Google removes use of Apple IDFA as new iOS 14 ad tracking notifications are set for early spring

Apple’s much-discussed mandatory privacy acceptance notifications were scheduled for “early spring,” and Google is phasing out the use of the company’s unique device identifier used for ad tracking. Google apps will no longer use Apple IDFA or any other information that is included in the new privacy terms, which it says frees you from having to present users with a subscription popup when these apps are installed through from the Apple App Store.

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Google Abandons Apple IDFA, Other Tracking Information to Avoid Subscription Popup

Changes to the rules about the use of Apple IDFA numbers and other personal user information, collectively called the Application Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, were first announced last June and scheduled for immediate implementation. with the iOS 14 operating system. Objections from the ad tracking industry prompted Apple to move the mandatory subscription portion of the new policy to early 2021. While no firm date has been set yet, Apple is now targeting “early spring”, reportedly sometime from late March to early June.

This particular aspect of TCA’s policy has turned the name tracking industry on its head. While users have had the ability to manually choose not to use Apple IDFA for tracking for some time now, it is disabled by default and requires entering the settings menu to enable it. Surveys have shown that approximately 50% of users have not. The ad tracking industry assumes that when users are presented with a convenient opt-out pop-up when downloading an app, almost everyone will say yes. That means a massive loss of revenue, particularly for free apps that are ad-supported.

The pop-up window will notify users that the application wants to use Apple IDFA to track them “on other companies’ websites and applications.” App publishers cannot incentivize users to accept (with bonuses or withholding features), nor can they use alternative means of tracking, such as fingerprinting the device. Anyone running the risk of being kicked out of the app store.

Businesses have had mixed responses to the new name tracking rules. Facebook has vigorously objected to ATT’s new terms, even running two full-page newspaper ads against it, but has also said it will display the opt-out pop-up to ensure Apple users can still access its services. . Google’s tactic appears to be removing everything the ATT terms require so that it doesn’t have to show Apple’s IDFA popup.

Google’s advice for the ad tracking industry

Google’s blog post on the subject reiterated that advertisers should expect a drop in revenue and the visibility of ad tracking metrics for Apple device users. At the moment, there is no good alternative for them. Some are so desperate that they seem to commit to adding device fingerprint methods to their mobile apps, despite Apple being able to launch them from the platform if they detect them.

Google is currently advising ad tracking partners using the Google Mobile Ads (GMA) platform to update their SDKs to the latest version, integrate with Apple’s SKAdNetwork, and simply bite the bullet on implementing the opt-out notice from ATT if necessary. SKAdNetwork provides publishers with more general information about app downloads and conversions, but in a more aggregated sense and completely unlinked from Apple IDFA numbers.

Apple has yet to come up with some sort of acceptable replacement that mimics the current features of name tracking, and it appears to be rejecting anything publishers come up with on their own. This has left some ad-supported app publishers with a tough choice between three unattractive options: engage in device fingerprinting for advertising purposes and risk a ban, switch to a much less lucrative form of contextual advertising. or just fold your store and focus entirely on Android. No publisher wants to be left out of the Apple ecosystem given its large share of the global smartphone market and its high-value user base.

Google apps will no longer use the Apple IDFA that is included in the new # privacy terms for # tracking, freeing you from having to present users with a subscription pop-up. #respectdata

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The situation is representative of the broader debate about how much of the personalized ad tracking industry (if any) should be tolerated. Consumers respond better to personalized ads (and tend to prefer them), hence much higher ad revenue, but are resistant to the amount of information they are often expected to share with big tech companies. For years, the industry has opted for device identification numbers like Apple’s IDFA that are decoupled from usernames and personally identifiable information, ideally numbers that change between browsing sessions so that no profiling is possible. long-term stakeholder. However, there are serious concerns about unethical data brokers hoarding user data tied to these numbers and Apple has redrawn the lines by rejecting this type of ad tracking altogether.


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