BlogFAQsKnowledge Centre
Mar 23, 2021 | By poq

FAQs: iOS 14 IDFA Updates

We wanted to update you on Apple’s pending changes to its mobile end-user privacy and tracking policies and what this might mean for your apps. 

So, we’ve compiled this FAQ to help answer some of your questions and explain what Poq is doing to help manage this change. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact your Customer Success Manager if you would like to discuss anything further in the meantime. 

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The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique random identifier assigned to a user’s Apple iOS mobile device. Each IDFA contains no personal identifying information, or ‘PII’. The identifier is used by advertisers to track data so they are able to deliver customized advertising, as well as measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns across mobile apps and sites.

Android has its own identifier, called Google Advertising ID (AAID) for Android Devices.


Apple last year announced a number of new privacy enhancements with the launch of its latest software version, iOS 14.

With iOS 14, Apple is making changes to its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), giving users the option to consent to whether they would like to share their IDFA with apps. This change will impact how advertisers target users on iOS, as the potential loss of the IDFA will make accurate mobile measurement on iOS more challenging.


The update to the IDFA is expected to be released with iOS 14.5. There is no confirmed release date for 14.5 as yet, however the beta update was released to the public in February 2021. Therefore, we can expect this to be released to all iOS 14 users anytime soon from the end of March 2021.


The IDFA is important for advertisers and marketers as it allows them to accurately measure and attribute their advertising campaigns to specific channels, and to measure returns and optimize spend.

In addition, it allows advertisers to target users based on their past behaviour, e.g. those who may have installed an app, but not registered; an audience segment with a specific shopping category preference; or, users who have saved items in their wishlists.


Apple positions user privacy at the heart of its brand and has continuously made updates to ensure users have more control.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.”   Apple Inc.

With the IDFA specifically, the challenge was that these IDs are more persistent than cookies and could be linked to other data signals that could be used to create user profiles.


Previously users were able to limit the use of the IDFA via the iOS privacy settings, Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) feature or alternatively, by resetting the IDFA. However, with these new changes, IDFA tracking will become explicitly opt-in.

Users who choose to opt-out of sharing the IDFA will still be served ads across apps and sites. However, the ads served will not be personalized and are more likely to be irrelevant to the user.


Apps will now need to receive the user’s permission through Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) Framework to access their device’s IDFA. In order to request this, users will be shown an in-app prompt to allow tracking across apps and websites owned by other companies. (See screenshot below.)

The ATT Framework is a mechanism that presents an app-tracking authorization request to the user and provides the tracking authorization status.


Firstly, you will need to implement the AppTrackingTransparency Framework into your app. Once this is done, the user request can be initiated straightaway, when the user first launches the app, or later on in the user journey.


If the user clicks “Allow Tracking,” the app will then have permission to access the IDFA and track data about the user.

However, if the user requests not to be tracked, the identifier will then be nulled out, where a string of zeros is passed back to the app owner instead.

It is important to note that you will only get one chance to request access to the user’s IDFA, therefore it is vital that you request permission at the right time and in the right place on the user journey.


Poq has taken the steps to reflect the changes outlined by enabling clients to implement and manage the new IDFA opt-in requirements should they wish to capture the IDFA.

In addition, Poq has updated the Facebook and Google Firebase software development kits (SDKs) in our latest platform versions. These latest SDKs will enable our customers to continue running app campaigns across Facebook and Google with their integration into the SKAdnetwork.


Poq has made Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency available to all clients should they wish to integrate this into their app.

The AppTrackingTransparency Framework will enable iOS app owners to request permission to use the IDFA by presenting a standard system permission request to the user to obtain authorization. App owners will be able to customize the permission request message shown to users.

For app owners choosing not to use the ATT Framework, the IDFA will be nulled until permission is obtained.


The AppTrackingTransparency Framework is available to all customers on Poq’s platform version 18.1 and above. If you wish to use the AppTrackingTransparency Framework to request access and collect the IDFA, then please contact your Customer Success Manager.

Please note that, when you implement the AppTrackingTransparency Framework, you will be required to show the prompt. However, you will have the choice as to where the prompt is shown in the app and what message you would like to show. It is also important to note that you will only get one chance to request access to the IDFA.


If you are on a Poq platform version below 18.1 or you do not wish to implement the AppTrackingTransparency Framework, then your app will still be compliant with the new Apple Privacy Policies. All this means is that Apple will null the IDFA and you will not be able to use this ID for your advertising campaigns. In addition, no prompt will be shown to your users requesting access to the IDFA.


Please note Poq-powered apps do not serve third-party ads within their apps. Therefore, your app will not be affected by any changes required to be made here.

The updates required for your app are to:

  1. Capture the IDFA via the AppTrackingTransparency Framework.
  2. Update to the latest Google Analytics for Firebase in order to run Google Ad campaigns.
  3. Update to the latest Facebook SDK to run Facebook App campaigns.

App Measurement, Attribution and Targeting post-iOS 14

Yes, provided the media partner or network supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork, then you will be able to continue running mobile app campaigns for iOS directly with these media partners. Alternatively, you can integrate with a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) who will facilitate these integrations and who may support alternative attribution methods.


The SKAdNetwork was introduced by Apple in 2018 as an alternative way to measure and attribute app campaigns. With the release of iOS 14, Apple has updated this infrastructure so that app campaign attribution can still take place where the IDFA is not present. The SKAdNetwork will share conversion data with advertisers without revealing any user-level or device-level data, hence maintaining user privacy. Therefore, there is no need to send a prompt to the user and request their consent to the IDFA.

Ad Networks must register with Apple’s SKAdNetwork and support the Framework in order for advertisers to work with them.


The SKAdNetwork will impose app campaign measurement challenges that advertisers should be aware of. A few pain points advertisers should take note of include:

  1. The data from the SKAdNetwork is aggregated; therefore, you may face challenges with optimizing campaigns to a certain level of detail.
  2. You will be limited to the number of in-app conversions you are able to optimize to within your app.
  3. Advertisers will be limited to running a maximum of 100 campaigns with the SKAdNetwork. These may be limited further with each ad network. E.g., with Facebook each, app ID is limited to nine iOS 14 campaigns.
  4. Potential reporting delays.
  5. Increased ad fraud risk.
  6. Reduced visibility into key performance metrics.

To find out more about the SKAdNetwork limitations and how this may affect the campaigns you are running, we strongly suggest that you speak directly with your media partners or your MMP.


Google Firebase

Google Firebase SDKs do not access the IDFA. Analytics event logging and reporting are unaffected. However, there are some integrations with Google Analytics that need access to the IDFA which are impacted if the IDFA is not accessible, such as conversion measurement and attribution.

For more information on which Google Firebase products are affected where the IDFA is not accessible please visit: https://firebase.google.com/docs/ios/prepare-for-ios-14


The Firebase SDK library uses an app-instance identifier to identify a unique installation of the app. When using the SDK, an app-instance identifier gets generated at the app level. If the IDFA is unavailable, the Firebase SDK collects the Vendor Identifier and hence reports on in-app events.

If you have implemented the AppTrackingTransparency Framework on iOS and the user has consented to sending through the IDFA, this will then be passed and the Vendor Identifier will no longer be used.


There is no impact with the link opening functionality and being able to control the user’s journey to directing them to the app, Apple/Google Play Store or website depending on whether they have the app installed or not. However, attribution of your conversion events to these links via Google Analytics will be unavailable.


Google Adwords or Google App Campaigns currently do use the IDFA to measure and attribute the success of your app campaigns. Therefore, when Apple’s policy goes into effect, Google will no longer be able to use the IDFA unless you have implemented the AppTrackingTransparency Framework and the user has given consent for you to do so.


Google will use Apple’s SKAdNetwork to measure iOS campaigns. Please refer to the response to earlier question, “What is the SKAdNetwork?” to understand how Apple’s SKAdNetwork will work.

In order for advertisers to run Google campaigns they will need to ensure that the SKAdNetwork Framework is implemented into their apps. For Google specifically, this can be done by ensuring you have the latest version of Google Analytics for Firebase. This will automatically register your apps for SKAdnetwork attribution and help you measure ‘first open’ conversions for consented users.

For more information please visit: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10307993.

It is worthwhile noting here that Google will be relying exclusively on the SKAdNetwork and other methodologies for attribution and therefore will not require access to the IDFA.


Poq have implemented the following SDKs for Google Analytics for Firebase:

Platform v17.1.0+
Firebase (6.26.0) – July 28, 2020 – Fix for SKAdNetwork

Platform v18.1+
Firebase (6.32.2) – September 14, 2020 – Fix for IDFA access issue


Please note there will be no impact to your analytics tracking, as Firebase does not rely on the IDFA to collect this data. If you do not have the latest version of the SDK, then you will be restricted from running your Google App Campaigns and attributing your conversions.

If you would like to upgrade your app to the latest platform version in order to run Google Campaigns please contact your Customer Success Manager.


Facebook

As a result of Apple’s new iOS 14 policy requirements, businesses will be limited in their ability to measure the performance of iOS 14 app install campaigns on Facebook. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.

Therefore, when Apple’s policy goes into effect, Facebook will no longer be able to use the IDFA unless you have implemented the AppTrackingTransparency Framework and the user has given consent for you to do so.


For iOS 14 app install campaigns in iOS 14 ad accounts, Facebook will need to rely on data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API to report on mobile app installs and other app events.

Please note there will be limitations to the Facebook App campaigns you will be able to run and report on.

For more information please visit:

Reporting updates for the Apple iOS 14 release https://www.facebook.com/business/help/584603712214119?id=428636648170202

In order for advertisers to run Facebook app campaigns, you will need to ensure that the SKAdNetwork Framework is implemented into your apps with the latest Facebook SDK (iOS Version 8.1 and above or version 9 or above, if you use Facebook login). Once you are running the latest version of the Facebook SDK in your app, you will need to configure your event configuration schema in the Events Manager.

For more information please visit:

Facebook SDK for iOS, App Events API and Mobile Measurement Partners updates for Apple, iOS 14 Requirements: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/2750680505215705?id=428636648170202

Configure Apple’s SKAdNetwork in Facebook Events Manager: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/670955636925518

Please note there may be additional steps may be required with regards to your Facebook pixel and verifying your website domain, which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/126789292407737?id=1205376682832142


Poq have implemented the following SDKs for Google Analytics for Firebase:

  • Platform v18.1+
  • Facebook (9.0.0) – January 19, 2021

Please note, if you are not on the required platform version with the latest Facebook SDK, then you will not be able to measure, attribute, optimize or serve personalized ad campaigns on Facebook properties.

If you would like to upgrade your app to the latest platform version in order to run Google Campaigns please contact your Customer Success Manager.


AppsFlyer

Poq has recently announced a partnership with Mobile Measurement Partner, AppsFlyer. The AppsFlyer SDK integrated into the Poq platform on version 19 and above is fully compliant with the Apple IDFA requirements.

Please look out for upcoming information on how working with a Mobile Measurement Partner will help you measure and attribute your app campaigns in the post-iOS 14 world.


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