Will Changes to IDFA Usage Rules Affect Partnership Programs?

Jul 8, 2020

Director of US Integrations in Customer Success AMR

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The entire digital marketing industry seems to be talking about the WWDC announcement stating that later this year, apps will need to ask the user’s permission to track them or access a device’s Identifier for Advertisers, or IDFA.

From the Apple Developer site:

With iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, you will need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier. Tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from your app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes. Tracking also refers to sharing user or device data with data brokers.

In mobile app tracking, the IDFA is a commonly used tool to help track and attribute user behaviors, including installs. It is currently the most widely used identifier for the mobile measurement platforms (MMPs) and the entire mobile industry, so this decision is significant.

Partnerize and Mobile Measurement

Partnerize offers a suite of mobile tracking solutions under the name Partnerize AllTrack. Many of our brand clients and partners rely on AllTrack to capture clicks, conversions, and other events that take place in mobile web and mobile app environments.

AllTrack offers several options for Mobile Tracking:

  • Mobile Server-to-Server Tracking: Tracks activity on the client side.
  • Partnerize SDK: Our own mobile SDK that can be incorporated into apps for in-app tracking, without the need to work with a third-party mobile app tracking solution
  • Third-Party Integrations: Partnerize also has integrations with the leading app tracking solutions including Adjust, AppsFlyer, Branch, and Kochava.

All of our methodologies use Partnerize Clickref for tracking, not IDFA.

While the Android team has not yet announced a similar move, many in the industry expect Android will follow at some point in the future.

No Impact on Partnerize Clickref-Based Tracking

Partnerize clients should know that none of our solutions use the IDFA for tracking. We attribute clicks and conversions using the Clickref, which is unaffected here.

For our clients using third-party providers, our integrations will continue to track in-app purchases using Clickref, which is unaffected by these changes. Each of these companies will be shifting their tracking approaches to methodologies that aren’t reliant on IDFA. IDFA matching was a “deterministic” approach, whereas new methodologies will be “probabilistic”.

For tracking app installs through third-party providers in Partnerize, fingerprinting was and will continue to be the method used for attribution. Fingerprinting will likely play a much greater role for MMPs in the future. It has been used as a back-up tracking methodology by MMPs for years. In the new world, it will likely become the primary means of tracking.

Those methodological changes may affect the accuracy of tracking to some degree, but these businesses rely on providing accurate data for install and other event attribution, so you can expect they will work very hard to deliver accurate information. It’s important to understand that the MMPs have been aware for some time of the possibility of this change, so they have been working to find ways to ensure that data are as complete and accurate as possible. 

Those using third-party tracking solutions should get in touch with their providers to understand their plans for tracking when these changes go into effect, and the level of accuracy they will be able to deliver.

If you are not working with us and would like more information on tracking changes and partnership marketing, please get in touch or request a demo today.

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