Even before Apple’s updated app tracking feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5, the advertising industry has been waiting with bated breath. The update means mobile apps now have to ask users who have upgraded to iOS 14.5 for permission to gather tracking data. The wait is over: the first opt-in numbers released by Flurry Analytics clearly demonstrate that privacy is taking over.
Flurry, owned by Verizon Media, is used in more than 1 million mobile apps providing aggregated insights across 2 billion mobile devices per month. It is collecting and updating data daily on the app tracking opt-in rates, looking at the approximately 2.5 million daily mobile active users who have the new operating system so far. Curious to check the current status? Read on:
- Only 15% opt-in rate worldwide since iOS 14.5 update. Flurry has data on 5.3 million global iOS 14.5 users. In the US, only 6% of US daily users with iOS 14.5 have opted in for app tracking so far. That effectively means the vast majority of iPhone users – 85% worldwide (94% in the US respectively) – leave their app tracking disabled on iOS 14.5.
- Ad investment accelerates for Android: The game is changing as spend on ads delivered via Apple devices has seen muted growth since the company’s push into data privacy, per WARC Data analysis of AppsFlyer data. In the week ending May 9, 2021, investment in Apple grew by only 6% (compared to Android devices where it grew by 41%, with 6.5 times faster growth than the one for iOS devices).
- First-party data likely to become even more important: Most iOS users reject application tracking, leaving advertisers with less precision in their ad targeting efforts. This may worsen in the future, as currently only a small number of users have installed iOS 14.5. As a result, platforms managing first-party data potentially have an added advantage over competitors.
- Facebook’s response: Opt in or pay. Facebook is adding a notice within its iOS app telling users the information it collects from other apps and websites can “help keep Facebook free of charge” – a tactic running counter to Facebook’s long-standing tagline which indicated the company was “free and always will be.” When inquired, Facebook refers to the notices as “educational screens,” saying they provided more details about how the company uses data for personalized ads.
- No workaround: If developers try to get around the opt-in requirement, or try to replace the IDFA with another piece of identifying information such as an email address, that app will be considered in violation of the opt-in requirement. The rules also apply to Apple’s own apps.
Flurry intends to update its figures every weekday for the daily opt-in rate as well as the share of users that apps cannot ask to track, both globally and in the US. At SmartAd, we are independent of any app tracking data as users willingly provide us with their personal data. Stay tuned for further insights on the privacy subject and keep following our Marketing Bites in order to build your top-notch marketing strategy with our solution.