Preparing for iOS 14 - FAQ for Partners

Learn about iOS 14 and how it affects your integrations with Singular.

Note: On September 3rd, Apple announced an update delaying certain privacy features on iOS 14, granting additional time to adopt SKAdNetwork, and extending the availability of the IDFA until "early next year".

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 3rd, 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?

According to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency guidelines, no one can perform either deterministic (identifier-based) or probabilistic (fingerprint-based) attribution without user consent.  

While probabilistic matching isn’t going away on day one (of iOS 14), we expect Apple will soon release policy guidelines on how advertisers can stay compliant as they update their apps to iOS 14.

Singular is committed to helping our advertisers and partners stay compliant with Apple policies as soon as those policies are clear, actionable, and enforceable. 

Note: As a partner, you may choose to ask Singular to prevent any probabilistic matching for your campaigns in preparation for iOS 14. Reach out to our integrations team to discuss your options.

How do the new policies impact Singular and Singular's advertisers?

September 3rd, 2020 Update: With Apple's announcement of the delay to certain privacy features and the updates to the behavior of AppTrackingTransparency, this answer is still relevant to iOS 14 launch but likely implemented and enforced "early next year" when the AppTrackingTransparency is fully enabled. 

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?

September 3rd, 2020 Update: With Apple's announcement of the delay to certain privacy features and the updates to the behavior of AppTrackingTransparency, this answer is not relevant to the launch of iOS 14 now. However, it is assumed to still be relevant for "early next year" when the AppTrackingTransparency is fully enabled.

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.

We expect to see more probabilistic attributions in the short term. In the longer term, we wait to see what guidelines Apple gives about phasing away probabilistic matching.

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 receive postback data from Singular. What do I have to prepare for?

September 3rd, 2020 Update: With Apple's announcement of the delay to certain privacy features feature and updates to the behavior of AppTrackingTransparency, this answer is not relevant to the launch of iOS 14 now. However, it is assumed to still be relevant for "early next year" when the AppTrackingTransparency is fully enabled.

Ad Network and DSP Partners

Partners who receive automatic postbacks on deterministic attributions will continue to receive them as usual.

Partners who receive postbacks as a result of probabilistic attributions will also continue to receive them - for the time being.  Probabilistic attributions tracked for users who do not have an IDFA will include postbacks as if the user has limit ad tracking enabled and IDFAs will be 0s. 

We wait for Apple to provide clearer guidelines on probabilistic tracking policies that advertisers and partners can comply with.

Data and Analytics Partners

Partners who receive postbacks from Singular will continue to receive IDFAs and IDFVs when end-users give consent to share their data, in compliance with Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy.

Singular will continue to send marketing insights from deterministic attributions.

Singular will also continue to send marketing insights from probabilistic attributions - for the time being. We wait for Apple to provide clearer guidelines on probabilistic tracking policies that advertisers and partners can comply with.

We recommend preparing for a future where information based on probabilistic attribution may no longer be gathered or shared.

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 the launch of 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?

September 3rd, 2020 Update: With Apple's announcement of the delay to certain privacy features and the updates to the behavior of AppTrackingTransparency, this answer is still relevant to iOS 14 launch. While the update from Apple extends the timelines of IDFA availability for "traditional" tracking, it reiterates Apple's intentions to push towards privacy-centric measurement via SKAdNetwork.  Singular is dedicated to helping partners integrate with SKAdNetwork (and Singular) as soon as possible in preparation for "early next year" when advertisers will be reliant on SKAdNetwork measurement.  The delay is also a valuable opportunity for the industry to fully understand SKAdNetwork data alongside IDFA based attributions.  Read more about this topic in our blog post.

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.

As an ad network partner, how do I integrate SKAdNetwork with Singular?

See Integrating with Singular's SKAdNetwork Solution.

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