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Understanding Attribution in the World of iOS 14.5

Team InMobi
Team InMobi
2 min read
Posted on April 28, 2021
Understanding Attribution in the World of iOS 14.5

Apple is now officially enforcing its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, as iOS 14.5 is presently live. With this change, apps will be required to prompt users to explicitly opt in to having data about them collected and shared for advertising purposes. 

As a result of these changes, Apple’s device-level Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) will be largely unavailable for most iOS app users. What do these changes mean for in-app advertising attribution? How will advertisers focused on app installs and user acquisition be able to optimize, target and report if they no longer have user-level data? Let’s explore further. 

How IDFAs are Used Now 

Right now, IDFAs are used to identify the device and link an impression or a click to a mobile app install or conversion. While this will still continue for those who opt in, it’s important to note that only around 20% of iOS app users are likely to opt in. 

What Will Post-IDFA Attribution Look Like? 

Now that IDFAs are only available for those who explicitly opt in, advertising attribution for app install campaigns will look a little different: 

  • When a user clicks on an ad, they will be pointed to the App Store listing, with parameters on the back end containing campaign details for identification.   

  • After a user installs the app, an install will be attributed with no user or device ID. This will contain the campaign ID, conversion value or source app ID.   

  • A timer of 24 hours max is set where within the Apple Threshold, a postback will be sent on the timer expiration. Further, this data is forwarded to mobile measurement partners (MMPs) when applicable. 

Earlier, the MMPs played a key role in this attribution process where an install could be attributed to a click based on the device/user ID. Now, with IDFAs only being available for those who specifically opt in, attribution will largely go through SKAdNetwork (SKAN), Apple’s own solution for tracking app installs in a privacy-compliant manner.  

Still, the App Store plays a key role in facilitating the whole process. The App Store, along with the Apple servers through SKAdNetwork, disassociates user IDs and any other information sent along in the ad chain. 

Of course, it’s very important to note that there will be users who consent to being tracked and others who don't. Advertisers will use a mix of MMPs and SKAN to have the best of both worlds. 

Now that iOS 14.5 is live, attribution for app install campaigns in iOS will look very different. If you have any additional questions and want to know more about how InMobi DSP will be handling UA campaigns in Apple mobile devices, be sure to reach out to us today

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