With the release of iOS 7.1 today, there is new functionality that will potentially enable app developers insight into which users engaged with an ad from Apple’s iAd publishing platform prior to installing the app. This new functionality is included in the API for iOS 7.1 but isn’t included in the API documentation nor their “what’s new” summary.
This new functionality for iAd attribution is referred to as a method to “determine App Installation Attribution with Completion Handler”. The API code for the functionality is here in the code difference from iOS 7.0 to 7.1 document:
Based on our interpretation, we believe this method will provide insight into whether a user engaged (impression or click) with an ad from iAd, in specific, prior to installing the app. If the user did engage with an ad specifically from iAd, then the “determine App Installation Attribution with Completion Handler” method will return a value of 1 for yes. If the user didn’t engage with an ad from iAd (perhaps the user engaged with an ad from another channel like Google Adwords or didn’t even engage with any ads at all), then the function will return a value of 0 for no.
App developers should be able to use this new functionality to measure the effectiveness of users acquired and re-engaged using Apple’s iAd platform. As more details are released about its intended functionality, our future MobileAppTracking iOS SDK will collect this iAd attribution flag. We’ll be using it to provide additional attribution insight to our clients including how iAd interacts with client’s other advertising partners with multi-touch attribution.
The timing of this new iAd attribution functionality seems quite timely with the recent upheaval and uncertainty with Apple’s IDFA (identifier for advertisers). Is this somehow tied to Apple’s recent change in enforcement of the use of IDFA? Is Apple preparing for a big revamp of its iAd advertising program? Though the answers to these questions are unclear, it does seem as though Apple would like to allow attribution platforms like MobileAppTracking to better attribute the performance and ROI achieved from iAd campaigns, and this is an extremely painless and transparent way to do so.