What is App Tracking Transparency (ATT)?

Glossary App Tracking Transparency (ATT)

What is App Tracking Transparency (ATT)?

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is Apple’s user privacy framework. It requires apps on iOS to request user permission—via a pop-up prompt—to access the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and track the user/the device. ATT was introduced with Apple’s iOS 14.5 update in April 2021 to address growing concerns about how much user data app developers could leverage to track and target users.

Protecting user data and prioritizing privacy is top of mind for users. With this privacy-centric market in mind, maximizing ATT consent rates is a critical part of iOS strategies for app developers and marketers. The full-visibility insights that can be gained from opted-in data are also critical to informing strategic decisions regarding conversion value mapping and next-generation solutions like predictive analytics. In short, the higher your ATT opt-in rate, the better.

Let’s look at how ATT has shaken up the mobile advertising industry and how app developers can maximize opt-ins.

How does App Tracking Transparency work and what does it look like?

App Tracking Transparency’s introduction has fundamentally changed the mobile advertising industry. Before ATT, app developers and marketers could access user-level data on iOS for attribution via the IDFA by default. This supply of data for attribution and measurement was integral for information on user interests, demographics, and in-app behaviors, shaping the basis of targeted ads, and painted a clear picture regarding campaign and channel performance.

The IDFA is now no longer available unless the user selects ‘Allow Tracking’ when served the ATT prompt. As a result, the mobile advertising ecosystem, which relied on this granular data, has been radically impacted

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) pop up

How does the App Tracking Transparency opt-in work?

  • Historical opt-outs. If a user opted out of personalized advertising during Apple’s previous Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) model, they are now automatically classified as opted out within the current ATT model.
  • Settings prevent prompts. To receive the ATT prompt in the first place, users must have “Allow Apps to Request to Track” switched on in their privacy settings. Luckily for advertisers, this is switched on by default.
  • Dual opt-ins. If the user’s data will facilitate advertising on another app, they must opt-in twice: once from the advertiser and once from the publisher.

How does App Tracking Transparency impact mobile advertisers?

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency transformed the mobile advertising ecosystem. From marketers and advertisers to developers and ad networks, the way measurement and attribution are approached on iOS had to be completely rethought. ATT also marked the first step in a continued march toward user privacy. For example, shortly after Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, Google announced a similar approach to user privacy for Android devices from Android 12 onwards. Much like Apple’s old LAT model, the Android Advertising ID is removed/zeroed out when an Android user opts out of personalization in their phone’s settings.

Long-held and largely automated best practices for iOS advertising strategies, user acquisition campaigns, and measurement, were turned on their head. The mobile marketing industry was sent into overdrive to develop new strategies and approaches that would boost opt-in rates and enable successful campaign measurement on iOS.

We are now beginning to see the impact of this arduous groundwork. Global opt-in rates currently sit around 26% and are consistently growing as the industry improves at communicating the benefits of opting-in.

Working with Apple’s SKAdNetwork

While your strategy to gain ATT opt-ins is a crucial first step, around three-quarters of users still can’t be measured post-iOS 14.5. The good news is that it’s very possible to continue successfully scaling campaigns on iOS with SKAdNetwork (SKAN), Apple’s own attribution framework for app install and reinstall attribution.

App Tracking Transparency,

The key to making the most of SKAN lies within its 24-hour send schedule for post-install postbacks and developing a conversion value strategy that leverages all possible data points available. If your key events happen within the 24-hour period, great! If not, try to identify user behaviors and events that occur within the first 24 hours post-install that are indicative of key events and LTV later in the user journey. Use the granular data you have from opted-in users to help predict these key events. You can learn more about conversion values and Adjust’s solutions here.

How to increase App Tracking Transparency opt-in rates

While app marketers understand just how beneficial user-level data is, many users will not. You’ll have one chance to display the ATT prompt, so here are some of our key recommendations for getting customer opt-ins with education and transparency.

  1. Gain trust with the pre-permission prompt. Use this optional initial screen that we at Adjust call the pre-permission prompt. You have full control of this prompt’s design and copy, so take advantage and highlight the benefits of opting in.
  1. Customize second string ATT text. Apple provides a pre-determined App Tracking Transparency prompt, but you can customize the text in the second string. This message needs to be concise and powerful. Answer the user question, “What’s in it for me?”
  2. Fine tune your timing. Choose a time for the pop-up that is least disruptive, when you’ve had the chance to prove the value of your app, or when their satisfaction with the app is likely at its highest.

Adjust and post-iOS 14.5 attribution

As the industry continues to transition, Adjust is committed to investing in next-generation solutions that align with this privacy-centric mobile market evolution. Our SKAdNetwork solutions, developed closely with our partners, clients, and Apple, provide accurate side-by-side reporting to maximize insights and facilitate continued growth.

We encourage clients to design their UX strategies to achieve the highest possible App Tracking Transparency opt-in rates while developing robust conversion value schemas. The better you are at the former, the better you’ll be at the latter.

Ready to take charge of your marketing in a post-iOS 14 world? Check out our iOS 14.5+ resources and read our all-in-one playbook to iOS 14.5+ success.

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