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Apple announces changes to tracking and targeting feature

Rumours ahead of Apple’s latest software update stated that they were going remove the ID for advertisers (IDFA), from the iOS 14. The IDFA is essentially a random device identifier assigned by Apple to a user’s device. Advertisers use this to track data allowing them to deliver more customised advertising and for tracking the overall performance of their ads.

However, with a slightly unexpected curveball, Apple announced that instead of removing the IDFA altogether it would explicitly ask for opt-in for every single app. If an app wants to use IDFA it will present the user with a dialogue option box. Previously, this option was hidden deep in the in-app settings and therefore difficult to find. This will make the IDFA much less useful without removing this altogether, most likely to keep all parties (advertisers and users) happy.

This idea isn’t something that Apple has just plucked from nowhere, as Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) is a feature already available across iPhones, allowing users to opt-out of having an ID for Advertisers (IDFA). This means users receive no ads targeted towards their interests and demographics, as the device has no identity. This also makes 3rd party conversion and attribution tracking more difficult, but not impossible!

With Apple stating that c.30% of iPhone users already utilise the LAT feature – although this percentage will likely see a significant increase with a more obvious opt-in system – the majority of 3rd party software already has a solution in place.

As always with changes like this, the company will likely allow a grace period.

All Response Media viewpoint Apple’s obstacles to digital tracking are not new to us, with them introducing Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), a privacy feature to block thirdparty cookies by default, back in 2017 across the Safari browser. Also, as explained above, LAT has been around since 2012, this means many suppliers already have solutions in place to combat a lack of device ID.

However, we are always working closing with our 3rd party platforms to ensure we are tackling these updates head-on and making them less impactful for our clients. My colleague, Terry, details some of these solutions in his response to multiple suppliers changing their cookie policies in his article: Preparing for a cookie less world.

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