Apple’s app privacy rules have resulted in 59% of mobile advertisers moving ad spend from them to Google Play and alternative Android platforms, according to a new study released today. One result: In the third quarter of 2021 Android got more marketing dollars than iOS for the first time, a 10% swing from three years earlier.
The report, by mobile game measurement service Tenjin and Growth FullStack, a mobile advertising intelligence provider, shows how much has changed since Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules slightly more than a year ago.
What it is. Introduced as part of iOS 14.5 in April of last year, ATT is an opt-in privacy protection system, requiring apps to get user consent for tracking. To make up for this loss of data, Apple gives advertisers direct access to anonymized SKAdNetwork (SKAN) data. This began last September as part of the iOS 15 release.
SKAN has proven difficult for advertisers to use, though. Few (32%) of companies have access to in-house data science talent, according to the study. However, 75% have implemented some form of marketing automation to gain insight from large, disparate datasets.
The cost. The median estimated revenue loss due to Apple’s privacy changes was 39%. Of those advertisers that had their revenues impacted, 75% said it put their business at risk.
Biggest impact. ATT appears to have hit mobile game advertisers particularly hard — 68% said mobile marketing was more difficult in 2021 (43% non-gaming). They are also more likely to shift budget to Android (63% vs 48%), and use attribution methods such as probabilistic attribution or fingerprinting (91% vs 70%).
Worth noting. What is most worrying to most (84%) mobile advertisers is Google introducing something like ATT for Android.
Why we care. This survey was based on US and UK companies, which explains the ad spend bias toward iOS. Apple phones have a 57.4% market share in America and just under 50% in the United Kingdom. This is radically different from the rest of the world where Android has 70% of the market. If ad spend continues to shift toward Android (and this is by no means certain), would Apple reconsider or modify its privacy protections?
Get the daily newsletter digital marketers rely on.
About The Author
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.