Apple's App Store 2020 Policy Changes

Apple's App Store Privacy Policy Changes

How Apple's App Store Policy Changes May Limit Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Privacy is a more important issue than ever. It is important to explain and show users how their data is used and make sure that users are always in control of their data.

In June, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference ( WWDC20), Apple announced product and policy changes that will affect data sharing across iOS.

According to the announcement, you will be required to provide information about some of your app’s data collection practices on your product page, this information will be required to submit new apps and app updates to the App Store starting December 8, 2020. And with iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, you will need to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies apps starting early 2021.

These policy changes are already affecting advertisers significantly, especially on Facebook.

Facebook studies show that when running ads on the Facebook family of apps to drive sales on their websites, small businesses saw a cut of over 60% of their sales, on average, for every dollar they spent when they weren't able to use their own data to find customers on Facebook.

We encourage you to share this information within your organisation and develop a plan to address this disruption to your existing marketing efforts.

Continue reading to find out how the Apple App Store policy changes will affect your digital marketing performance on Google Ads and on Facebook.

Apple’s App Store Privacy Policy Changes

You will need to provide information about your app’s privacy practices, including the practices of third-party partners whose code you integrate into your app, in App Store Connect. This information is required to submit new apps and app updates to the App Store.

On each app’s product page, users will be able to learn about some of the data types an app may collect, and whether the information is used to track them or is linked to their identity or device.

With iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, you will need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework to track them or access their device’s advertising identifier. More: App privacy details on the App Store

App Privacy Information Screen

An app privacy information screen example on the Apple App Store.

App Privacy Permission Screen

An app privacy permission screen example.

Tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from your app with user or device data collected from other companies’ apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes. Tracking also refers to sharing user or device data with data brokers.

Examples of tracking include, but are not limited to:

  • Displaying targeted advertisements in your app based on user data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies.

  • Sharing device location data or email lists with a data broker.

  • Sharing a list of emails, advertising IDs, or other IDs with a third-party advertising network that uses that information to retarget those users in other developers’ apps or to find similar users.

  • Placing a third-party SDK in your app that combines user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps to target advertising or measure advertising efficiency, even if you don’t use the SDK for these purposes. For example, using an analytics SDK that repurposes the data it collects from your app to enable targeted advertising in other developers’ apps.

The following use cases are not considered tracking, and do not require user permission through the AppTrackingTransparency framework:

  • When a user’s or device’s data from your app is linked to third-party data solely on the user’s device and is not sent off the device in a way that can identify the user or device.

  • When the data broker with whom you share data uses the data solely for fraud detection, fraud prevention, or security purposes, and solely on your behalf. For example, using a data broker solely to prevent credit card fraud.

How Apple’s App Store Policy Changes May Affect Your Google Ads Campaigns

Apple has announced new privacy measures for iOS 14 users. These may impact your conversion tracking in Google Ads.

Google recommends that you use Google Analytics for Firebase SDK, as Firebase SDK automatically integrates with SKAdnetwork, Apple’s framework for campaign measurement that adheres to these new privacy measures.

And to offer a more complete report of iOS app campaign conversions, Google Ads may use statistical models based on aggregated and anonymous data from users who have previously signed into Google services; these models predict iOS app conversions that Google Ads was unable to observe directly.

That allows Google Ads to provide more complete reporting on iOS app campaign behaviour that combines observed and modelled conversions. More: About mobile app conversion tracking

How Apple's App Store Policy Changes May Limit Your Facebook Marketing Efforts

Apple has announced changes with iOS 14 that will impact how Facebook receives and processes conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel.

Advertisers that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target and report on web conversion events from any of Facebook's business tools will be affected.

Specifically, Apple will begin to require that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to users on iOS 14 devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless users opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt.

As more people, opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

The proposed changes will significantly impact the way you can run ads, measure performance and engage your target audience.

Under Apple’s new policy, advertisers will be limited in their ability to measure the performance of iOS 14 app install campaigns on Facebook. For iOS 14 app install campaigns, reporting will need to rely on data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API for mobile app installs and other app conversion events.

Similar limitations will apply to the measurement of some web conversion events because of reporting limitations from iOS 14 devices.

The following limitations are expected across Facebook's Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, and the Ads Insights API.

  • Delayed reporting: Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days.

  • Estimated results: For iOS 14 app install campaigns, the SKAdNetwork API will report results to Facebook, aggregated and statistical modelling may be used to account for conversions from iOS 14 users.

  • No support for breakdowns: For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported.

Targeting limitations: As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences, and website Custom Audiences may decrease and the size of your retargeting audiences may decrease.

We encourage you to share this information within your organisation and develop a plan to address this disruption to your existing marketing efforts.

Please contact us to help you get a better return on your app and website marketing efforts today!

About the author:

Seiffeddeen Keilani is a Google Ads specialist and founder of the S2HA2R (www.s2ha2r.com).