Apple ID for Advertisers
Apple's ID for Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique random device identifier which Apple generates and assigns to every device. It is intended to be used by advertisers to deliver personalized ads and attribute ad interactions for ad retargeting. Users can opt-out of IDFA via the "Limit Ad Tracking" (LAT) setting (and an estimated 20% do). Starting with iOS 14.5, Apple plans to allow users to decide whether to opt-in or out of IDFA sharing on a per-app basis.
Limit Ad TrackingEdit
In iOS 10, Apple introduced "Limit Ad Tracking" setting for users who do not wish to be tracked by advertising networks. If the setting is enabled the system returns a default all-zero id for that device. As of December 2020, it's estimated that approximately 20% of users turn on this setting.
In the spring of 2021, Apple plans to restrict access to IDFA and require websites and apps to obtain an explicit permission from users before being granted access to IDFA. As of January 2021, users and developers can test this change by installing a recent iOS 14 beta.
In July 2020, Facebook stated that this transparency requirement will likely hurt their advertising targeting. Facebook said that these changes "may render [their tracking] so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14" and Facebook apps on iOS 14, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and others will not collect IDFA on iOS 14.
In early September, Apple postponed these restrictions until early 2021.
On December 15, 2020, Facebook launched "Speak Up for Small Businesses" campaign against Apple. In this campaign, Facebook purchased full-page advertisements in newspapers and created a web page claiming Facebook tries to help small businesses. This campaign became controversial even within Facebook itself, because some employees thought Facebook was "trying to justify doing a bad thing by hiding behind people with a sympathetic message."
On January 27, 2021, Google announced that when the new requirement goes into effect, a "handful" of Google apps will stop collecting IDFAs (and thus the apps will avoid displaying a prompt for allowing tracking user activity).
On March 18, 2021, Facebook changed its stance. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, claimed that these changes might even strengthen Facebook position "if Apple’s changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on [Facebook's] platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of [Facebook's] platforms".
On April 1, 2021, Apple App Store started rejecting apps which used Adjust SDK and attempted to circumvent App Tracking Transparency rules via device fingerprinting (collecting device and usage data to create a unique identifier in order to track the user). On April 2, Adjust removed the offending code and app developers might pass App Store review after updating to the new Adjust SDK version.
- "Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) | Meaning". www.adjust.com. Adjust GmbH. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
roughly 20% of iOS users cannot be tracked using the IDFA because they have enabled LAT.
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