No one ever doubted that Apple’s new anti-app tracking (ATT) feature, rolled out with iOS 14.5, would have a big impact on the way targeted advertising works, and thus any business with a business model built around it . Like Facebook and its subsidiaries, like Instagram – some of the hardest hit parties and of course among the highest against ATT.
However, having a sense that a particular change is significant is not the same as getting some actual data on how important it is. Verizon Media-owned Flurry Analytics has its mobile analytics services integrated into over 1 million mobile applications, gathering aggregate insights across 2 billion mobile devices each month. According to Flurry’s data, just about 12% of global users have allowed app tracking for apps that requested it on their devices, following the iOS 14.5 update. And the number is only 4% in the United States.
Anti-app tracking of the daily enrollment rate
Just to clarify, if you are not familiar with how ATT works, it is basically like a pop-up permission that each app must present to the user before he can access their anonymized (in theory) tracking ID to be able to link it to in-app activity as well as activity within other apps and services. If a user chooses to refuse tracking, that app may not “know” the user correctly. That is, “know” them in the ad-targeting sense. Opting out of app tracking does not disable the ability of Facebook or Instagram or any other app to view and potentially use any of the personal data you have shared with them in your profile or any connected authentication service. It just means that the particular app, for example, may not know that you just spent the last few hours searching for a new hat online and then introducing you to ads for hats. It’s also worth noting that disabling app tracking does not disable ads. They will still be there, just less targeted at you personally.
These are definitely points that are worth clarifying, even if they are not quite added as nicely as Facebook might want you to believe in its small business ad campaign reaching out to users via Facebook. We will not dig too deep into the broader debate on targeted online advertising and privacy. It is a topic that is definitely worth researching as it has many facets. While direct blocking tracking may sound perfect to end users on the surface, it can make more than a few online services unsustainable in their current form. Just food for thought. Flurry has some more statistics that are also somewhat related to this – the percentage of iOS 14.5 users who have taken the time to set their app tracking settings to “Limited” entirely in the settings. These are 5% worldwide and 3% in the United States.
Anti-app tracking of users with the “Restricted” option