After months of lead up, Apple has finally deprecated IDFA, replacing the mobile identifier with AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) and SKAdNetwork (SKAN). Now, after months of speculation and — hopefully — preparing, the day is here where we see what mobile marketers are made of. No one wants to manage their ad budget blindly, but I am here to tell you, all is not lost. My team and I have been readying ourselves for this day, and we have some advice for how to thrive in an ATT landscape.
How we prepared for a post-IDFA world
At Together Labs we have been preparing since Apple made the announcement, beginning by closely collaborating with our partners. For instance, we tested non-personalized (LAT) traffic with Liftoff and since September we’ve been beta testing AppsFlyer’s SDK so we can learn and prepare together. We then found our pre-iOS 14.5 baseline campaign performance, prioritized the events for SKAN capture, and shifted significantly more budget to Android. On top of all of that, we took three concrete steps toward post-IDFA preparedness:
- We froze our ML so that we can still use it for user acquisition post-iOS 14.5
- We started proactively testing the iOS 14.5 IDFA opt-in to get real data on the impact instead of waiting until Apple forces the change
- We also increased our CRM efforts to capture users’ push and email opt-in permissions, so we can also continue to effectively message our users outside of our app
Hopefully your team has already employed some of these strategies and built your knowledge base. If not, here’s how you move forward.
Want to continue to collect data on iOS users? The answer is simple. It all starts with encouraging opt-ins!
We started testing opt-ins early rather than leaving it until the last minute and only getting proactive once Apple forces you to. To that end, we have tested a user consent pop-up since mid-March and the opt-in rates are right in line with our projections. I will not share our specific opt-in rates due to confidentiality but I will say, it’s much better than most estimates. Users know the value of their data and what they get in return — so don’t be afraid to tell them why their consent matters to their user experience.
Use Google Play as your testing ground
It’s tempting to move your budget away from iOS but it’s not realistic to think you will completely forsake the millions of Apple users across the globe — especially considering what big spenders they are. In the lead up to the implementation of ATT, we continued to spend on iOS to capture users while we can.
Now that the day is finally here, we will pay more attention to detailed ad creative performance metrics on Android campaigns, then pivot those learning over to iOS. Truthfully, this isn’t an entirely new strategy. This is similar to what we currently do for App Store Optimization (ASO) by testing in Google Play Store and applying the key learnings to our App Store listing.
What you learn from Android users may not always be universal, but no marketer can afford to dismiss data that can inform your strategy.
Focus on new metrics
When you can’t pinpoint exactly where a new user came from, you have to start rethinking how you’re going to measure success. Since SKAN will limit the information we can collect, we will start focusing on early data events such as registrations and using our baseline average revenue per user (ARPU) by platform to determine how the projected revenues on iOS 14.5 campaigns are performing.
Meanwhile, when it comes to retention, we are lucky to have a solid existing strategy in place. We plan to use existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) means such as notifications, email, and our social channels to continue to engage existing users to maximize engagement, retention, and revenue. If you don’t already have a robust retention and engagement strategy in place, the time is now to get it done.
Put a new emphasis on retention
The IDFApocalypse is here and whatever your strategy is, it’s time to put it into place. My hope is that this new era of privacy pushes savvy marketers to realize it is time to build relationships with users. If you prioritize quality users over quantity, and make your UA dollars go further by enhancing engagement and retention efforts, you can build a user base of truly invested individuals who love your app.
Lomit Patel is the Vice President of Growth at Together Labs (foremly IMVU). Previously, Lomit managed growth at early-stage startups including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired by Apple) and EarthLink. Lomit is a public speaker, author, advisor, featured in Forbes Magazine and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. Lomit’s bestselling book Lean AI, is part of Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup” series, now available at Amazon.