With the iOS 14.5 update announcement, Apple has declared war on app developers, measurement companies, and advertisers alike. It is a move that is highly likely to reshape the entire digital advertising industry.
Apple’s app tracking transparency, aka ATT framework, will definitely serve a major blow to the targeted advertising industry, a primary source of revenue for big tech platforms such as Facebook and Google. Just for the context, advertising account for 98% and 73% of the yearly revenue of Facebook and Google, respectively.
The iPhone maker, via the rollout of ATT, hopes to re-imagine the role advertising plays within the Apple ecosystem. This move will allow the Cupertino, California based company to better control their users’ app experiences and content curation. And, given they’ve recently opened up a few ad spots on their App Store, perhaps, in the not so distant future, Apple might push the adoption of their own target advertising solutions as well.
Nonetheless, here are some pointers on how marketers and advertisers can navigate this new privacy-centric era of digital advertising.
Play By The Ecosystem’s Rules
With the onset of the ATT framework and the new challenges it poses to the ad industry, advertisers need to learn how to play by the rules quickly. For iOS specifically, now that the efficacy of precision marketing is slowly eroding, advertisers need to fall back on the solutions provided by Apple itself.
To help advertisers navigate the limitation of data availability, the iPhone maker is offering a measurement solution called SKAdNetwork, aka SKAN, which will make performance data available at the campaign level.
Though SKAN is not as powerful as targeted advertisement by design, it is currently the best bet for advertisers to comply with the new pro-privacy digital advertising standards being set by Apple.
Apple’s SKAN comes under the sphere of differential privacy, an approach to marketing measurement that leverages statistical methods in order to make it completely impossible for advertisers to find out an individual users’ behaviour while subsequently allowing them to still link their behaviour in cohorts to different digital properties.
Ditch User-Centric Advertisement Measurement Models
Marketers and advertisers must start adopting macro-level models which look at metrics such as variation in ad spend, revenue over time, et to attribute efficiency to channel-specific ad campaigns. However, that being said, this approach requires significant expertise in data science which might be a limitation for many.
Don’t Rely On Highly-Niched Products
With the loss of identifier-based targeting solutions, the products that will suffer the most are those that are meant for highly specific niche audiences. Thus, in the current scenario, one must build products that appeal to a broader body of consumers, requiring less precision targeting to reach customers.
Get Creative Or Die Trying
Lastly, now that targeting capabilities, device identifiers and behavioural histories are out of the picture, advertisers need to double down when it comes to the ad creative to make sure audiences are receptive to the messaging they want to convey. Although it will definitely not fully replace the efficiency of individualized targeting capabilities, currently, creativity is the only arsenal in an advertiser’s toolbox that can be effectively weaponized to stand out in front of broader audiences.
All in all, it is well understood that Apple’s ATT framework is the most significant and most impactful change to the digital advertising industry in years. And while there exist many who claim the company has rolled back many advancements in this space, Apple’s move is very likely to start a new era of online advertising altogether. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.