iOS 15 rollout: What it means for marketers
Apple’s latest OS update, iOS 15, is scheduled for release globally today. While the leadup to this rollout hasn’t been as dramatic for the industry as the months preceding iOS 14’s release in September 2020, or iOS 14.5 in April of this year, there are changes and updates that marketers, developers and advertisers should be aware of. As Apple continues its focus on user privacy and data protection, the world of mobile marketing and advertising is adapting, and Adjust is constantly working with Apple to find solutions that prioritize users’ control over their data.
Some of the new features, like the update to how SKAdNetwork postbacks work and Mail Privacy Protection, will go live immediately with the first rollout of iOS 15. Others, such as App Privacy Report and iCloud Private Relay, will be staggered and released with upcoming versions.
Key features and updates include:
- SKAdNetwork winning postback copies for developers
App developers are now able to define an endpoint that will receive copies of “winning” postbacks sent from SKAdNetwork. These postbacks were previously sent to ad networks which could then forward them to developers. The new process means a welcome increase in transparency for advertisers, giving ownership over their data from install through to post-install.
- Mail privacy protection
Once a user has updated to iOS 15, the next time they open Apple Mail, they’ll be served a prompt and will be given new data-sharing configuration options. The two most important things here are that users can hide their IP address and location and anonymize tracking of email opens. If the user chooses to toggle these options on, marketers will no longer have visibility over metrics like open rates on email campaigns. Third-party trackers will also no longer have access to IP addresses, meaning for mobile marketers, visibility over email campaigns will be impacted and strategies will need to be revisited.
- Hide my email
Offered as part of the iCloud+ subscription, Hide My Email allows iOS users to hide or mask their email address with a generated one when completing an online form. Emails that are sent to the fake email address are then forwarded to the legitimate email address. This is expected to be used most commonly when an email address is required to sign up to a store, to a newsletter, or to make a purchase, and it’s aimed at protecting users from spam or from having their email kept in databases. If a user is no longer interested in receiving emails, they can simply delete the mask address created for a specific sign-up.
App Privacy Report
Currently scheduled for release with a later iOS 15 version, App Privacy Report will allow users to record network activity from specific apps installed on their device for up to 7 days at a time. The report will also provide users with information on the third-party domains that the installed apps contact most frequently.
In preparation for this, we recommend creating a communications strategy for your users to make sure the reason for the process of communication with MMPs, third-party tools, your CMS etc. is clear.
iCloud Private Relay and IP address blocking
Private Relay is another feature that will be available to iCloud+ subscribers. Set for rollout with a later version, Private Relay will still be in public beta when iOS 15 launches. Designed to provide additional user privacy by redirecting specific types of network traffic from an iOS device through Apple servers, it hides the real IP address of a user and masks it with a fake one based on a rough location. This means that advertisers can no longer see the IP addresses or locations of users and can therefore not use browsing history to build user profiles.
Custom product pages
As we explored in a recent blog post, product page optimization and custom product pages will allow marketers and developers to create more relevant, custom pages on the App Store. These pages enable a new level of personalization as they can be designed for up to 35 specific target audiences, linked to individual campaigns and used to improve and develop paid UA strategies on iOS.