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Some advertisers are spending more on Android since Apple’s new anti-tracking feature debuted

Published May 20th, 2021 7:31AM EDT
iOS 14.5 Anti-Tracking
Image: kite_rin/Adobe

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Apple enabled a few years ago the anti-tracking feature that Facebook is so terrified of. The iOS 14.5’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) forces all app developers to ask permission for tracking users across iPhone and iPad apps and services. It’s the first time companies like Facebook have had to ask for explicit consent from users to collect the kind of user data points that would help them sell more expensive personalized ads to advertisers.

A recent report from an analytics firm showed that most iPhone and iPad users in the US and abroad will opt-out of data tracking, indicating that Facebook and others are right to worry about profiling users for advertising purposes. A new study seems to confirm the concerns in the advertising industry, as some companies are already willing to spend more money on Android now that iOS 14.5 has rolled out. But the report suggests that Apple’s anti-tracking technology might not be such a big problem.

The Post-IDFA Alliance published a report that assess the ATT deployment’s impact on advertising. IDFA is the unique advertising identifier associated to an iPhone or iPad. When users block tracking by requesting apps not to track them, apps can’t access that IDFA information.

The Post-IDFA Alliance’s report contains data from various companies, including  Liftoff, AdColony, Fyber, Singular, and Vungle. It covers the first two weeks following the iOS 14.5 release — April 26th to May 9th.

The association says that iOS 14.5 adoption rates averaged 12.9% during the period but expects iOS 14.5 uptake to increase quickly in the coming weeks.

Of the people who installed iOS 14.5 and started receiving tracking prompts from apps, 16.8% of installs authorized tracking, according to Singular. AdColony says that the opt-in rate is much higher at 36.5%, but the percentage is based on “14.5 ad requests generated by the AdColony 14.5 compliant SDK.”

These percentages are higher than the previous Flurry Analytics report. Flurry’s most recent stats show that the worldwide tracking opt-in rate is around 15% across all apps. The figure for the US market is much lower at 6%, according to May 18th data.

The Post-IDFA Alliance says advertising spending has changed as well in the past few weeks, but not significantly. AdColony and Singular reported decreases in spending of 2.51% and 3.59%, respectively. Vungle saw an increase of 3.32%.

But advertisers have increased spending on Android just as iOS 14.5 rolled out:

Post-IDFA alliance partners all report an increase in Android spend in the two weeks following the release of iOS14.5. These include Liftoff finding an 8.29% rise and Vungle finding a 21% increase. The trend suggests that marketers may be spending more on user acquisition, if you combine iOS and Android figures.

The report says that early data indicates a decline in cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on iOS 14.5. It ranges from 2.4% (Liftoff) to 8.73% (AdColony). Fyber reported similar figures. But advertisers are taking advantage of the lower prices.  “Certain buyers are already taking advantage of the lower prices and larger scale of IDFA-less inventory,” Fyber marketing vice president Itai Cohen said in a statement.

The Alliance expects CPMs to decline in the short term. But they’ll increase in the long term as advertisers “feel more confident in spending against IDFA-less traffic.”

The report concludes that advertisers “may have 99 problems, but the IDFA isn’t yet one of them.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.