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Targeting Best Practices for Advertisers in a Post-IDFA World

March 2, 2021
Targeting Best Practices for Advertisers in a Post-IDFA World

With Apple expected to enforce the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework beginning in March 2021 with the release of iOS 14.5, it’s expected that advertisers will no longer have access to IDFA for a major chunk of iOS users. So how can advertisers still reach iOS users – nearly half of smartphone users in the U.S. and many other major markets – with ads that are relevant and drive measurable results? 

Here are four options:

1. Anchor on KPIs

For any media campaign, there are three key dimensions buyers plan around: targeting capabilities, attribution, and creative/ad performance metrics. IDFA changes do not affect all three equally.

Targeting by IDFA and IDFA-based audiences will not be possible for users without their explicit consent.

Multi-touch attribution (MTA) and cross-device campaigns will also break because of the lack of IDFA.

Buyers can still run view-through attribution (VTA) on campaigns if they are running app install campaigns and using SKAdNetwork for attribution.

Advertisers should then turn towards SSPs and DSPs that can provide data-driven mechanisms to hit their upper or mid-funnel KPIs. InMobi can also set up advertisers with deal IDs that package inventory based on historical KPIs that also match their campaign briefs.

2. Use Contextual Targeting

Apps and app categories (e.g. sports apps, news apps, casual games, etc.) can be a great proxy for user behavior and preferences. Advertisers can request curated inventory packages that only pass on ad requests matching their user profile based on supply parameters like app, app category, network, operating system, device hardware version, etc. Advertisers can then target these deal IDs to ensure they are only reaching audiences most relevant to them, thus increasing the probability of hitting their KPIs.

3. Use Universal IDs for Traffic with User Consent

Even after iOS 14, there will still be a world of users who will provide their consent for personalized ads and would have been sharing personal data like hashed emails, hashed phone numbers, publisher-generated IDs, etc. Universal ID (UID) partners convert these first-party signals into IDs on the supply (publisher/SSP) side and then pass them upstream to the demand (advertiser/DSP) side. Advertisers could then target these users using these UIDs on open exchanges or in private marketplace (PMP) deals depending on what is supported by their DSP and SSP partners. Advertisers can use UIDs to integrate their in-app media buying more seamlessly into their omnichannel campaign setup.

4. Alternative Targeting Approaches

In the changing world of identity around mobile apps, buyers should consider alternative targeting approaches like audience targeting at an aggregate level to add more targeting levers to their media buying. 

In one such alternative at InMobi, we are using our SDK coverage and depth of data to create a residential graph for buyers to target users and audience segments at an aggregate level (i.e. household or address). A residential graph can, for example, help retail advertisers target store visitors and affluent households. It can also help telecom advertisers can target households using competition products, as another example. 

The deprecation of IDFA in the iOS ecosystem coming up will alter how in-app programmatic targeting functions. Nevertheless, advertisers, publishers and their partners have a number of targeting options available to them in the future.