Attribution as usual: iOS 10 and Limit Ad Tracking

Becky Doles

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With the release of iOS 10 today, Apple has subtly impacted the way marketers measure the performance of advertising campaigns on Apple devices. Since iOS 6, the Limit Ad Tracking feature (LAT) has allowed iPhone and iPad users to opt out of ad tracking by resetting their devices’ IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) and limiting their use. But with iOS 10, IDFAs are now zeroed out instead of reset. This means the IDFAs for the approximately 15% of users who have Limit Ad Tracking enabled will be identical, and as a result, unusable by marketers and their ad partners for attribution. Since IDFA is the primary mechanism through which deterministic attribution is performed, as TUNE Mobile Economist John Koetsier noted in VentureBeat, this change has sent ripples throughout the mobile ad tech community.

However, all is not lost. Peter Hamilton, TUNE’s CEO, told AdExchanger, “The population most likely to turn LAT on is the same population that is least likely to engage with advertisements and is already excluded from targeted advertising based on Apple’s terms for IDFA.” In other words, even though approximately 15% of users will enable Limit Ad Tracking, these users are already unlikely to click on marketers’ ads to download apps.

In fact, the introduction of iOS 10 will cause very little change for marketers using TUNE’s Attribution Analytics. For users who have Limit Ad Tracking enabled – as in any case where device IDFA is not available – Attribution Analytics still attributes new and re-engaged installs and events. In the absence of a valid IDFA, Attribution Analytics automatically falls back to device fingerprinting to perform attribution and automatically assigns its own install-level identifier for future attribution of these devices. TUNE has always utilized this methodology and no action at all —  code or configuration changes — is required by ad partners or advertisers to support attribution on devices with Limit Ad Tracking enabled.

As well, unlike some other attribution providers, for ad partners using server-to-server attribution (e.g., Twitter, Google Adwords, Snapchat, etc.), Attribution Analytics will still attribute users with Limit Ad Tracking enabled, as long as those ad partners are passing user agent and IP address, via device fingerprinting. TUNE has already reached out to our integrated ad partners to ensure as many as possible support fingerprinting but it won’t hurt for you to check with your ad partners as well.

TUNE continues to explore additional options to perform deterministic attribution for users with Limit Ad Tracking enabled, and remains committed to providing the most accurate attribution possible for mobile app installs across every platform and operating system.

To better understand how TUNE’s attribution works, please read the below:

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Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

One response to “Attribution as usual: iOS 10 and Limit Ad Tracking”

  1. […] is the Limit Ad Tracking feature a game changer? Not likely, as we’ve noted in a previous TUNE article and discussed with several experts in a candid webinar. Up to 15% of iOS 10 users may activate […]

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