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What is iOS 14.5? What Devs Need to Know to Stay Ahead of the Game

by AppLovin on Apr 30, 2021

The latest 14.5 iOS changes have gone into effect, which means advertisers and developers should be ready for Apple’s privacy updates. 

What are the iOS 14.5 privacy changes? 

When submitting new apps and app updates for review to the Apple Store, apps are required to provide information about the app’s data collection practices in their App Store Privacy information section. With iOS 14.5, tracking can only be performed if permission is granted through App Tracking Transparency. 

Apps that collect and share data about users with other companies for tracking purposes are required to use the App Tracking Transparency consent prompt and get the user consent. This applies to all apps in the App Store whether it’s for an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. They all need to have App Tracking Transparency (ATT) implemented to receive user permission to enable tracking. 

With the loss of user-level granular data, SKAdNetwork will be heavily used for mobile app attribution in iOS advertising campaigns. This framework is Apple’s privacy-friendly framework for mobile app install attribution. The attribution process is actually conducted by the App Store, facilitated by Apple, and then sent to the network without the user identifiers, preserving privacy. 

These changes have significant implications for the advertisers and the developers.

Getting your app ready for iOS 14.5 privacy changes is critical for your business. 

What does that mean for your business?

Around 10 to 30 percent of iOS users already limit ad personalization, but with this new update, as many as 80 percent of users are expected to limit tracking once they see the ATT prompt on their devices, asking explicitly if they want to be tracked. 

This move will change the way you collect insights with transparency and with user-level granularity. Here are some notable changes:

  • Due to the limitations of SKAdNetwork, user acquisition campaign data availability and targeting will be less granular and delayed for your advertising campaigns.
  • Retargeting campaigns may be a thing of the past if the majority of users opt out of sharing their IDFA for advertisers.
  • Paid vs. organic installs may not be as clear to differentiate.
  • Ad monetization optimization may see drops in CPM and fill rates with the increase in users enabling Limited Ad Tracking.  

Make sure you are ready

The name of the game is preparation. Figure out how you and your team plan to manage these changes. Here are some tips to help you stay ahead: 

  • Updates: Stay on top of Apple’s changes to their SKAdNetwork framework and set up SKAdNetwork with your MMP partner. Working with an MMP will ensure that you control everything from your dashboard. This ensures you do not need to update your app code to make changes for new processes and ways to collect and analyze that data. These include gathering data from the SKAdNetwork that are tied to various advertising networks and then verifying the learnings to your future app marketing campaigns.
  • Strategy: You may want to focus on your top-of-funnel users and see which early events are impacting your lifetime value (LTV). The main reason for this is because optimization and uncovering data behind down-funnel metrics around in-app purchases, for example, will be more difficult. 
  • Assess your budget: The iOS 14 updates and beyond will inevitably mean your spend on UA will be more difficult to understand. Therefore, you may want to consider adjusting your marketing budget on iOS until you have a chance to evaluate performance and adjust your spend to allocate more for Android to sustain growth for your business.
  • Optimize your earnings: Apps monetizing with ads should update your network SDKs to the latest to avoid potential revenue drops from your ad networks, ensure that you have the latest list of SKADnetwork IDs for your advertisers in your app’s info.plist and update your ad monetization strategy to continue maximizing yield with in-app bidders. Here is a list of items to prep for developers using MAX.
  • Your messaging: Consider how you want to design your opt-in flow as well as the copy in your privacy messaging to your users following Apple’s guidelines. (Here is a built-in consent flow for developers who use MAX for app monetization powered by in-app bidding.) It’s an opportunity to give more context to what tracking means and help users to understand why tracking may improve their experience in the app. 

Making the transition

Once you are ready, work with your teams to use these new tools to start running your new UA campaign and further optimize the IDFA opt-in rates. Understanding what your audience does in the first few months of the new iOS 14.5+ update is critical so you can adjust your budgets, campaigns, and overall strategies and sustain growth for your business in this new privacy-focused era.

We want to ensure you’re set up for success so you can continue to grow your business. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account team or [email protected]