A few weeks ago Apple launched the new iOS 10 which came with new and upcoming innovations. With the benefit of a little hindsight we can now make a first assessment of their impact on mobile marketing strategies for iOS.
Reminder: iOS10 isn’t compatible with any device prior to the iPhone 5 and only covers 60 to 70% of iPads.
1. The “Limit Ad Tracking”
One novelty was particularly teeth grinding for the actors of mobile data acquisition: the update of the “Limit Ad Tracking” feature (LAT). Remember this feature that appeared with iOS 9 and allowed the user that activated it to only provide partial personal data to mobile tracking tools. Well with iOS 10 the data are even more limited: the IDFA (which is a unique device identifier for advertisers) is completely encrypted for the users that have activated the feature.
What does this change?
It makes these users untraceable to tools using IDFA for attribution – the most reliable way of identification since the ID is unique. The majority of the concerned adnetworks have adapted or are in the process of it, and are proposing to track via fingerprinting(attribution method based on the creation of “unique” profiles that cluster a set of technical data: IP address, browser, and many others). But this also concerns giants such as Facebook, Google, and even Twitter. And none of the latter has yet to provide a solution.
What are the actual impacts?
- The users of LAT will not be attributed to the matching source for acquisition. They will not be lost and will be recorded as organic installs even though it distorts the data, the analysis of profitability, and the conversion of your mobile acquisition campaigns.
- Beyond protecting the personal data of mobile web users, this will worsen their general experience:
- In addition to the attribution, this prevents the relevant channels from applying capping rules to their advertising (banners or videos). Without these limitations it will be a lot more frequent to repeatedly come across the same advertisements.
- Without information on their personal advertising preferences, they will be exposed to non-targeted advertisements and therefore less relevant to them.
Between 10 and 15% of iOS users seem to have enabled this feature. However, since the update in September this number has not increased significantly.
2. Maximum customization and interaction for your push notifications
iOS 10 also brings good news for mobile marketers! Apple is trying to catch up with Android on this aspect, and their “rich notifications” allow you to add images, GIFs, audio or video files to your push notifications. In addition you will also be able to modify or delete your push notifications.
Finally, you will have the ability to add action buttons that will allow your audience to immediately interact within or outside the app. Some simple actions can take place through this channel: ask closed questions, offer to send the notification back later, give the choice to go within the app, or directly execute an action outside of the app, which can simplify your conversion flow.
With the dialogue being permitted outside of your application this will smoothen and customize your communication. The content of your push notifications may also be designed according to the use of your user: for instance you can offer them a complementary product to their last purchase.
Used appropriately, rich notifications can help reverse the openness and commitment curve of users towards push notifications which has been declining for years on iOS.
3. Make sure your app meets Apple’s standards
On top of iOS 10 Apple has made some updates to its publishing rules on the App Store so it is important to make sure that you meet its standards:
- More than any drastic changes, this principally consists of a tightening of the current rules dealing with content, legal policies, and bugs. Apple has actually launched a major scan of all its available apps and if an anomaly is detected application editors will be notified and have 30 days to reach conformity. However your app can be removed from the App Store without notice in case of a serious breach (for instance if the app crashes at launch)
- Starting January 1st 2017 all apps must be ATS compliant and meet new safety standards detailed here. To put it simply, all the app-server connections will have to be encrypted. Check with your developers to assure it is the case, or that it is planned in your roadmap development within the end of the year.
- The most visible and impacting change is your app’s title being limited to 50 characters(versus 255 previously), with the stated objective of preventing the use of irrelevant keywords, or merely sited to have the app positioned on them in the search results of the App Store. This is probably a measure destined to make “Apple Search Ads” more effective and indispensable.
Finally available: The Apple Search Ads!
Available in beta for several months now, the Apple Search Ads in the App Store were officially launched in the United States on October 5th. The rest of the world must wait as there hasn’t been any announcement regarding the release date in other countries. This is Apple’s response to Google Search Ads which give the ability to bid on keywords in order to appear first in the search results of those words in the App Store (for both iPhone and iPad)
Example of Apple Search Ads for the MinoMonsters 2 app
In addition to your cost-per-click bid on your keyword list, Apple offers several targetings such as devices (iPhone and/or iPad), locations (by state or city), age, or time of broadcasting. Concerning the tracking, Apple’s platform allows monitoring the performances by campaign and keywords, but it seems that the given figures also include re-installations. Remember that a download seen by Apple is a completed download, but that doesn’t guarantee that the user opened your app – unlike mobile tracking tools which only count the installation after the first opening.
You can therefore rely on your tracking tool for optimal tracking. The main ones (Adjust, Appsflyer, Tune…) are already up to date and allow it. However you will need to verify that the SDK version built into your app is recent enough.