Skip to main content

Getting Prepared for iOS 14

By July 9, 2020August 26th, 2022iOS 14 & SKAdNetwork, News & Updates 14 Min Read

Frequently asked questions & steps you should take.

Posted July 9, 2020

UPDATE: Since the original release of this post, updates to Apple’s User Privacy and Data Use policy resulted in new restrictions on certain attribution practices. See iOS 14+ restrictions on probabilistic attribution here.


iOS 14 is changing the advertising game, there’s no doubt about it. New content is being pushed out every day talking about the end of the IDFA as we know it, the future of the SKAdNetwork, and the many questions that still remain unanswered. It can be a lot of information to process, and you don’t have to do it alone. 

We want to help you get answers to frequently asked questions and understand steps you can take immediately to prepare for iOS 14’s release this coming Fall. 


FAQ & Recommended Steps


Attribution & Measurement

How will the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework impact attribution?

NOTE: The proposals originally presented in this section are no longer applicable. The use of probabilistic attribution on iOS 14+ is subject to a user’s opt-in decision through Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework. See full iOS 14+ restrictions. For more information on privacy-compliant attribution for iOS 14.5, download our free guide.


Will device-level measurement still be possible?

Answer: If you presently rely on the IDFA for segmenting devices in your internal data warehouse, reporting, and other device-level analysis exercises, start switching to the IDFV (identifier for vendors) or your own internal device identifier. iOS 14 changes will not impact device-level measurement and data within Kochava. In addition to the IDFV, we generate an internal Kochava device ID used to distinguish unique devices across reporting, analytics, and other systems. Make sure you update your reporting API pulls, postback templates, and any other data mining processes to factor in the IDFV and/or Kochava device ID, to use as a new primary key for device segmentation in your own systems. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Update internal systems to segment devices on IDFA alternative (eg, IDFV, custom ID, or kochava_device_id) 
      • Update reporting API pulls, postback templates, etc., to ensure inclusion of IDFV and/or kochava_device_id 


Will I still be able to identify users and get user-level measurement?

Answer: Yes. Kochava Analytics is not based on specific advertising identifiers–it is based on internal identifiers; device identity is already abstracted from advertising IDs. Beyond device measurement, capturing key identifiers for your users has never been more critical so you can link users to their devices. Going beyond device IDs to obtain a user ID, hashed email, or another identifier is paramount. To do this, you must have a signup or registration process in your app. If you don’t already, insert a registration path to collect user identifiers. Kochava innovated IdentityLink® to allow developers and advertisers to tag all device activity with their own internal user identifiers. This helps provide cross-device identity resolution to understand the user journey, while also offering potential IDFA replacements to preserve addressability. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Include a signup or registration path in your app to capture user identifiers.
      • Leverage IdentityLink® to tag device activities with addressable user identifiers. 


Self-Attributing Networks (SANs) 

How will the Self-Attributing/Self-Reporting Networks be impacted?

Answer: Major super publishers, commonly referred to as self-attributing or self-reporting networks–including Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Apple Search Ads, and Verizon Ads–will continue to operate but will likely have internal changes within Kochava, based on their unique requirements. The attribution APIs that mobile measurement partners communicate with to retrieve attribution claims against campaigns on these platforms are to-date largely based upon the IDFA. Kochava’s Product Operations team is working closely with all of these partners on preparations for iOS 14.  

Steps You Can Take:

      • Stay tuned for upcoming communication from Kochava regarding SAN integration updates.


What will happen with Apple Search Ads tracking for users that opt-out of app tracking?

Answer: To-date, Apple Search Ads has not surfaced conversion claims when the converting device has Limit Ad Tracking enabled. With the rollout of iOS 14 and the AppTrackingTransparency framework, there are questions as to how this will impact Apple Search Ads claims to third-party measurement partners. Granular visibility into search-driven conversions may be limited to the percentage of devices that accept tracking with advertisers using keyword performance from this subset as representative of larger trends to optimize around. Kochava is in close communication with Apple to seek clarity on the impacts of iOS 14 on Apple Search Ads. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Stay tuned for upcoming communication from Kochava regarding Apple Search Ads integration updates.

Deep Linking, Retargeting, Fraud, & Monetization

How will my retargeting/reengagement efforts be impacted?

Answer: While reengagement will face limitations in the wake of iOS 14, it is possible. Presently, paid retargeting is largely transacted on the IDFA. Dynamic audience activation tools communicate with audience APIs of partners using the IDFA. Kochava is working closely with our partners on new ways to provide addressability and targeting in an IDFA-less context (updates coming soon). 

Owned media channels will be more important than ever when trying to engage your users. Engaging customers via email, social, SMS, and push are all viable without an IDFA. Further, by implementing Universal Links via Kochava SmartLinks™ you can gain deterministic attribution on paid and owned reengagement. When a Universal Link hosted with Kochava directs a user into the app, the Kochava SDK can send back a Kochava click ID and Kochava device ID that can deterministically match in-app conversions back to the user’s click. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Create a multi-level owned media strategy. As iOS 14 rolls out, reengagement strategies will rely heavily on your audience segments curated from owned media sources. Contact your Kochava Client Success Manager to learn more about how tools like Engagement and SmartLinks can help you reengage your users. 
      • Implement iOS Universal Links with Kochava SmartLinks to gain deterministic attribution for engagement. 


Will deep linking & deferred deep linking still work?

Answer: Direct deep linking will not be impacted by iOS 14, as the context of the ad engagement is carried through the deep linking process directly into the app that’s already installed on the user’s device. Deferred deep linking is a bit different, as it relies on real-time attribution, returning the context of the ad engagement back to the app as the user first launches the app after install. The absence of the IDFA on a larger subset of users will mean that the attributions informing deferred deep linking will rely more often on probabilistic matching. While this increases the potential that the occasional user may be met with the incorrect deep link experience, attribution accuracy of 98% is still achievable with tightened lookback windows. This will help to preserve the proper deep link context in the great majority of user experiences. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Tighten attribution lookback windows, particularly on acquisition campaigns leveraging deferred deep linking. This will improve the accuracy of attribution that informs deep link context.
      • Implement iOS Universal Links with Kochava SmartLinks. When a Universal Link directs a user into the app, the Kochava SDK can send back a Kochava click ID and Kochava device ID that can deterministically match in-app conversions back to the ad click. 


Is ad fraud going to get worse on my iOS campaigns?

Answer: 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. Kochava is uniquely qualified to protect you from these fraudulent tactics. Ensuring you take these preventative measures will help to alleviate your exposure to fraud. 

Steps You Can Take:

      • Tighten probabilistic attribution lookback windows.
      • Implement Kochava Fraud Prevention:
        • Ensure the Global Fraud Blocklist is ON for your apps
        • Ask about our custom thresholding to tailor click-to-install ratio cut-offs, enhancing click flooding protection for your apps and campaigns. 
        • Reference the Kochava Traffic Index to find media partners with low fraud ratings historically.
        • As iOS 14 rolls out, keep watch on trends for your iOS apps in the Kochava Fraud Console.


I monetize on ads. What should I do?

Answer: If your primary business model is monetization through ads in your app, iOS 14 updates are likely to further reduce IDFA availability on a portion of your users. This will impact ad targeting, addressability, and very likely, the associated yields—likely causing a drop in your ad revenue potential. Start thinking about ways to incentivize your users to accept ad tracking. In addition, consider introducing an ads-free subscription-based monetization model. 

Steps You Can Take:

    • Develop compelling incentives for your users to accept app tracking to boost the availability of the IDFA—making your ad inventory more valuable to demand advertisers.
    • Consider introducing an ads-free subscription offering to users, diversifying your monetization strategy.


Identity and User Consent

Does iOS 14’s AppTrackingTransparency framework fulfill requirements for CCPA and GDPR?

Answer: Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework does not meet your compliance requirements for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Europe. Consult your legal counsel for questions on how these policy regulations apply to you. 

Steps You Can Take: 


How can I use Audience Enrichment & Identity Resolution for targeting?

Answer: Now is the time to build out holistic user profiles with mobile-first data against the IDFAs still associated with your customers’ devices. Onboard third-party enrichment data, such as demographics, interests and behaviors, and other attributes to help in future contextual targeting applications. Onboard hashed emails paired to your devices to prepare for potential addressability alternatives.


SKAdNetwork Specifics

What is SKAdNetwork and should I integrate with it?

Answer: In short, the SKAdNetwork is Apple’s answer to provide deterministic attribution, while protecting the privacy of individual users. Version 2.0, announced by Apple at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event, while adding new parameters, does not provide attribution to the granularity that Kochava delivers to its customers. One of the biggest limitations of SKAdNetwork is its lack of real-time feedback. Read the related blog post from our Director of Product. Many questions remain on the scope to which mobile measurement partners (MMPs) can integrate with the SKAdNetwork on behalf of their advertising clients. Kochava is in close communication with Apple and key partners on this front.  

Key shortcomings of SKAd that we know of to-date include: 

  • No view-through attribution or impression visibility
  • No row-level install or in-app conversion reporting (aggregated conversions only)
  • No device ID or user-level visibility
  • Campaign/creative tracking parameter limited to 100 values
  • Lack of real-time postback signals for optimization
  • Inability to perform multi-touch attribution with reporting of influencers
  • Lack of clarity around attribution configurability

Kochava is in close communication with Apple and will be offering further details as more information becomes available. 

Steps You Can Take:

    • Communicate with your app developers on the implications of integrating SKAdNetwork within your app, and unpack the pros and cons. 
    • Reach out to your key media partners to find out their plans and timeline to support SKAdNetwork. 
    • If you monetize with in-app ads, contact your monetization partner to understand how they plan to integrate SKAdNetwork. 
    • Be on the lookout for updates from Kochava on SKAdNetwork support in our upcoming product roadmap. 

We’re here for you. If you have additional questions, contact your Client Success Manager or email

Not currently a Kochava customer? Contact us

Mark Kellogg – Director of Technical Partnerships