IDFA: A letter from our COO

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To our customers, partners and industry colleagues,

As we’ve all heard, June 22nd during Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2020, they announced changes to the use of IDFA with the upcoming release of iOS 14. IDFA, along with other IDs, are included in The Tapad Graph. This update to iOS 14 will ask developers to disclose their privacy practices within the App store and request that users give apps consent for sharing their IDFA with third-parties. Apple is releasing iOS 14 in September across its suite of mobile devices.

The good news is that IDFA is not going away. As an industry, we have been subjected to endless rumors as to what Apple would do with the IDFA, including predictions of its complete deprecation. We now know it can continue to be used as a means of driving what have come to be traditional use cases for the IDFA; provided there is user consent. The user has been able to easily reset the IDFA since iOS 6.1 (2013). It may seem crazy now, but the sentiment at the time was that the move could be a dire one for mobile advertising. Apple's most recent move is a natural step toward providing consumer awareness and control in today’s environment.

Tapad has always been a privacy-first organization, and we have always supported decisions in the ecosystem to give the user more control of and insight into the use of their data. Balancing the privacy requirements of the consumer while preserving the ability to deliver value to them through their consumption of ad supported content and apps is not a new challenge. The industry has continued to grow and thrive while managing this balance, and it will continue to do so.

The responsibility is on developers, advertisers, publishers and other key players in the ecosystem to highlight the value derived in exchange for consent. Transparency as to what is done with consumer’s data, and the clear explanation of what the IDFA is used for is equally important. Everyone’s goal should be to enable informed consent. How we achieve this will be through adapting and innovating as we see changes like that announced by Apple this week.

The approach that Apple has decided to take allows the consumer to make the decision on an app-by-app basis, so each app will have the opportunity to demonstrate why the consumer should consent. This may be comparable to third-party cookie consent for websites in the EU driven by GDPR, where the consumer is required to provide consent to the use of cookies to support advertising, share data, etc. Of course the regulatory requirements of GDPR and those required by Apple policy will differ, but it's hard to ignore the widespread consumer willingness we’ve seen in the EU to the notion of sharing data with publishers and third-parties for advertising use cases. Developers in the Apple ecosystem can learn from similar practices to inform the consumer.

Yes, there will likely be a drop-off in IDFA scale in the ecosystem, but those predicting the worst may be premature in their assumption that consumers won’t want to participate in a value exchange. The vast majority of users in the EU make the decision in favor of opting-in for third-party cookie use every day. We expect that access to IDFA will persist in the ecosystem, and for your purposes, within The Tapad Graph.

Yes, developers will have to evolve their messaging and practices with their customers. However, to assume that consumers won’t opt-in is not giving sufficient credit to the innovative nature of the developer community, advertisers, publishers, and most importantly the consumer’s appetite for quality, useful, fun (and free) apps.

The industry’s understanding as to how this will roll-out and the expected impact it will have is still evolving. Tapad continues to invest in privacy-safe identity solutions and will be prepared to adopt the outcomes with IDFA in a way that enables us to educate our customers and enhance our products to meet their needs. Identity, in its many forms, continues to grow as a critical part of the advertising and marketing technology stack; and we are as excited as ever to collaborate with partners to address this opportunity for our customers.

We encourage you to reach out with questions and are committed to bringing you updates in real-time.

Thank you,
Mark Connon
Chief Operating Officer

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