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Adapting to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency

Amber Rhodes
Last Updated July 1, 2021


It finally happened. Apple’s App Tracking Transparency privacy policy (ATT) has been rolled out and been adopted by 70% of Apple users, meaning it’s time for advertisers to evaluate the next steps. 

On this week’s TribeTalk, Anuroop covers tactics for adapting to advertising after ATT from a growth marketing perspective. Here’s what he had to say 👇

ATT is App Transparency Tracking is the new regulation implemented by Apple for iOS. It's causing a lot of chaos because,’ve probably heard this before. For users with the new update on their phones, when they go to use an app for the first time (after the update) they’ll be prompted to answer a question about tracking. This question is, essentially, “do you want to be tracked or not?” 😬 

Most users, as you can imagine, choose not to be tracked because they believe tracking has a negative connotation. 

This new reality has caused all sorts of chaos for advertisers in terms of attribution from tracking conversions. In nutshell, when users locked down their data, keeping tabs on their behaviors became harder, meaning that managing ad campaigns became more difficult. 

Even if you've taken all the steps that Facebook has recommended to reduce friction from ATT adoption in terms of setting server-side tracking, the conversions API, or even event prioritization, you will still see a lot of conversions rolled in as delayed attribution.

Here are some approaches we recommend for advertisers:

Focus on your effective return on ad spend (eROAS), not your campaign-reported ROAS

Keep your eyes on the prize! Or rather, don’t make any quick decisions based on your ROAS. Our team has run tests where we shut off an underperforming ad for a week and actually experienced a decline in sales on organic and other channels. It seemed like the ads weren’t bringing in sales, but in reality, they just weren’t being tracked or attributed properly. 

Brush up on the ads platform

The more you know, the better you’ll perform. Take time to strengthen your knowledge of the fundamentals of your preferred ads platforms. If you’re able to decipher trends quicker, pinpoint your conversions, and diagnose what you need to optimize performance, you’ll be better prepared to make smarter, quicker decisions. 

Take time to understand data modeling for digital marketing campaigns

We can admit we’ve been luxuriating in the machine-learning of ads platforms for a few years now. With ATT, we’re having to get back to the basics that Facebook and Google business managers can’t show us anymore. Now is the time to brush up on your knowledge of data, basic marketing principles, and sales strategies. With a limited amount of data, you’re going to want to start thinking outside the box (and start thinking holistically).

Don’t put all your data eggs in one data basket

Imagine this: 

You were getting eight sales a day last month, but now you’re seeing sales drop to just three a day. 

What do you do next?

Well, although reporting shows three sales, it could be because of attribution issues. Perhaps your ads are bringing in steady sales, but the data just isn’t there to show it. 

Are you going to make the premature decision of cutting it off right then?

First, take a look at what’s happening across the board. How is your Shopify store performing? How does that compare to what you’re seeing in Facebook Ads Manager? By cross-referencing this information, you can start to pinpoint what weekly strategies to pursue. 

The Bottom Line on Apple’s ATT

Data-driven marketing has gotten a little trickier since ATT came to play. However, any strategic digital marketer should be able to figure out ways to adapt their campaigns to the new advertising landscape. 

If you’re interested in reading more about Apple’s iOS update, data privacy laws, or strategies to overcome limited data, check out these posts:

Frequently Asked Questions: Apple iOS14.5 Updates

What is App Tracking Transparency?

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is a feature of Apple iOS14.5 that requires third-party applications to request permission to track user activity across other apps and websites. Websites and apps still have the ability to track user activities on their own websites, but if they are not permitted to “follow” that person’s activity, they will no longer be able to. This information has traditionally been used by advertisers to help target new audiences with personalized, relevant ads. 

Will ATT impact my Facebook ads performance?

In short: yes. With less data (and less reliable data), your Facebook ads will take a hit. However, there are strategies you can use to mitigate poor performance, such as implementing Facebook’s Conversions API.

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