Two months ago, the final version of the Apple iOS 14.5 update was released, and along with it the famous App Tracking Transparency mechanism. In short, it allows Apple users to refuse to have their personal data (tastes, consumption habits, places visited, interests) collected and used by social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Whastapp). This mechanism imposes a strong constraint to data collection. Now that the ATT has been available for several months, a report by the Post-IDFA Alliance shows that advertisers are shifting their spending patterns and that the “prices for mobile ads targeting iOS users have dropped, while prices targeting Android users have increased”.
Why is it the case ?
“Digital advertisers say they have lost much of the granular data that made mobile ads on iOS devices effective and justified their prices. In recent months, ad-buyers have deployed their iOS ad spending in much less targeted ways than were previously possible, marketers and ad-tech companies say.” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Indeed, advertisers and publishers make money through targeted ads on (social media) platforms. Now that Apple’s ATT allows users to opt out of the tracking system, the amount and granularity of data collected (and thus of advertising opportunities and efficiency) have significantly declined. In June 2020, Facebook conducted its own study revealing that a loss of the ability to run targeted ads would result in “a drop of more than 50% in publishers’ revenues”.
As a consequence, advertisers are left with no choice but to target Android users rather than iOS users, leading to an increase in prices for mobile ads targeting Android users (as there is more demand). “Android ad prices are now about 30% higher than ad prices for iOS users.” explains Andy Taylor, a research director.
To make up for that, Facebook recently sent an email to advertisers, saying it was “adding the capability to place contextual ads—which consider factors like time of day and the app’s content—as a way to continue providing relevant ads when certain identifiers aren’t available.”
Once again, it seems that it is the well-known trade off privacy/performance which is at stake…
 Adorno, José. “Apple’s ATT Enforcement Pushes Advertisers to Android Instead.” 9to5Mac, 5 July 2021, 9to5mac.com/2021/07/05/apple-app-tracking-transparency-enforcement-pushes-advertisers-android/.
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