Learn about iOS 14 and how it affects your integrations with Singular.
Update [January 27, 2021]: Apple has announced that App Tracking Transparency will be required starting with iOS 14.5. This article has been updated with Singular's recommendations and changes.
What's new in iOS 14?
On June 22, Apple held its annual WWDC event to announce iOS 14, the next major OS update to iOS. The list of updates included two announcements that impact iOS digital advertising:
Read our blog post detailing the changes.
These changes mean that device IDFAs will be available less frequently and are therefore less reliable for creating a complete picture of marketing performance. The expected result is that advertisers shift towards Apple’s SKAdNetwork alternative for measurement and marketing analytics.
On September 3, Apple announced another update delaying certain privacy features originally planned for iOS 14.0 until "early next year." Specifically, the IDFA will continue to be default available without asking for AppTrackingTransparency consent, but the intended changes are still coming in a few months. Read more about the September 3rd update and the technical changes in our blog post.
Is probabilistic matching going away? What attribution methods will be supported with iOS 14?
Based on our conversations with Apple and reinforced by their latest updates on requirements, Singular will not support probabilistic matching starting with iOS 14.5.
In preparation, we are supporting new controls that will prevent probabilistic and other non-compliant attribution methods for all iOS apps, except when otherwise permitted. The below matrix provides an overview of our updated attribution workflows:
Singular is committed to helping our advertisers and partners stay compliant with Apple policies as soon as those policies are clear, actionable, and enforceable.
As a partner who may be impacted by Apple's policies read about specific changes you can make to clicks and impression data sent to Singular. Alongside changes to traditional click-based and impression-based attribution, we strongly recommend partners integrate with SKAdNetwork.
How do the new policies impact Singular and Singular's advertisers?
iOS 14 represents a fundamental shift in how advertisers measure digital marketing on iOS devices. We expect to see fewer deterministic attributions and more probabilistic ones. In the longer term, we wait to see Apple's guidelines for how probabilistic matching will be phased away.
However, Singular is working closely with advertisers and partners to prepare for that longer-term outcome.
As an MMP, Singular’s responsibilities remain the same:
- Help marketers reach their strategic goals through measurement and reporting.
- Help them navigate through the additional challenges brought on by iOS 14.
- Continue to fight fraud as new marketing tools and solutions are introduced (such as SKAdNetwork).
With the rollout of iOS 14, Singular is working with advertisers to:
- Update their apps' SDK and S2S integrations to be iOS 14 compliant.
- Adjust marketing strategies and help understand how advertisers' marketing channels may be impacted.
- Work with partners to prepare for iOS 14 by updating existing integrations as needed and push partners to adopt an SKAdNetwork integration with Singular.
I send clicks and impressions to Singular. What do I have to prepare for?
As an ad network or DSP, you are probably already working with your publishers and exchanges to understand how to adhere to the App Tracking Transparency guidelines and to maximize the availability of IDFAs in Singular tracking links.
If you're sending Singular clicks and impressions for a mutual advertiser, note that IDFA and probabilistic attributions will be updated to the following, effective iOS 14.5 for all iOS 14 users:
Singular will continue to attribute using IDFAs matched between a touchpoint and install if App Tracking Transparency consent is given in both the publisher and advertiser app. This scenario applies to partners that support mobile-app inventory aka. app-to-app campaigns. Clicks and impressions should continue to be sent with IDFA when available, no additional change is needed.
- Singular will no longer probabilistically attribute without App Tracking Transparency consent per Apple's "user privacy and data use" guidelines, unless in supported and allowed scenarios. The allowed scenario applies to partners that support mobile-web inventory aka. web-to-app campaigns.
Note: If you are a partner that supports mobile web inventory, action is required and updates to your click and impression integration with Singular are needed in preparation for iOS 14.5 and App Tracking Transparency enforcement. Continue reading about how to update and prepare for these changes.
As always, we encourage you to double-check that you are passing all the available information through a Singular tracking link to help us make the best probabilistic match. Review our supported tracking link parameters to learn more.
I am an integrated partner supporting (mobile) web inventory. What do I have to prepare for?
Apple's app tracking transparency and "user privacy and data use" guidelines are clear for app-to-app marketing and advertising. However, for partners that support mobile web advertising, App Tracking Transparency and alternative attribution methods such as SKAdNetwork don't apply. Therefore, probabilistic attribution methods are still available as long as the advertiser app's user has consented to tracking via the App Tracking Transparency prompt.
To support Singular's mobile web partners, we have implemented additional requirements to ensure probabilistic attribution is still supported in a privacy-safe manner to protect end-users, advertisers, and partners.
If you are a partner in this category:
- Reach out to your Singular partner manager, or the integration team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and indicate that you are a partner that supports mobile web advertising. This step is necessary as Singular will only enable probabilistic attribution for only these allow-listed partners.
- After confirming with the Singular team, append the source media type ( _smtype=1 )to all clicks and impressions coming from your mobile web campaigns. This parameter allows Singular to identify this touchpoint was served on mobile-web and to handle accordingly to ATT guidelines. For more information on source media type and other parameters, see tracking link parameters article.
- Lastly, understand with your Singular advertiser on their App Tracking Transparency plans. Probabilistic attribution for partner's mobile-web campaigns is only supported if App Tracking Transparency consent prompt is implemented and the end-user has opted-in.
Important: The _smtype=1 parameter is only available for verified mobile web partners. If _smtype=1 is received on a click or impression for non-mobile-web enabled partner (as indicated by step #1 above), Singular will process the click according to the default (mobile-app inventory) where probabilistic attribution is not supported.
I receive postback data from Singular. What do I have to prepare for?
Ad Network and DSP Partners
Partners who receive automatic postbacks on deterministic and probabilistic attributions today will continue to receive them. Once iOS 14.5 is live and App Tracking Transparency is enforceable, these attributions are only available for ATT-complaint scenarios.
Data and Analytics Partners
Partners who receive postbacks from Singular will continue to receive IDFAs and IDFVs when end-users consent to share their data, in compliance with Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy.
Singular will continue to send marketing insights from deterministic and probabilistic attributions for ATT-compliant scenarios.
What is SKAdNetwork?
SKAdNetwork is Apple's framework for privacy-preserving mobile attribution. It aims to help measure conversion rates of app install campaigns without compromising users’ identities. It was originally introduced with iOS 11.3, but it was updated significantly for the release of iOS 14 (SKAdNetwork version 2.0), now that more people are expected to adopt it as an alternative to user-level identifiers.
For more information, see Introduction to Singular's SKAdNetwork Solution.
How will Singular report attributions from SKAdNetwork?
With iOS 14, partners integrated with Singular and SKAdNetwork will have conversions reported as a separate metric next to traditional attribution conversions. Singular also supports a separate performance report with only SKAdNetwork activity.
For more information, see Introduction to Singular's SKAdNetwork Solution.
Why should ad network partners integrate with SKAdnetwork?
With the introduction of App Tracking Transparency, traditional attribution measurement (based on user-level device identifiers) is expected to capture less of an advertiser's total marketing efforts. Advertisers will need to shift to SKAdNetwork for measurement and marketing analytics.
By itself, SKAdNetwork decentralizes key performance data between advertisers, publishers, ad networks, and mobile measurement providers, making it more difficult for advertisers to access the performance data needed to make marketing decisions.
Singular's SKAdNetwork solution helps advertisers continue to get the data they need through an exchange of information between the device, the ad network partner, and Singular as the MMP.