The new restriction of Apple’s device IDFA for iOS 14 to increase consumer privacy adds another hurdle in how the advertising industry interacts with users.
While the industry seems to be in a bit of an uproar about Apple’s announcement about its privacy initiatives at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week, I can say with great confidence it comes as little surprise to Kochava. Apple’s news of restricting the availability of the IDFA—the industry’s longtime device identifier for advertisers on iOS—forcing them and related adtech companies to rethink how they measure campaigns and understand user behavior is one of many industry pivots we have seen since the beginning of this year. Apple will now require publishers, advertisers, and related entities to request user permission to track them, among other privacy initiatives protecting consumer data and identity.
We are an ecosystem in transition but fully prepared to work diligently through the changes as we continue to put the privacy of user data at the forefront. As a leading attribution provider and long-standing partner with Apple, our mission aligns with theirs.
Let’s recap what we know from the recent news:
In addition to the opt-in prompt for IDFA access, Apple intends to use the SKAdNetwork to inform advertisers about attribution on ads displayed on iOS devices for those publishers that are registered with SKAdNetwork. Marketers will know an install occurred, but they won’t be able to connect a specific install with a specific device, thus preserving privacy. Because the SKAdNetwork was just formally referenced this week, there is no available inventory that is SKAdNetwork ‘ready’ and it’s unclear what will be available and when.
Although this is a major change in an industry increasingly being forced to focus on consumer privacy, the release of Apple’s resettable IDFA and Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) in previous years hinted that it would further restrict outside parties from an addressable identifier for distinct devices.
The announcement comes amidst Google’s countdown to the end of the cookie, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), so advertisers have already been inundated with major industry changes coming to the mainstream way of marketing, measuring, and retargeting. However, those of us looking ahead at the direction of the industry have been preparing to solve for consumer identity in the absence of traditional device identifiers. For some time now, we’ve been incorporating privacy by design and developing alternative but unique mechanisms for identity and providing tools for user consent.
How do we see the future?
Kochava is prepared to support the ecosystem through several ongoing innovations. These include providing identity solutions, enabling contextual targeting (where no stable identifiers are used cross-property), and through frameworks like SKAdNetwork and XCHNG. We are working closely with clients, partners, and the ecosystem at-large on several solutions that will allow our clients to have a competitive advantage.
A mosaic of solutions in the absence of the IDFA
In preparation for the end of the cookie and increased limitation of the IDFA, alternative consumer identity solutions are now more important than ever.
At Kochava, we read the writing on the wall several years ago and began compiling identity solutions that are not reliant on a platform-specific advertising ID. We knew that to perform more effective and reliable attribution and measurement and create a holistic view of the consumer journey, we needed to look beyond the reliance on an IDFA.
Several solutions already exist within Kochava to aid marketers in identifying consumers with the data they have. With respect to the restriction of the IDFA, here is a list of available solutions to maintain consumer privacy and in some cases enhance understanding of audiences.
Kochava’s Identity Solutions help brands connect consumer touchpoints in the absence of device IDs using other user identifiers such as hashed emails to enrich a marketer’s existing dataset with validated first-party data. Through Kochava’s IdentityLinkTM, marketers can further enrich their first-party data and have a greater understanding of their users with their own identifiers.
Options exist to perform identity resolution using hashed-email-to-device linkages, device connections by household, and other first-party identifiers key in solving for identity resolution and attribution. This is valuable to marketers, publishers, and ecosystem partners and we have tools prepared to enable the ecosystem to leverage their own 1st party data sets and resolve them in actionable ways.
Further scarcity of the IDFA forces greater reliance on attribution by fingerprinting. Fingerprinting is a probabilistic method of attribution based on device IP & user agent that’s less precise than deterministic attribution based on the globally unique IDFA. Nonetheless, a high degree of accuracy is still maintainable with fingerprinting through Kochava’s highly configurable attribution. Marketers can tighten and refine lookback windows at the campaign level or even down to the precise creative. With refined lookback windows of minutes or hours (as opposed to days), a tighter correlation between click and conversion ensures causality in attribution.
The power of configurable attribution goes beyond avoiding fraudulent signals. Enabling fractional attribution or weighted attribution (handling things like unique reach vs. frequency) is a function of enabling full signal exposure in combination with configurable settings. This makes attribution a differentiating value proposition in marketing efforts vs. a black box proposition.
Increased Fraud Protection
As we have seen with the advent of Limit Ad Tracking (LAT), a greater volume of devices without IDFA will leave iOS campaigns more vulnerable to attribution fraud, where tactics like click flooding can game the system to steal credit for conversions. In addition to tightening lookback windows, implementation of Kochava’s sophisticated anti-fraud solutions will protect iOS campaigns from click flooding and other tactics used to exploit LAT settings. Keeping your attribution data clean and accurate will ensure you continue making well-informed campaign strategy decisions.
Privacy-first and Consent
Designed to determine when to request and manage consent, Kochava’s Intelligent Consent Manager, built using the IAB’s CCPA Compliance Framework for Publishers, works in parallel to Apple’s new consumer privacy initiatives.
Paid reengagement campaigns have become a very popular approach for marketers today. This strategy currently relies heavily on device IDs for audience segmentation and activation. As an alternative to paid reengagement, marketers can shift to increase their use of owned media outreach via push notifications, in-app messages, email, or SMS. Kochava provides natively integrated engagement capabilities which can help facilitate reengagement for segments where IDFA is not present. Further, the walled gardens, for now, will remain a valuable resource in reengaging your audience because of their ability to target and reach users irrespective of the IDFA.
Forging new paths for advertising
I often say, out of chaos comes opportunity. At Kochava, we see these changes as opportunities to innovate on behalf of our customers, and we are continually building and enhancing our marketing solutions in new ways for them. Kochava was founded because of the need for insight behind advertising campaigns, and since 2011 we have been working to bridge gaps in the industry for marketers. The loss of the IDFA is no exception. We are prepared and poised to continue leading the industry in exciting new directions as we evolve and grow while always putting privacy first.
If you currently use Kochava, we have you covered. Your CSM team can work with you to navigate these changing times.
If you’re a Kochava partner, we have you covered. We have several new initiatives that might make sense to collaborate on together. Please reach out to your Kochava contact, and we can engage in the next steps.
If you aren’t using Kochava, we welcome the opportunity to serve you. We have a history of being a difference-maker for our customers—enabling them to work with crystal clarity in an ecosystem that is filled with opacity.