Mobile advertisers will likely never forget the summer of 2021. Until then, Apple enabled them to track specific user activity on iOS 14+ with IDFA (Identifier for Advertiser), which made retargeting both easier and more efficient.
However, understanding customer demand for greater privacy, Apple revoked the option, leaving many advertisers feeling lost. Starting this summer, Apple ATT (App Tracking Transparency) asks users whether they’re interested in sharing their information with app owners and advertisers. Beforehand, users had to make an effort to protect their privacy, and many weren’t aware of their options. Now, when the option is presented to them with a simple pop-up message, many customers choose “no” on the Apple ATT.
Advertisers, therefore, find themselves wasting precious dollars, as their ads for one gender reach another, and the overall interest and intent targeting becomes significantly less accurate.
But thankfully, advertising on Apple’s iOS 14+ devices isn’t the only option. In this new ecosystem, smart advertisers are diversifying their investment utilizing DSPs as well.
How DSPs Help Advertisers Generate Results in a Post IDFA Ecosystem
DSP stands for Demand Side Platform. It’s an automated, programmatic, algorithm-driven media buying platform. As we previously shared, DSPs calculate the best bid to get you the impressions they need at the moment they become available.
They’re not connected to your usual big players, like Facebook and TikTok (more on why that’s a benefit in a bit), but to a variety of other media sources and exchanges. They’re not meant to replace the big players, either, so this isn’t a suggestion to stop advertising on Apple’s iOS 14+ devices in a post IDFA ecosystem.
Instead, we recommend tapping into DSPs to expand your media buying toolkit. Often, DSPs enable advertisers to utilize even small budgets more efficiently across channels and geographies.
1) Diversify Your Ad Investment
Before privacy concerns were addressed and Apple ATT was launched, advertisers were encouraged to invest larger budgets in iOS14+ devices. However, as massive of an audience as Apple has, people using iOS14+ devices only comprise a portion of the market. Like we’ve discussed Facebook and Google, there are more baskets for your advertising dollar eggs.
Diversifying your ad spend across the channels DSPs have to offer will actually help you reach a larger audience. You still get access to very high-quality inventory. You show your audience you care about their privacy by advertising on channels that protect it. And, just as importantly, you protect your own user acquisition safety.
When you do that, you stop relying exclusively (or mostly) on one media channel. As we’ve seen this time and many times in the past, a channel can change the rules on you whenever it decides, or whenever regulation decides for it.
A post IDFA world is a challenging one for sure, but it also holds hidden opportunities for advertisers who are open to discovering them.
2) Overcome Platform Advertising Fatigue
As efficient as IDFA was for advertisers, constantly advertising to iOS 14+ customers presented another challenge on top of privacy concerns. It’s called advertising fatigue. We often see it with clients who dedicate their entire budget to the same big platform or two, such as Facebook and Instagram.
On the one hand, members on these platforms see the same advertisers over and over again. Unless you surprise them with truly outstanding creative, it gradually becomes more and more challenging to gain their attention and clicks.
On the other hand, after a while of focusing so much of their budget and effort mostly on one platform, advertisers maximize their reach. Their ads show up over and over again in front of these fatigued audiences, without drawing in new ones, who might be a great fit, but hang out elsewhere online.
It’s kinda like going to the same beloved grocery store in a small town. You know the people, you love their products, but when you finally make it to the supermarket in the big city, you find yourself with an almost endless stream of exciting products that could be a great fit, but you never would have discovered them if you hadn’t ventured outside your comfort zone of daily habits.
3) Actively Discover the Most Profitable User Acquisition Channels for Your Specific App
Just because Apple ATT leads to less data doesn’t mean a post IDFA ecosystem is completely data-less. In fact, that’s one of the reasons it’s recommended to test out DSPs. DSPs tend to offer transparency – you see exactly which media source led to higher acquisition in a more cost-effective way. The more you use them, the more data you gain, the more comfortable you get making experiments, and the better results your bidding provides.
With DSPs, it’s very easy to conduct user acquisition experiments across media sources. The idea is to do incremental testing. Turn off media sources, and turn on just the one you want to test. Once a media source performs well, turn on an additional one.
It’s all done from one platform, so you don’t need to learn every channel’s own dashboard from scratch each time. This makes it easier to focus on performance, and you gradually optimize the unique channel combination that works for your specific app.
A Post IDFA Ecosystem is an Opportunity for Growth
As Apple ATT changes privacy reaches and advertisers adjust to a post IDFA ecosystem, it makes perfect sense to feel overwhelmed and take some time to process the changes. Yet it’s equally important to remember this isn’t the end of the game, nor is it the change that will stand in your way of user acquisition and app growth.
First, this change only impacts iOS 14+ user targeting – a large audience, no doubt, yet not the only audience around. The rest of the world continues as usual, at least for now.
As hard as it is, it’s an opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone and test out other platforms and media sources. DSPs give you access to data, larger and newer audiences, plus the ability to cook up your own unique mix of optimized user acquisition channels.
As you’ve witnessed, the only constant in our industry is change. But if you start now, next time there’ll be a big change like this, you’ll be prepared. Maybe you’ll even be ahead of the game.