Cross-promotion and iOS 14.5+: Utilizing the IDFV and attribution data post IDFA
Tiahn Wetzler, Senior Manager, Content & Editorial, Adjust, Sep 15, 2021.
If a developer or studio has more than one app, they can play the role of the publisher and the advertiser by leveraging cross-promotion. This method of user acquisition (UA) is most frequently used in hyper casual games, where gamers watch twice as many ads and download around 10x more games than in the overall gaming vertical. If you have a portfolio of apps in your suite or publisher account, it’s still possible to deterministically target and measure using the Identifier for Vendors (IDFV) — a crucial point in the post-IDFA UA ecosystem.
Using the IDFV, even if a user has opted out, attribution can still be performed from any cross-promotion campaigns. For publishers on iOS 14.5+, even outside of hyper casual, cross-promotion could play a huge role in the future of app retargeting as a means to leverage high value users across a publisher account.
Cross-promotion also helps increase opt-in rates, making it a tactic that developers can’t ignore.
Cross-promotion: Standard for hyper casual advertisers
Within the high-churn vertical of hyper casual gaming, cross-promotional ad placements have become the standard when it comes to combating this user turn-over. As players get closer to reaching the churn point in the user journey, publishers push ads for other titles in their suite, thereby increasing the lifecycle of a user portfolio-wide and increasing the time frame in which to monetize them. This also has a trickle effect of creating value by increasing the given studio’s overall visibility (e.g. more downloads means better rankings on the app store) and sustaining its user base by consistently giving players new content.
The pay-off for displaying cross-promotional ads means less space to push for paid impressions — a typical means of monetization in hyper casuals. If the average retention rate at the portfolio level can be improved, however, the need to cross-promote decreases, making space for more paid impressions. A 5% increase in retention portfolio-wide can lead to anything from a 30% to 100% increase in revenue.
Publishers need to find the sweet spot between cross-promotion and paid impressions.
Another key differentiator is that app developers who own considerable inventory for cross-promotion are at an advantage in terms of opt-in since, according to Adjust data, users seem more likely to consent when referred to another app developed by the same company (52.84% vs. a 27.35% network average). This means that for cross-promoted users who have opted in, the average CPI is higher because you can serve them targeted ads and work towards slowly decreasing the overall share of ads that are cross-promotion.
What is the IDFV and how is it different from the IDFA?
Widely used for cross-promotion, the IDFV is a code assigned to all apps by one developer, which is then shared across all apps by that developer on an Apple device. The value of the IDFV is the same for apps from the same developer running on the same device. IDFVs are crucial for developers running cross-promotional campaigns on iOS as they can be acquired even if the user has opted out of ad tracking. As long as the IDFV is passed in the tracker URL, it can provide marketers with accurate attribution data for iOS campaigns.
This is distinctly different to the IDFA, which is a random device identifier assigned by Apple to a user’s device. Advertisers use this to track the data of opted-in users so they can deliver customized advertisements. The IDFA is assigned at the device level, whereas the IDFV is assigned to all apps belonging to one publisher and does not persist once all apps from that vendor are uninstalled.
Cross-promotion post IDFA: Why the IDFV is crucial
The IDFV is still accessible, meaning that publishers with a portfolio of apps can continue cross-promotion or think about adapting their strategies to include it more.
While the IDFV has been used for cross-promotion since well before iOS 14 was announced, using it to run retargeting campaigns and re-engage dormant users who are active in other apps within a publisher account is a strategy that could make it a more prominent feature of retargeting campaigns. We may see acquisitions and mergers of studios occurring as developers aim to grow a suite of apps in which they can effectively cross-promote. The most crucial thing to note and understand is that with the IDFV, you can still deterministically target and measure UA campaigns and gain real-time attribution from Adjust.
Cross-promotion outside of hyper casual - what can other verticals learn?
Cross-promotion has typically been most successful for hyper casual developers because of the naturally high churn rate the game-style lends itself towards. Because of the simple game mechanics, it’s also relatively straightforward to produce new titles to keep players engaged with new content. This doesn’t mean that cross-promotion is by nature ineffective for other verticals, however. The key factors are that the publisher has more than one app and that the user base could be interested in or engaged with other apps within that suite.
For example, imagine you’re an e-commerce app focused primarily on selling clothing. You might develop, acquire, or already have another app in your suite that sells beauty products. Cross-promotion in this scenario could be an extremely effective UA method. Similarly, a publisher with a workout app might also have a meditation or health-eating related app in their suite. Apps within the same vertical will typically work well as part of a cross-promotion strategy.
To learn more about cross-promotion and attribution using the IDFV, you can request a demo here. For the latest on iOS 14.5+ and to keep up with our products, solutions and insights, you can visit our resource center here.