Apple's Privacy Framework Already Affecting Downloads, Login Metrics, Measurement

Some 40% of consumers agree with the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a random device identifier assigned by Apple to a user's device. They like the idea that it will give them the option to opt-in to being tracked. Only 22% of marketers feel the same way. 

Most consumers participating in an AppsFlyer survey were not fully aware of Apple’s planned changes. But when presented with the opt-in scenario they are likely to see when opening an app, they favor Apple’s privacy move and are alarmed at the idea of being “tracked” online.

Marketers believe consumers will allow tracking when ads are less repetitive and become higher-quality. 

AppsFlyer data shows that 83% of marketers acknowledge that the industry has done a poor job of educating consumers about the value of tracking.

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, scheduled to roll out in early spring 2021, is expected to significantly impact the mobile app ecosystem.

AppsFlyer began seeing changes to its Performance Index last year. The company began to see the initial impact of Apple's privacy moves in the second half of 2020.

“The share of iOS in the non-organic install pie has dropped by 20%, while its share in the organic installs pie has remained unchanged, as did the number of apps running campaigns on the platform,” according to the report. “For comparison, Android’s NOI share showed the opposite trend, increasing by 6% during the same period.”

The data -- pulled between July and December -- represents 29 billion installs from 580 media networks with a minimum of 50,000 attributed installs, as well as 16,000 apps, and the opening of 60 billion apps.

The data shows that a 30% jump in the cost per install (CPI) on iOS in the second half of 2020 is the main reason for the non-organic install (NOI) drop.

Android’s cost increased by only 10%. Two main factors drove the increase in media cost for iOS users. The share of users who enabled Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) increased 32% in the second half compared with the first half.

AppsFlyer believes this could be a result of increased discussion around user privacy and specifically, Apple's ATT framework, introduced in June.

The second factor points to COVID-19. The pandemic led to an acceleration in  digital transformation as more traditional brands entered the app market, while existing app players ran aggressive marketing campaigns of their own. A surge in demand followed, particularly in iOS strongholds like North America and Western Europe.

“With less supply because of LAT, and more demand because of COVID effects, CPIs spiked, leaving marketers with far fewer installs for the same budget,” according to the report. “For example, CPI hit $3 in North America and $2.3 in Western Europe in H2, leading to a 25% drop in the number of apps with more than 1 million iOS-attributed non-organic installs in H2 compared to H1. On Android, there was a 7% increase during the same time frame.”

Despite uncertainty, Apple Search Ads held its strong position in the iOS global rankings, No. 2 in the power ranking and No. 3 in volume. The media jumped 34% in AppFlyer’s iOS app install chart as many others lost ground.

Non-gaming apps drove its success. It took the No. 2 position in the global iOS power ranking, compared to a No. 6 position in gaming, despite an impressive second-place power ranking in Hardcore games. 

ASA landed at No. 3 in iOS Life & Culture in all regions, dominating rankings in North America with a No. 3 position in Lifestyle, Photography, Social, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, and Utility.

In the IAP Index -- which ranks media sources based on their ability to deliver a high share of paying users -- ASA ranked No. 3 in the global power ranking and No. 5 in the volume ranking, proving its ability to deliver a high percentage of top-quality paying users. On the category level, it came in at No. 2 for Role Playing, Simulation, Shopping, and Social.




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