1st anniversary for Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT)

Apple launches a study on the subject and AppsFlyer publishes a report, ATT – One Year On, a detailed analysis of the impact of ATT on mobile marketing.

App Tracking Transparency is a feature implemented by Apple to protect the privacy of iOS users. Since its entry into force on April 26, 2021 with the iOS 14.5 update, mobile applications must ask users for their permission to be able to track their browsing for advertising purposes through a pop-up that appears when downloading the application. New privacy updates are planned for iOS 15 and Google should eventually introduce a similar tool. Going forward, it will be critical for app publishers to adopt privacy-compliant tools to build trust with its users.

While a new Apple-funded study released this week aims to show the impact app tracking transparency has had on the mobile advertising industry. The study claims that app tracking transparency has not benefited Apple’s own advertising business, and “Apple provides greater privacy options in its own apps than required by ATT.” The study was conducted by Kinshuk Jerath, a business professor in the marketing division of Columbia Business School.

It seems that the main purpose of this new study, which was again funded by Apple, is to dispel some of the narratives that have been circulating about the impact of app tracking transparency. This is a rebuttal of claims that some developers have been forced to spend more on App Store search ads to counter third-party app install advertising becoming less effective due to transparency policies application monitoring. The study also says Apple’s Search Ads business represents a “small percentage of global mobile advertising” and is unlikely to have “benefited significantly” from app tracking transparency. According to 9to5mac, this study attempts (without any hard data) to dispel the fact that App Store search ads have benefited from the transparency of app tracking.

ATT One Year On

According to the AppsFlyer report*, one year after the implementation of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, the rate of consent to advertising tracking on iOS in France is 35% higher than that of other Western European countries. Its adoption has become widespread, with 80% of applications implementing this feature by informing their users. In addition, acceptance rates have also increased over the past year. Indeed, AppsFlyer data shows that, month after month, of the users who received the invitation, 1 in 2 pressed the “Allow” button.

While application publishers and mobile marketers initially worried about the risk this invitation represented, a year later it seems that the display of this proposal represents many more advantages than disadvantages in terms of user experience. The result is renewed confidence in iOS and a shift in mindset that puts privacy first, without compromising the user experience. In France, the acceptance rates are 51% for mobile games and 54% for other applications, ie a consent rate 35% higher than that of other Western European countries.

  • Consent is 30% higher in developing countries, as users in developed markets are more sensitive to data privacy. Sensitivity to data privacy is therefore significantly higher in developed markets, with the exception of France.
  • Non-organic installs (NOI) of iOS grew 7% year over year, while Android grew 4x faster over the same period. The ability to measure non-organic installs on iOS has improved significantly over the past six months with the adoption of SKAdNetwork. Despite an initial dip, NOIs on iOS have recovered and increased by 7% year-over-year (Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021). Android is the winner of this feature’s arrival on iOS, with a 28% spike in non-organic installs year-over-year.
  • After an initial slump in the third quarter of 2021, iOS app publisher budgets have increased by 65% ​​over the past six months, due to the rising cost of media buying. That said, budgets remain 9% lower than the previous year.
  • A drop of just 3% in the cost per install (CPI) for iOS between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, after a 58% increase between the first and third quarters of 2021. The initial spike in 2021 was due to the substantial increase in the price of Media Spaces on iOS, and this price spike drove budgets up despite lower non-organic installs. While the CPI jumped 15% in the third quarter and another 20% in the fourth quarter of 2021, the first quarter of 2022 finally saw the stabilization of the CPI.
  • A 30% drop in the IDFA (Identifier for advertisers) rate on average between the display of the ATT message on the 1st launch and the display two hours later. Applications control when the ATT pop-up is displayed and this can have a significant impact on consent rates. AppsFlyer’s data clearly shows that consent is highest when users first launch an app, likely among other in-app notifications shown to users upon launch

*AppsFlyer’s ATT – One Year On report analyzed a total of 4.9 billion non-organic iOS app installs, 4,600 iOS apps that implemented ATT with at least 100 sessions over 7 days, and 2,600 iOS apps with at least 5,000 installs attributed by SKAdNetwork per quarter.

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