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Advertisers weigh moving to Android as iOS 14 privacy features loom

Credit: Apple

Citing uncertainty over Apple's iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature, some marketing firms are choosing to spend on Android advertising instead.

Ahead of Apple's forthcoming App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5, advertisers and marketing firms are trying to determine how much this privacy feature will alter their income. Some are reportedly moving their ad spend to Android, at least for the short term, while all are waiting to see the real-world impact of the change.

According to marketing research company Digiday, advertisers expect that costs will go up, but they are not certain how much profits will go down.

"Everyone is nervous about the future and how the performance of their advertising is going to take a hit whenever Apple's changes do arrive," Playbook Media's Bryan Karas said to Digiday. "I wouldn't say anyone is trying to frontload budgets or make big commitments to another platform because there's so much uncertainty."

Nonetheless, some advertisers are reportedly turning to Android. They claim that this is to prepare for the change coupled with a response to how iOS advertising may be declining.

"Because there are a lot of unknowns around the impact of Apple's move, some marketers are allocating budgets to places where they have more control over measurement, i.e Android, Ido Raz of advertising company Bigabid told Digiday. "It's more like budgets are leaning more toward Android."

"[Publishers] that used to be iOS-first are starting to reevaluate the importance of their Android apps, even in markets like the U.S. [that] is historically iOS heavy," said Inmobi's Sergio Serra.

However, other app monetization firms argue that after an initial dip in advertising profits, firms will adopt Apple's new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and SKAdNetwork frameworks. These are the alternatives to the iOS IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) that Apple's Craig Federighi says will benefit both users and advertisers.

IDFA allowed advertisers to gain enough information about users to help with targeting ads to them, while still giving privacy protection. ATT will not replace IDFA, but rather will mean that users will have to positively give their consent to be tracked.