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1 year after IDFA Apocalypse: the state of UA, admon & retargeting

Our US Managing Director and COO, Kate Lovejoy, sat down with Matej Lancaric, Felix Braberg and Niels Beenen to discuss the future of retargeting and UA on iOS one year since the release of Apple’s ATT framework.

Where do we go from here?

Apple shook up the world of performance advertising by rolling out its ATT framework. With limited SKADNetwork capabilities and visibility for retargeting, predictions for the future of performance marketing on Apple weren’t very positive.

One year since the implementation of the ATT framework, the performance marketing landscape does look a bit different. But it’s not wholly unrecognizable. Kate Lovejoy had a chat with Matej Lancaric, Niels Bieman and Felix Braberg to discuss what the world of UA and retargeting looks like with fewer available IDFAs, and what app marketers can expect from the future.

How did the day to day change? What are we seeing now?

Plenty of sources and app developers were ready to throw in the towel on retargeting and UA on iOS. Kate found that at the moment of the IDFA announcement, it was all anyone wanted to talk about. What we’ve seen is that after a year, iOS retargeting is still essentially the same as before, just with a bit lower scale.

Kate mentions that currently the most sophisticated gaming studios are spending around 25% on retargeting. Before app developers and studios treated retargeting as an add-on, or as nice to have. But there’s been a shift in recent years to treat retargeting as essential for business growth; it’s necessary to protect valuable payers and capitalize on UA investments. 

“If you have a valuable player that leaves, it’ll be much cheaper to bring that user back rather than run a new UA campaign and get an unknown mix of valuable and less valuable users. It’s not the reality that users stay in your app forever with no effort. Data shows that once they’re gone for a week, they can be gone for good, so it’s very important to send reminders and nudges to users to return.”

iOS and retargeting now

Kate wants to emphasize that retargeting on iOS is operating just as it did before. For users who opt in to share their IDFA, they can still be served retargeting ads, and that opt-in rate could be anywhere from 40-50%. When looking at large apps, that means there’s a great opportunity for retargeting.

“About iOS: for us it’s completely deterministic. The way we’re approaching it is really trying to take Apple's direction at face value. As we said earlier there’s a 40-50% opt-in on some of these apps. When you’re working with clients like Tik Tok and Amazon and think about 40-50% of their user base, there’s meaningful retargeting to be done there. So we’re really taking a deterministic approach where we’re only going after users who have given consent. What we’re seeing is that if a user opts in to our client’s app most likely they've been opting in elsewhere.”

What's the split between iOS and Android since?

Initially, we wanted to be cautious on Android because we weren’t sure what the future held with the ATT framework in place. Now, as we’ve seen things evolve in a more positive direction, it’s pretty safe to say that returning retargeting campaigns on iOS is often a good course of action.

“A year ago we made a concerted effort to shift a lot of budget over to Android. Given that things were so up in the air, we wanted to be sure we can kind of do business as usual on Android while we figure out iOS with our partners. And so there was this shift over to Android, and now that we’re seeing that it’s not a 5% opt-in rate, it's up to 40% in some cases, over the year we've been adding back on those iOS campaigns. Of course there’s less scale on iOS today, but there’s meaningful retargeting to be done there.”

What else is there to learn?

Listen to the full podcast to hear also from Matej Lancaric, Niels Beenen, and Felix Braberg to learn more about the impact of Apple’s ATT framework on UA and retargeting. They discuss: 

  • How to incorporate retargeting spend into UA costs and CPIs
  • How do MMPs approach retargeting? 
  • Apple’s recent announcement of SKAN 4.0: what can we expect, how are these changes going to affect measurement, and some tips 
  • Singular product innovations for iOS
  • IDFA vs. Google’s Privacy Sandbox
  • iOS LTV prediction

Big thanks to Matej Lancaric and Felix Braberg for having us on Two & a Half Gamers! Watch the video here:


Or listen to the show wherever you get your podcasts!