Last year, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced iOS 14, one of the biggest overhauls to the iPhone operating system to date. Amongst the changes was App Tracking Transparency, a feature that gives consumers more control over the data companies hold over them, and how they’re tracked and profiled across the web. Following backlash from tech giants like Google and Facebook, Apple delayed the rollout of the feature to “give developers time to make necessary changes”. With iOS 14.5, it’ll come into force.

Below, we’ve put together everything you need to know about how your app will be affected.


What’s changing?

As of iOS 14.5, Apple will require all app developers to ask users for permission before they can track them across the web. The changes apply not only to in-app tracking but profiling of users on third-party apps and websites. Ad giants like Facebook rely on the data it collects to build up a profile of its users, which it then sells back to advertisers and brands. Facebook and others have publicly criticised Apple for the rollout of App Tracking Transparency, saying it will undermine its advertising business and make targeted ads more expensive for SMEs.

Right now, users can already limit the amount of data companies can collect on them using Limit Ad Tracking, inside of the iOS settings menu, but the new feature will be turned on by default and ensure brands explicitly outline what data they collect and how they’ll use it. And as consumers become increasingly conscious of their data, most will want to block tracking.


Impacting ad performance

One of the reasons why the change is so controversial is because personalised ads make PPC and social advertising cheaper and more effective for small businesses. Knowing who they want to target, brands can use Facebook Ads and Google Ads to put products and services in front of potential customers and have them click through to their site. As a result of the change, Facebook says SMEs could see a cut of 60% of website sales from ads.


How will your Facebook advertising change?

If you advertise products or services on Facebook, you might be concerned that changes to iOS will make your ads more expensive or less effective. Facebook says that, although it might result in changes to pricing, it should not “fully prevent firms from personalising ads to users,” which is good news. When the program rolls out, Facebook will introduce a range of videos explaining how to better optimise your Facebook Ads to maximise engagement and conversions. It might be that you choose to change your marketing strategy to accommodate the changes, or even abandon advertising on the iOS platform altogether to lower ad costs.

The truth is, at this stage, it’s too early to say exactly how individual campaigns will be affected, so it’s best to exercise caution and set aside time to adjust your ad sets when iOS 14.5 arrives, when advertisers have a clearer understanding of cost/performance changes.


How can you prepare for App Tracking Transparency?

Apple wants the App Store to be a “safe and trusted place for users to discover apps created by talented developers around the world,” and so if you have an app on the platform, you’ll need to adhere to the changes. Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, you’ll need to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies. We’ve put together a list of the changes and documentation below:

  • Describing how your app uses data: On your app product page or description, you’ll need to provide information on your privacy practices and reveal third-party plugins or code you use, like analytics and advertising SDKs. Review these here.
  • Asking permission: Your developer will need to use the AppTrackingTransparency framework to request permission from users to track them and access their device’s identifier when they first open the app post-iOS 14.5. The prompt should explain why you want to track them, and unless you receive their explicit permission, you won’t be able to collect data on users either inside of your app or elsewhere on the internet

If you want to attribute app installations to particular marketing campaigns, you’ll need to depend on third-party advertising networks, who have access to SKAdNetwork 2.0 and can access Source App information, which helps to identify where and how apps are installed.

In Spring, Apple will launch SKAdNetwork to offer more detailed analytics on app installs. The company also plans to launch Private Click Measurement, which will help advertising networks like Facebook measure the effectiveness of clicks, based on conversions/sign-ups.


If you need help preparing your app for Apple’s upcoming iOS Ad tracking privacy and data usage changes, depend on Zudu. Call us on 01382 690080 to discuss your requirements and check back soon for more content on app development and pay-per-click advertising, right here.

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