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Overcoming Challenges for Publishers—iOS 14, SKAdNetwork, and Beyond

By November 19, 2020August 18th, 2022iOS 14 & SKAdNetwork, News & Updates 11 Min Read

From ad monetization to how data privacy changes will affect businesses in 2021, highlights from our expert panel

What can publishers do now to prepare for 2021, and how can they maximize revenue potential in the new world of iOS 14, the SKAdNetwork, and beyond? Sudhir Vallamkondu, CTO of gaming giant MobilityWare, along with Ethan Lewis, Kochava’s VP of Engineering & Product, and Mark Kellogg, Kochava’s Director of Technical Partnerships discussed the upcoming changes and ways to handle them in the livestream, Overcoming Challenges for Publishers, which you can watch here. Below are some of the key takeaways from the discussion.

The biggest challenges for publishers in 2021

“Embrace uncertainty” perfectly summarizes what the industry must do moving into 2021. Those who embrace uncertainty and look for opportunities as to where their business can develop will succeed. The advertising industry is experiencing huge changes regarding data privacy from multiple entities like Apple, Google, and regulations in the U.S. (California Consumer Privacy Act [CCPA]) and Europe (General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]), among others. Publishers need to consider how these changes will affect their businesses and consider diversifying their products as well as gleaning as much first-party audience data insights now as possible not just for targeting, but for brand activation licensing, or further product development.

Ethan Lewis headshot
“Some of the big uncertainties and challenges I see publishers facing are revenue diversification if they’re heavily monetized. They will need to focus on how they can evolve their product over time.” —Ethan Lewis, VP of Engineering & Product, Kochava

The anti-trust and Senate hearings on Apple, Google, and  Facebook and their influence on iOS 14

The anti-trust lawsuit will impact all of us, but it’s too soon to tell how. One thing is clear, addressing privacy upfront and preparing for change is the most practical approach to have right now. Change is coming even if we don’t know when it will happen.

Sudhir Vallamkondu headshot
“As a publisher, it makes sense for us to address [privacy] from a core perspective. We are getting ready for that world because it is going to come one way or another.” —Sudhir Vallamkondu, CTO, MobilityWare

Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) enforcement and potential alteration

While everyone’s looking for more clarity, enforcement of ATT is coming, and the consensus is that it’s not likely to change any further. Although some clarity is still needed and has been coming, no specific enforcement date has been announced. However, it’s better to be prepared than to wait and see what happens. Consider preparing for compliance as much in advance as possible so that consent capabilities can be turned on once enforcement begins.

Opportunities for monetization under ATT

With ATT, most IDFAs will be unavailable from iOS devices. That doesn’t mean in-app ads will decrease but rather, will be filled in different ways, such as through direct deals, private marketplaces (PMP), first-party audience segmentation tools, and data clean rooms. Publishers should focus on their audiences and learn as much about them as possible to effectively monetize.

The future of open bidding without a device ID

There have been some discussions about publishers moving away from the cost per install (CPI) model and selling by impression. The CPI model likely won’t change primarily because of the existing relationships between advertisers and publishers. What could change is a shift to employing more contextual fields where reasonable.

Mark Kellogg headshot
“There are challenges created by the absence of the IDFA, but that uncertainty creates opportunity for those who are willing to build products around it.” —Mark Kellogg, Director of Technical Partnerships, Kochava

Attribution going forward

The verdict is still out as to how to best perform attribution without deterministic identifiers available. Contextual data has emerged as an option, however, the term has often been misused in relation to data attributes, of which many fall under Apple’s data privacy policies. Contextual, in terms of the type of inventory where an ad is displayed, is a promising avenue.

Fraud and iOS 14 concerning

Effectively identifying fraud without deterministic identifiers is concerning because of how device data is used to block it. Apple’s policies allow access to device identifiers solely for the purposes of identifying fraud, and we will work within those guidelines. Additionally, within Kochava, advertisers and publishers will be able to compare SKAdNetwork signal against cohorted real-time signal (for users that opt-in to tracking) to validate the two and/or note any troubling trends that emerge.

Increased UA with Android not likely

It’s logical to think there would be more ad spend on Android devices, but advertisers and publishers are more likely to allocate spend to other channels rather than Android only. While they might cross-promote on Android, they may also just as much tap into over the top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) channels more.

Deterministic targeting amidst the new ambiguous environment

Understand your audience as much as possible to better target specific users deterministically in a contextual or other defined set of criteria. Exploring a toolset like Kochava for Publishers is key because it is unlimited data storage overlaid with our attribution toolset.

To watch the full discussion from this webinar, visit our YouTube video here.