpose of preventing credit card fraud.

Will I be rejected by app store if I don't connect with ATT?

If the user IDFA is not collected, it may not be accessed and the audit may pass normally. However, it is important to note that when developers submit privacy information in the iTC backend, the tracking content filled out needs to be consistent with the ATT access, otherwise there is a risk of rejection of the review.

About SKAdNetwork

What is SKAdNetwork?

After the adjustment of IDFA access, advertisers wanting to access channel attribution and user behavior tracking must obtain users' consent. To reduce the impact of this change, Apple has introduced an alternative solution - SKAdNetwork.
SKAdNetwork helps advertisers measure ad campaigns while maintaining user privacy

SKAdNetwork is Apple's attribution solution that helps advertisers measure campaigns while maintaining user privacy. With Apple's SKAdNetwork, ad networks can correctly obtain attribution results for app installs even when IDFA is unavailable.

In fact, as early as March 2018, Apple released SKAdNetwork 1.0 on iOS 11.3, but it did not drive widespread use; last year, Apple aggressively updated it to version 2.0, and the upgrade to version 2.0 can address conversion behaviors such as installs, in-app registrations, and purchases brought about by IDFA. However, the above two versions, both only support StoreKit-Rendered Ads (rendered ads), an ad type.

SKAdNetwork 2.2

On February 1, 2021, Apple once again launched SKAdNetwork version 2.2, which began to support tracking the click-through effect of ads in iOS, iPadOS and other web pages, in addition to the original tracking of App ads, and also added attribution tracking for View-Through Ads (browsing-based ads), including video, audio and many other ad formats. 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 rights adjustment.

Is SKAdNetwork secure? How difficult is it to access?

SKAdNetwork, the ad attribution technology introduced by Apple, has the security of Apple's official endorsement, and as an advocate of protecting private information and private data, Apple generally does not experience data leakage.

It is also very easy to access SKAdNetwork, you only need to embed one line of code to get the returned parameters.

SKAdNetwork also has its advantages

Besides, SKAdNetwork also has its advantages.

(1) Officially provided by Apple, no user authorization is needed to realize statistics.

(2) Simple in-app access at advertiser level, one line of code.

(3) Apple verifies user installation validity/repeat installation from Apple ID level.

(4)The form of ad presentation can be customized according to demand, which can be used for channel attribution of ad placement and determination of new and old users.

What are the other uses of SKAdNetwork?

Apple's official SKAdNetwork program can bind 6 conversion values of behaviors, and the ad platform can return both the amount of new and old users from the channel and the number of users who bought different packages when sending back the data, and then evaluate the channel ROI and user quality based on the returned data, but it still cannot achieve the effect of the original statistical method, such as calculating the value of individual materials and user quality based on LTV.


To developers

Will the new iOS 14.5 privacy rules affect infomercials?

If IDFA is not used for user behavior tracking, it will not affect the consumption of advertising, but it will affect the optimization effect tracking of advertising materials (there is the problem of cross-platform ID penetration).

Before that, the statistical logic of IDFA-based infomercial can track the subsequent payment behavior of users brought by individual ad materials, so as to optimize ad materials according to ROI and other data; after 14.5, it will not be possible to do ROI measurement in the old way (there is a cross-platform ID penetration problem). In addition, there will be an impact on CPA, ASO type of advertising based on IDFA settlement.

How can developers cope with it?

According to the current information, iOS14.5 official version is likely to be launched on April 26, and the transparent App privacy tracking function will be landed soon, so developers need to be prepared. In response to the current problems and general environment, the Seven Wheat Research Institute provides the following suggestions.

You can try to access AppTrackingTransparency framework in App update version as soon as possible to improve the chance of getting user IDFA.

Consider accessing SKAdNetwork2.2, the official advertising attribution technology launched by Apple, as a promotional backup plan.

SKAdNetwork's new mechanism will also send a copy of the returned data to advertisers

Last December we launched a customer survey asking advertisers which party they thought the SKAdNetwork return data should be sent to.

The results of this survey were clear: advertisers strongly believe that the advertiser or the MMP representing the advertiser should be the recipient of SKAdNetwork data returns.

SKAdNetwork will balance the progress with Apple's ongoing new releases

Since the launch of SKAdNetwork, Apple has been releasing new versions, which shows that Apple is also trying to eliminate the impact of the IDFA access rights adjustment.

Although the "support for sending back data to advertisers at the same time" is only a small change, it does solve a series of problems caused by advertisers not being able to receive data.


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