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Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) and its future after iOS 14.5

March 8, 2021
Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) and its future after iOS 14.5

LAT, which stands for Limit Ad Tracking, has been in the spotlight since Apple announced the privacy changes coming to iOS 14. In this post, we’ll unfold LAT and why it matters when IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) isn’t available anymore. We will also be sharing some important LAT insights based on Chartboost data.

From LAT to ATT

Limit Ad Tracking is a privacy setting on iOS that has been around since the release of iOS 10 in 2016. A user had to actively go into their iPhone settings under privacy to turn on LAT, and when activated, IDFA isn’t being shared with third parties.  

With the release of iOS 14, the LAT setting is instead replaced with the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Framework. The ATT framework requires all apps to ask if the user gives consent to be tracked through a pop-up prompt, and only if they select ‘Allow Tracking’ will the IDFA be shared. The prediction is that most iOS traffic will not have IDFA available, so we need to find new buying strategies in identifying valuable users for mobile marketers. 

Buying on LAT/non-IDFA traffic

While LAT itself is gone, the concept of having no access to IDFA under LAT is the same as under the ATT framework. Therefore, testing buying on LAT traffic and comparing its performance against IDFA traffic has been a big focus for marketers and advertising partners in the past months. Through these tests we can learn about how to approach the IDFA-less mobile advertising ecosystem and keep providing strong performing mobile advertising solutions to marketers. 

We’ve worked closely with our DSPs to test and scale bidding on LAT inventory in the past months. On the Chartboost Exchange, we’ve seen ad spend on LAT traffic increase by more than 50% between July 2020 and February 2021. 

LAT traffic trends

As Chartboost is one of the top integrated mobile advertising SDK in the market we dug into our mobile app inventory data to look at the growth of LAT impressions in the last nine months. Between June 2020 to February 2021, we can see an increase in LAT impressions going from 17% to over 30% of all global impressions on iOS. 

When looking at the percentage of LAT impressions on our top four countries by impression volume, we found that all of them follow the same global trend.

Let’s take a look at the average eCPM of LAT impressions for our top four countries in the past nine months. Overall the eCPM on LAT traffic has been as competitive as non-LAT traffic with comparable eCPMs, especially in the last two months as we see marketers testing and optimizing on LAT traffic. We encourage more marketers to start testing LAT vs non-LAT user acquisition strategies as we approach the privacy changes coming with iOS 14.5.

The future of LAT

We have yet to see how big a share of impressions that won’t have IDFA available. For the unforeseeable future, non-IDFA traffic or LAT traffic will remain a key buying strategy for Chartboost and many of our marketers, buyers, and demand partners. Buying strategies on LAT traffic will be further optimized with contextual signals to ensure that marketers and buyers will continue to find valuable users on iOS 14 and achieve their expected ROI. 

We encourage app publishers to review their waterfall pricing with their ad monetization partners to ensure maximum fill on their iOS impressions, and marketers to start testing buying strategies on LAT versus non-LAT traffic to compare campaign performance and gain insights before the release of iOS 14.5.