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Apple announced about IDFA zeroing. What does it mean for mobile marketers?

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In September this year Apple released the latest iOS 10 version of its operating system for iPhones and iPads. While this great news has excited gadget users, being the “biggest iOS upgrade so far”, offering a new level of security and intelligence, mobile marketers see it as a new hurdle on their way. All because of IDFA zeroing.

Why is the mobile ad market so concerned about IDFA zeroing?

IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers) is a unique combination of letters and digits for each iOS device that allows advertisers to calculate a number of unique users, deliver targeted ads, and, above all, measure the success of mobile campaigns. When keeping this setting disabled by default, advertisers are capable of collecting more data about the holder of the device, including his tastes and interests.

Conversely, when users switch this setting on, marketers and developers can only receive the IDFA of a particular device that helps them control the number of times a certain ad has been shown to the user. This identifier is also used to find out when the ad was tapped on and what further actions were taken, i.e. installation, service sign up, in-app purchase, etc.

The iOS 10 update has completely changed the way IDFA is now displayed. If a user limits ad tracking, the value of the advertising identifier turns all zeroes. Hidden IDFAs drastically affect all parties that are directly or indirectly involved in the mobile industry, i.e. users, developers, advertisers and publishers.

What are the consequences?

The new feature leaves almost no room for mobile ads quality optimization, sets limits to the number of times these ads show up and advertisers struggle to find out which ads have been efficient, and calculate ROI. Users are repeatedly presented with ads that are not targeted to their preferred experiences. Publishers have hard times getting paid due to ad campaign results, as they have lost the ability to attribute clicks.

Unfortunately, the few available tricks are not going to completely reverse or dramatically improve the existing setting. Marketers may attempt to send the industry back to the pre-IDFA era, come up with proprietary technologies to enhance the quality of traffic as well as establish a tighter collaboration with their current and new advertising partners. As an alternative option, here are some steps that may be worth trying:

  • Consider OpenIDFA, as opposed to IDFA used by some big players on the market;
  • Resort to technology that analyzes generally available device identifiers, such as language, OS version, ISP, Wi-Fi or carrier identifiers, etc.

If you need assistance in reaching out to your target audience in today's complex environment, contact us. GOWIDE stays on top of the latest industry trends and is always ready to offer its customers the latest and customized services.

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