Apple confirmed that it will begin requiring developers to use its App Tracking Transparency framework to request users’ permission to track them or to access their device's advertising identifier on Monday, April 26.
The changes to its Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) will take effect with the release of iOS 14.5.
The blog post tells developers that when submitting their app for review, any other form of tracking such as name or email address must be declared in the product page’s App Store Privacy Information section and performed only if permission is granted through AppTrackingTransparency.
Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company and GM of Watson Advertising, had a feeling that Apple would make the announcement this week, based on Tuesday’s hardware event. “You need new software when you roll out new hardware, so it makes sense,” she said. “You never know what Apple’s going to do.”
Bachstein said all publishers "get one change for consumers to opt in, so the message is extremely important, and it’s a dangerous time to rely on instinct, because you only get that one opportunity.”
The industry must ask consumers to opt in. In turn, companies can keep the apps and the data they see for free. Free apps are underwritten by advertising.
“Publishers shouldn’t be hasty in getting the prompts out there,” she said. “We’ve been watching and testing our messages, and learning, and testing again.”
Bachstein also suggests that if a meaningful percentage of revenue comes from the company’s iOS mobile app, publishers should put diversification at the top of the to-do list. The Weather Channel started its subscription business 18 months ago, and the company is on its way to one million paid subscribers.
Additional ad-targeting changes are expected in the months ahead for the ad industry, so this is an opportunity to create first-party relationships, and then deepen the value of those relationships.