Mobvista IDFA iOS 14.5
April 22, 2021

Looking beyond IDFA: where next for mobile advertisers?

It appears that we are now only days or weeks away from these much-discussed changes to the mobile advertising landscape becoming reality.

Cassie Cheng

Marketing & Communications Director

The mobile advertising industry has been in a state of uncertainty ever since Apple’s announcement of its intention to radically reshape its approach to user privacy by deprecating IDFA tracking. 

Apple announced  on its special April 20th online event that  iOS 14.5 will begin rolling out the week of April 26thIt appears that we are now only days or weeks away from these much-discussed changes to the mobile advertising landscape becoming reality.

With so many months without clarity on how alternative means of targeting and attribution will work, developers have done what they can to plan ahead. Whenever it finally happens there will undoubtedly be a period of upheaval; we don’t know whether it will be bigger or smaller than expected.

Apple’s move is just the latest in a long list of industry changes that have prompted mobile advertising companies to develop new ways to create and deliver effective ads. Ultimately, Apple’s move could speed up the shift towards more transparent advertising practices.

Advertisers and publishers must understand how the IDFA changes will affect them and plan accordingly. We’ve summarised what companies need to do here.

But what about the day after Apple’s changes finally come into effect? Advertisers will still need to reach the right audiences with great advertising campaigns, and publishers will still need to get the best returns from their ad inventory. 

If you’ve not already done so, now is the time to plan ahead and refine your mobile marketing strategies. We’ve highlighted four key areas that should help any company to get ahead of its competitors.

  1. With less reliance on user-level targeting, audience insights will be key

The loss of IDFA targeting will make it much harder for companies to scale their UA campaigns. If you don’t have a grip on exactly who your target audiences are, their likes, dislikes and motivations, you will risk wasting money advertising at the wrong people.

The key to this is using quality data. Spend time really understanding your existing audience to build really detailed profiles of who you are targeting, and use the best possible first-party data from companies like GameAnalytics as much as possible.

There are already some moves by ad networks to build up audience profiles using contextual data as a way to address the loss of IDFA data. Expect to see more focus on ways to gather audience data and insights in ways that are privacy-compliant.

Having good data has always been important, but post-IDFA, it will become doubly so. 

  1. Make your apps and services as good as they can be

You might think that this should be obvious, as ultimately, it’s a great experience that gets consumers to invest their time and money. But you’d be surprised how often improvements can be made even in successful, well-established apps.

A starting point is localisation; is your app or service properly localised for your audiences in different countries? Even small changes to things like UI, visual design and branding can make huge differences. Localisation also means ensuring your UA campaigns reflect each audience’s preferences and are using the proper channels to reach them. What might work well in one market is likely not to work everywhere.

Because app marketing is always adapting to new technologies and trends, there are always ways to experiment and improve. 

  1. Concentrate on your ad creative

It’s long been proven that the better your ads are, the more clicks and installs they generate. 

Improving your ad creatives is probably the most straightforward improvement you can make and will show the fastest results.

More dynamic formats like video and playable ads have been shown to outperform other formats and offer compelling ROI. Even in non-dynamic ads, you can improve response rates through experimentation and by making sure you have the right calls to action in place.

The team at our Mindworks creative studio are experts in creating ads that deliver outstanding results. Their newest tool, Playturbo, lets publishers quickly and easily create their own high performing playable ads, automating the process of testing and iterating the ads to optimise their performance. 

  1. Look for opportunities in new and emerging media channels

One of the most significant impacts of the IDFA change will be advertisers’ inability to leverage the vast amount of data collected by walled garden platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This is because Apple’s new ATT transparency rules also affect the precision targeting these platforms rely on. For example, Facebook’s Audience Network (FAN) uses IDFA to reach Facebook users in other mobile apps. The impact on FAN is so significant that it may no longer be viable.

But all is not lost. New media channels emerge all the time, with Gen Z preferring newer platforms like TikTok or Twitch over those used by their parents. Using your own quality data and building a more diverse mixture of media for your campaigns via tools like Nativex’s XMP, you can still reach your target audiences. 

The suggestion to look towards smaller, more niche media channels also applies to social media influencers. Whilst top influencers can attract huge audiences, the high fees they demand can be unrealistic for all but the biggest brands. Influencers who specialise may have fewer followers, but the ones they do have are highly engaged and loyal. So it can be more effective to spread your budget across several smaller influencers than bet everything on just one. We go into more detail about these micro-influencers here.

The future of mobile advertising remains bright

With all the uncertainty created by Apple’s changes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Apple is not anti-personalisation, but rather pro user privacy. Nobody is looking for a return to intrusive, untargeted banner ads, but instead a better balance between personalisation and privacy.

At Mobvista we are committed to building the tools and technologies to enable positive advertising experiences –  for consumers and advertisers. Our portfolio of companies brings specialist knowledge and advanced technology together, meaning that whatever the challenges our customers face, we can help them. That includes helping navigate alternative approaches to personalisation, tracking and targeting that have user experience and privacy at their heart.

With such a vibrant global app economy, there are many thousands of amazing apps that deserve to be discovered. Whether gaining a deep understanding of how an app is performing through data analytics, or the ability to manage ad campaigns through a single platform, we are constantly working to create the tools that marketers need. 

We have always believed that better technology will deliver a better advertising ecosystem, one that strikes the right balance between advertiser and consumer. That is the vision that continues to drive everyone in the Mobvista group of companies today.