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What could happen to mobile advertising performance?

Performance from mobile advertising on iOS14 is expected to look dramatically worse. With shorter lookback windows, no view-through attribution, and much less revenue able to be attributed back to a campaign, visible (i.e. trackable) performance from mobile advertising will appear worse.

This does not mean (especially in the short term) that mobile advertising isn’t still performing. Instead, look at how ‘organic’ performance improves as your BI and attribution tools can’t determine where the conversions and revenue came from.

However, in the longer-term, the algorithms of the major advertising platforms may get less effective at finding relevant and valuable audiences, as there is less data available for lookalikes and retargeting. So performance may well drop in the future.

iOS vs. Android?

There will be choices to be made on how to assign budget across the two main mobile operating systems.

Historically, iOS users have been typically viewed as more valuable and therefore cost more to reach in your advertising. But if iOS14 users are less trackable and targetable, we might see them become much cheaper on a CPM basis.

In addition, Android users could become more desirable so more budget might flow there. This would further lower iOS14 prices but also inflate Android CPMs.

Some advertisers may want to stop iOS spending, and feeding spend back in slowly as SKAdNetwork performance is gauged. Some may decide the suddenly lower CPMs of iOS users is worth the risk as those users are still likely valuable.

Will Android’s privacy protections follow suit soon?

Google’s Android has its own version of Apple’s IDFA called “Android Advertising ID” (AAID). Google has slowly been ramping up its user privacy protections on Chrome. It has not shown its hand yet to reveal if it will do the same for Android, but it is largely expected within a few years.

How will ad fraud be impacted?

Apple will itself validate when a click generates an install and will share that information with the ad network, platform or MMP through an encrypted postback.

This sounds good. Bad ads claiming credit for fake installs becomes much harder to pull off. Ergo, attribution fraud will be harder for bad actors.

However, less visibility into ad networks with data aggregated at a campaign level will make it easier for fraudsters to sell their fake traffic on their apps and hide their inability to drive business outcomes.

The re-emergence of upper-funnel brand campaigns?

There has been a resistance for mobile marketers to invest in brand advertising. The combination of digital advertising’s measurability and targeting abilities has meant it has largely been adopted as a direct response, sales activation channel to drive immediate outcomes. This has come at the expense of exploring it to drive brand outcomes such as increased brand awareness and favourability which lead to longer term growth.

If mobile advertising’s ability to target people who are likely to buy a product imminently and then track that through to an immediate action at enough scale is harmed, then it will be hard for it to justify its budgets on a media efficiency metric like CPI or ROAS.

Mobile advertisers may be forced into targeting broader audiences who do not have an apparent need or want for the product or app. Advertising will have to justify its investment in a more macro sense, looking at business KPIs (such as net profit) over a longer period of time – lending itself to higher funnel activity.

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