iOS14.5 & IDFA: What You Need to Know

Mar 18, 2021

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Last year, Apple announced their intention to severely restrict access to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA ), an identifier on iOS devices used by many advertising solutions for the purpose of device identification. The IDFA is used by some solutions in marketing campaigns and a way to measure  the success of their campaigns.

The IDFA changes were planned to be a part of the iOS14 release. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inclusion was postponed and instead moved to the iOS14.5 release schedule for March 2021. With iOS14.5, users need to give permission to applications that use the IDFA for tracking and reporting purposes. It is estimated that only 10-15% of users will give their mobile applications permission to track them using their IDFA.

Many advertising solutions will no longer be able to target or track users based on their IDFA due to this change. The impact will be felt by advertisers and their mobile marketing campaigns, but we expect this to be minimal for Partnerize and Partnerize clients. Let’s explore why.

Partnerize and IDFA

Partnerize operates primarily as a partner marketing solution that tracks events in-app as opposed to an acquisition tool that relies on app installs. Our model is a referral-redirect model in which a click (referral) is always actioned first and any subsequent event is tied back to the originating click.

Due to the redirect-based model, we rely on identifiers from the click itself and do not rely on the IDFA for attribution. Partnerize does not, and has never, stored the IDFA from a user’s device for tracking purposes. The Partnerize iOS Software Development Kit (SDK), does not use the IDFA for tracking.  We do not, and will not, have any requirement to store the IDFA. Any client using a Partnerize AllTrack solution will not be impacted by Apple’s iOS14.5 changes.

MMP Integrations

Partnerize supports a number of integrations with mobile measurement providers (MMP) such as Branch, Appsflyer and Adjust. These MMPs have their own attribution systems, which may rely on the IDFA for tracking installs and in-app events. However, our integrations with these MMPs use the Partnerize click identifier for the attribution of Partnerize traffic, as opposed to the IDFA. 

The MMP is responsible for passing in-app event data to Partnerize using the Partnerize click identifier.  We expect minimal to no impact to advertisers who have a MMP integration for their Partnerize campaigns. The MMPs have known iOS 14.5 is coming and have prepared for it. Still, there is potential for some impact if the MMP’s attribution logic doesn’t account for the changes.  

If you use an MMP, we recommend that you speak to your provider to confirm they have implemented any required changes within their attribution technology to ensure the correct data is sent back to Partnerize. In the unlikely event that an MMP is unable to attribute in-app purchases back to Partnerize, we recommend that brands are prepared to make changes to their programs.

Making Reparations

When discussing these changes with MMPs, some have suggested that Partnerize integrates with SKAdNetwork (SKAN) to reduce the impact of these changes. SKAN is Apple’s new the privacy-focussed attribution measurement tool that will submit information back to the ad network, however it comes with serious limitations such as:

  • Event data is delayed 24-48 hours
  • No conversion metadata will be available, making commissioning impossible
  • No conversion time will be available due to above delay
  • No partner attribution identifier will be present, making Partnerize partner attribution impossible

Due to the reasons listed above, Partnerize will not integrate with SKAN. In the unlikely event that there is an impact with a MMP and mobile campaigns, Partnerize suggests the following short and long term solutions.  

Short-term/Immediate Solution

Should a campaign be impacted by iOS14.5 IDFA limitations, the fastest resolution is to ensure all iOS deep links are force redirected into the mobile web. All MMPs should support this functionality and clients should contact their MMP to determine how to configure their deep linking strategy in this way.

Long-term Solution

Should a campaign utilizing a MMP become impacted by IDFA limitations and the tracking of data, brands should consider integrating with the Partnerize AllTrack SDK or the Partnerize AllTrack API.  Both AllTrack solutions have no dependency on the IDFA and require no tracking approval from the user. 

Summary

To reiterate, we anticipate no impact to Partnerize campaign performance for clients who are using a Partnerize solution. Partnerize does not expect this to affect brands using a MMP, but we recommend that you speak to your MPP to ensure that they have implemented the required changes or are prepared to make any necessary changes.  If interested in switching to a Partnerize’s AllTrack solution, reach out to your customer success representative today.

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