While retargeting users across the mobile ecosystem will change with Apple’s IDFA restrictions, it won’t go away completely. According to Kochava, opt-in rates average around 48.8% for iOS 14.0+ users who are actually prompted with an opt-in message. This is much higher than initial projections which ranged from 4% opt-in in the U.S. to 10% opt-in globally.

So why should app marketers continue to invest in retargeting despite Apple’s changes to the IDFA? We tackle your pressing retargeting questions head-on in the face of data tracking restrictions below.

Is retargeting even possible without the IDFA?

Retargeted ad requests rely on the IDFA to successfully track and re-engage users with personalized ads. Unless a user opts in to sharing their IDFA under Apple’s ATT Framework, this information will not be accessible to marketers to retarget them with personalized ads. Additionally, postbacks sent via Apple’s SKAdNetwork will never contain the IDFA.

Now before you go and shift all your budget from re-engagement campaigns to iOS UA campaigns, remember app marketers can still run re-engagement campaigns on Android, which makes up the majority of operating systems globally. It’s also important to take and breath and remember that the IDFA still exists. It will just exist on a consent basis for end-users who prefer a more personalized experience.

Why should app marketers prioritize retargeting even more now that Apple has implemented its ATT Framework?

The reality remains that it costs more to acquire new app users than to re-engage them. On average, the cost to acquire a user is 5-10x more expensive than the cost to re-engage a user. Our research shows that re-engaging existing customers can increase conversions by 70% or more.

As mentioned above, we are still in the early stages of the iOS 14.5 rollout. That said, it’s still too early to evaluate whether ATT opt-in rates will vastly restrict retargeting capabilities. What we do know so far is that ATT opt-in rates are much higher than previously anticipated. According to AppsFlyer, at least 39% of users opt in to tracking. Also as mentioned above, Kochava’s latest report found that this rate increases to over 48% when users are actually prompted with the opt-in message.

In this early state of iOS 14.5 rollout, what marketers can control is the impact of their ATT messaging. YouAppi VP of Growth and Retargeting, Hilit Mioduser Ames, notes how app marketers can use their IDFA opt-in messaging to strengthen their relationship with users:

“Of most importance is educating users about consent in a brief and efficient manner. Users want clear and concise information and in providing that, marketers will have yet another way to strengthen their user relationships and become a trusted brand.”

The importance of your opt-in prompt

It’s also key that marketers hone in on the best time to serve their opt-in message based on their vertical. For example, a question game apps might ask themselves, as noted by YouAppi CEO and Founder, Moshe Vakinin, in AdExchanger: “is there a specific step or moment in the user’s journey that generates the highest opt-in rates, especially in the gaming vertical?”

To secure opt-ins, marketers must do a lot of testing to figure out the best practices for their ATT prompts and pre-prompts. The size of the pre-permission prompt, when it’s displayed, how it’s designed, and the copy used in the call-to-action button, can all have a direct impact on whether a user chooses to opt in.

What types of apps could benefit the most from retargeting and why?

Any app whose business model leans on in-app purchases to drive revenue can benefit from retargeting. With only 2% of new users expected to convert on their first visit to an app, retargeting is a critical strategy to boost long-term engagement and ROI.

With 2020 boosting mobile usage across all app verticals, retargeting also saw a boom.

According to AppsFlyer’s 2020 State of App Retargeting Report, retargeting across app verticals, regions and channels increased in 2020. In fact, ReAppi, YouAppi’s dedicated retargeting solution, saw 100% growth in revenue since the start of the pandemic.

For shopping apps, depending on the region, 50-70% of apps adopted retargeting for the first time in 2020. There was also a boost in retargeting adoption across gaming app verticals. Seven percent of Casual Game apps adopted retargeting, 10-20% of game apps in the Hardcore category and 30-40% of game apps in the Social Casino category.

Overall, almost one-third of apps with a marketing budget are including retargeting in their marketing toolbox. With the number of conversions driven by retargeted ads growing at a faster rate than conversions by UA (non-organic installs), it’s clear marketers have found retargeting to be a key strategy in their growth strategy.

What is YouAppi’s strategy for retargeting without the IDFA?

In preparation for Apple’s ATT Framework, we’ve been performing ongoing tests to finetune our capabilities for detecting users without the IDFA. That is, retargeting users that opt out of sharing their IDFA under Apple’s Limited Ad Tracking setting. These internal tests utilized apps in different verticals with over 2.5 million users using alternative data parameters. The tests resulted in a 44% overall user reach with 80% accuracy.

The post-IDFA timeline and transitional period will likely be extended as users update their operating system and actually receive opt-in notifications under Apple’s ATT Framework. During this time, we plan to make continual updates to our solution. We will also start to collect and segment two groups of users:

  1. Users who opt-in; we will retarget these users using their IDFA as we have done in the past
  2. Users who do not opt-in; we will retarget these users with our probabilistic and contextual solution.

ReAppi’s Probabilistic & Contextual Data Targeting

In March, we unveiled our proprietary contextual targeting algorithm to help address the challenges brought on by Apple's IDFA changes while still meeting advertiser KPIs on iOS. Our solution uses a blend of probabilistic correlations and privacy-safe data to undertake an alternative type of targeting without the IDFA.

Probabilistic tools include User Agent IDs and local IDs (publisher ID and SSP ID) that can be accessed programmatically. We also utilize contextual data such as the publisher app, device detail and limited ad session behavior of the user. This information is then combined to programmatically reach and convert high-quality users within specific user segments.


Why should app marketers continue to invest in retargeting despite Apple’s changes to the IDFA?

  1. Remember that the IDFA still exists. It will just exist on a consent basis for end-users who prefer a more personalized experience.
  2. It still costs more to acquire new app users than to re-engage them.
  3. ATT opt-in rates are much higher than previously anticipated and marketers have the ability to affect their opt-in rate by determining the best practices for their ATT prompts and pre-prompts.
  4. Many longtime mobile marketing providers have the contextual data and probabilistic tools to retarget users without the IDFA.