Apple will soon fully release iOS14 out into the wild. Its impact on digital advertising will be huge. So much so, we wrote this mammoth piece about everything at ASOWorld know so far.

Disclaimer: The following information presented is correct to the best of our knowledge, and at the time of writing. All our recommendations in this document are subject to change. We will be updating it as more information becomes available. Where we are unsure, we have tried to make it clear.  For more information, please contact us or your media/measurement partners.


Table of Contents


The impact of iOS14 on digital advertising

What is changing and why?

Apple has announced new privacy measures will be put in place in iOS14.

Mobile advertising currently relies on the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to track users across apps and services to tie ad impressions to installs and revenue.

The IDFA is opt-in by default. Apple has historically offered people the chance to opt-out before, with their Limited Ad Tracking feature. In iOS14, IDFA will become opt-out by default. Apps will need to gain explicit consent from users to allow them to be tracked and attributed as they are currently (via the IDFA). Adverts will still be shown to all users, whether opted in or out.

Apple has not yet given a firm date for when these changes will happen. Indeed, it has been pushed back a couple of times already. The latest is that it will happen in March of this year.

Apple’s uncertainty about its release date reflects its participation in the solving of the upcoming challenges. As such, much of the targeting and attribution questions the industry has are still not fully answered. No one, not even Facebook or the larger Mobile Measurement Platforms quite knows the full impact expected, and how Apple will police certain practices in the future.


What is an IDFA?


IDFA stands for Identifier for Advertisers. It is a combination of letters and numbers designed to identify a specific iOS device (including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs). Marketers use the IDFA to target advertising to specific users at scale, and measure the performance of those ads.

An IDFA is currently sent by the app by default (unless ‘Limited Ad Tracking’ is turned on by a user), meaning performance is easily measured and ads successfully targeted. When consent is not given by a user in iOS14 the IDFA will be ‘zero-ed out’ to anonymise the user.

An IDFA is not used by Android devices (which instead uses a GAID: ‘Google Advertising Identifier’). Apple’s changes do not affect the use of GAID.

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