Apple recently announced its biggest step in protecting mobile consumer data privacy, causing a ripple effect across the mobile marketing industry which has based its attribution and optimization algorithms on the ability to uniquely identify users.
With iOS14 privacy changes—delayed to early 2021—each app will be required to ask for user consent to access the device IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) and track user activity for advertising purposes. Additionally, iOS users will be able to block all requests to track at once from the device Settings. Industry experts estimate that only 10-20% of the users will choose to opt-in for ad tracking.
The impact of iOS14 measurement change on app marketing
For app developers, iOS is a much bigger monetization opportunity than Android. Revenues generated by the App Store yet again nearly doubled those of the Play Store in the third quarter of 2020, according to new data from Sensor Tower.
Without the IDFA accessible in all points of app marketing (clicking an ad, first app open, and in-app events), the ability to accurately measure the user journey, and then optimize it, is severely limited. Some have groused that app marketers will have trouble proving the value of their programs and that could mean brands could be less interested in investing as much in this area.
A natural choice for many app advertisers is to invest in Apple Search Ads. Akin to paid search ads on the desktop web, Apple Search Ads appear at the top of the App Store search results helping marketers reach engaged users at the exact moment they are searching for apps.
According to Apple, advertising on this channel has impressive value:
- 70% of App Store visitors use the search function to find apps
- 65% of downloads on the App Store occur directly after a search
- The average Apple Search Ads conversion rate is 50%
While Apple Search Ads is an incredibly powerful channel for app marketers, it won’t measure post-install events or track installs from other publishers and channels that app owners desperately need to optimize their advertising investments.
The missing piece of the puzzle
Apple’s tracking limitation comes on the heels of the limitations of the desktop’s tracking mechanism, third-party cookies. Popular browsers Safari and Firefox have already started blocking third-party cookies by default, and Chrome is slated to follow this privacy feature within two years. Marketers were already trying hard to figure out how to respond to these changes, and now Apple’s IDFA move is yet another wrinkle to work through.
These are not small developments. In fact, if it weren’t for COVID-19, by far, the biggest issue on marketers’ minds in 2020 would have been how to solve for measurement in a cookieless world.
To help advertisers measure the success of their ad campaigns while maintaining user privacy in iOS14, Apple reintroduced its ad attribution mechanism, the Ad Network API. Even with the extended functionality that allows app developers to pass limited conversion data, it will be impossible to accurately track conversions or properly optimize campaigns.
Mobile marketers need a new measurement solution.
Incrementality: Cookieless marketing measurement powered by AI
Incrementality testing is one of the alternatives that marketers are currently leveraging as a solution to both mobile and desktop tracking challenges. Conducting geo-based incrementality tests (GDPR-compliant) will allow you to assess incremental lift from every marketing or advertising effort without relying on cookies or mobile identifiers— making it a powerful, future-proof measurement solution no matter what changes Apple makes to user tracking.
With Skai Impact Navigator:
A food-delivery company was able to validate their attribution results for their driver app and confirm that their Google App Campaigns were achieving an incremental lift of 7.7% in Applications
In geo-based incrementality, the target market is split into two groups: a test and a control group. This is not a random split. It’s a careful selection of geographies in a way that the test group correlates with the control group, so we can predict the test group’s behavior by looking at the control group.
Once the split is done, we perform an intervention on the test group – for example, we hold out on a marketing campaign, or we increase our spend on an entire channel. We then look at the control group’s behavior, employ statistical algorithms, and calculate what is the incremental effect of our intervention on the test group. This is the incremental value of your tactic, whether it’s a campaign or an entire channel.
“Skai’s Impact Navigator is a powerful geo-based incrementality solution that provides sophisticated cross-channel measurement and budget optimization across all your activity,” says Moti Radomski, VP Product at Skai. “By connecting to your ad-spend data and performance indicators, such as app downloads, activations, and in-app purchases, we can quickly measure the true Return on Ad Spend for each one of your campaigns, in a simple, intuitive way”.
The self-serve platform then analyzes and recommends the optimal spend to set up the best marketing mix within the channel and across multiple channels. Impact Navigator allows marketers to set up multiple tests in parallel and get results back within several weeks instead of months. This makes insights much more actionable and valuable.
We invite you to explore Skai’s Impact Navigator while you still have full-funnel visibility for your app campaigns. Securing an iOS14 measurement solution before the big change occurs will help you transition smoothly while your competitors scramble for a fix.
Reach out today to see a brief demonstration of the platform to see just how easy it is to measure your marketing results.