What Mobile Marketers Need To Know About IDFA

Mobile marketers have been hit hard by the recent announcement from Apple on privacy changes to their IDFA system for mobile advertising. According to a June 22, 2020 press release from Apple, the new iOS 14 will feature enhanced privacy, more control, and more transparency for users.

Some marketers are running around like the head has been cut off an $80 billion industry, while others are shouting doom and gloom that this announcement is more impactful than CCPA or the GDPR.

Either way, the change is here to stay, so the real question is “What will mobile marketers do in a post-IDFA world?”

What is IDFA?

IDFA is Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), which is essentially a randomly generated identifier that is created by Apple and assigned to an individual user’s device. Mobile advertisers use the IDFA to track data and identify users in order to customize and optimize their advertising campaigns. This is done without revealing the personal or private information of the user.

IDFA allows marketers to track how and when users interact with a campaign so that proper mobile attribution can be made.

Why is the IDFA going away?

Rising privacy concerns and issues have been pushing policy shifts in government bodies and large brands. Research shows 56% of consumers are very concerned that “someone” could see everything they do or watch on their device through an app. With Facebook and TikTok in boiling hot water over privacy issues, Apple has decisively made an effort to put enhanced privacy features at the forefront of its new iOS 14 release.

This means that the automatic opt-in for data collection that was so loved and beholden by marketers will be replaced by *start dramatic music* a manual opt-in by users to consent to the collection of their data. The cherry on top? A privacy warning to help inform users about the implications of their opt-in decision.

So what will marketers do in a post-IDFA world?

First, the good news. Despite all the claims, mobile advertising is not “dead” by any means. Furthermore, these changes were fairly well anticipated in the wake of the GDPR and CCPA changes in the past couple of years.

Realistically, these changes will not affect Apple search ads drastically since its ad targeting is focused around keywords. However, for publishers who depend on performance advertising, they will need to get used to the SKAdNetwork, which is Apple’s new replacement for the IDFA and will still provide aggregated and anonymized overviews of campaigns.

That said, it’s still going to take some time for advertisers and marketers to adapt to the new rules of the game. Luckily, iOS 14 hasn’t been officially launched, so there is still some time for everyone to catch up.


Want to learn more about IDFA? Check out MGS Deep Dives IDFA, a one-day conference that will explore IDFA in-depth.