Advertisers banding together to adapt to Apple's iOS privacy plans

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An alliance of advertising and marketing firms has announced plans to work without Apple's previous IDFA, and adapt to the forthcoming App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.

As Apple prepares to introduce its privacy-focused App Tracking Transparency for iOS users, marketing company Liftoff has announced an education alliance to help companies move to the new system. Alongside other marketing and advertising platforms, Liftoff plans to instruct firms on how to work with Apple to get key advertising data.

"Apple's coming policy change is one of the biggest shifts in mobile marketing in recent years, and our community-minded effort gives marketers the tools they need to navigate that shift seamlessly," says Dennis Mink, vice president of marketing for Liftoff.

The company is bundling webinars and what it calls explainers, under the banner "No IDFA? No Problem."

"With expertise from supply-side, demand-side, and measurement," he continues, "we aim to ensure a smooth and successful transition into this new era, with the assurance that marketing can and will continue to be just as effective on iOS in this more privacy-centric manner."

Liftoff's "Post-IDFA Alliance" has launched with five major partners in the mobile advertising business. They include Fyber, Chartboost, and InMobi.

"[We] fully support the spirit of the IDFA changes," said InMobi's Kunal Nagpal. "That said, we know this is a large shift for the industry and the Post-IDFA Alliance will play a key part in the education required to make this transition seamless."

Liftoff has not detailed the advice and training it plans to give advertisers. However, one approach it has previously promoted is the use of what it calls "blended LAT traffic." LAT is Limit Ad Tracking, and effectively can provide information about what proportion of users have opted out of tracking.

Other firms have used LAT as a way to determine which users are most disengaged from advertising, meaning they can also determine which ones are more likely to respond to targeted advertising.

Marketing companies have previously relied on Apple's Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) as a way of learning enough about a user to deliver personalized advertising. IDFA will continue, but from the forthcoming iOS 14 update, Apple will ask users to grant permission. It will ask before launching any app that uses IDFA, and users will have to specify their consent for each app.

Beyond what users see on their devices, Apple is also encouraging the advertising industry to move to its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and SKAdNetwork frameworks. Apple's Craig Federighi has said that SKAdNetwork, in particular, will help advertisers — while also helping better protect the privacy of users.

Liftoff and partners are promoting their education program under the banner of
Liftoff and partners are promoting their education program under the banner of "No IDFA? No Problem."

Apple's changes to ad tracking were announced at WWDC in June 2020, but delayed over what Federighi called technical concerns. The feature has made its first appearance in the beta of iOS 14.5, meaning it should go public shortly.

Google has already announced that it is adapting its apps, and working with partners, to use the new frameworks. Facebook is protesting Apple's change, to the extent of reportedly considering legal action.