iOS 15: new challenge by Apple

New restrictions from iOS 15. Time to panic?

A new update of the iPhone operating system has recently been released: iOS 15. There are nice additions to the interface and several applications, and no good news for advertisers, unfortunately.

What to do? Panic is definitely no help here. Let us rather understand the changes and determine tactics for further work.

The fuss in digital marketing was first caused by the iOS 14.5 update released in spring 2021. Here are just some of its "surprises":

— Invisible users. Now, to get access to the IDFA and track the device activity, you need to ask for permission. Only 38% of iPhone owners agreed to this so far. So, farewell, personalized in-app ads.
— The audience sees less relevant ads, so the conversion cost is growing rapidly. Campaign optimization is also more difficult, since there’s a lack of data for targeting and analysis. The strategies and experience accumulated over the years can be sadly cried over.
— Facebook Ads Manager suffered the most: retargeting audiences reduction, mandatory domain verification (we say "bye" to micro landing pages and lead generators), events and conversions reporting delay, the uninteresting SKAdNetwork protocol for tracking the campaigns effectiveness tracking — nothing but frustration.

How to meet Apple's iOS 14.5 challenge?

In a pretty logical way:
— Create separate campaigns for iOS and Android users. When it comes to ads, everything is fine with the latter so far. Take maximum profit from this traffic source. Besides, 85% of all mobile devices in the world work on Android today.
— For an audience with iOS 14 and later versions, launch individual campaigns, ideally from another Facebook advertising account. And if you previously practiced "reach and frequency" traffic buying, you should quit this method in favor of an auction, and choose something other than conversions as a campaign goal.
— Play by Apple and FB rules. If you want to continue earning on large platforms, you will have to follow their requirements. First, fulfill all the conditions, and then look for new life hacks on how to work better with these conditions. Not the other way around. Otherwise, welcome to the ban.

What does iOS 15 have to add?

Obviously, advertising on Apple devices after iOS 14 will not be the same. Has iOS 15 something to add? Oh, yes!

With the advent of anti-tracking features in iOS 14, Apple received a barrage of criticism. But why? Previously, it was possible to prohibit one-click tracking in third-party applications, but not in Apple system programs. More precisely, it was always possible through the settings, but who will get there?

It seems that due to claims against iOS 14 and amid the huge antitrust case, Apple decided to make concessions: in iOS 15, tracking notifications appear in the App Store and Apple News.

Attentive users noticed a curious detail: Apple uses the word "personalization" in its applications, and "tracking" for third-party products. It is clearly visible where the emphasis is placed.

Moreover, with the release of iOS 15, the so-called “calendar push" will most likely be unavailable to affiliates. Developers must have done some magic with notifications restrictions here as well, but there’s no accurate information yet. We will keep you informed.

Another new feature of iOS 15 is iCloud Private Relay, Apple's VPN-like feature. It encrypts outgoing user traffic on the network, passing it through two independent servers. It makes digital data collection impossible, so it is another blow to targeted ads. However, if you know some details, Private Relay is no problem:

— iCloud Private Relay encrypts traffic that passes over the insecure HTTP protocol. Application developers just need to switch to HTTPS and enjoy life as before.
— The service only works with Safari. Move your targeting to other browsers and be happy.

What conclusions can be drawn?

iOS as an advertising platform doesn’t disappear, but it’s changing, and we have to adapt to these changes:

— Traffic has become more expensive. It's sad, but quite natural. In the long term, traffic is gradually but steadily getting more expensive. That's how the advertising market works.
— Ads accuracy has decreased. It’s very sad, but inevitable, especially in companies like Apple. IT giants had been taking advantage of the lack of regulation in personal data usage and collecting private information about users without their consent for years. Now corporations go to court and rush to do better, while advertisers spoiled by narrow targeting are forced to adapt their campaigns to new realities.

And how are things at Galaksion?

In general, the release of iOS 15 did not affect our stable traffic flow and prices a lot. We can note the following though:
— iPhone owners update their devices to a fresh OS quite quickly, so we’ve seen a notable increase in traffic both after the release of iOS 14 and now on iOS 15.
— For the other versions of iOS, there is quite a logical reduction of traffic and CPM, as users are gradually switching to iOS 15.

Of course, iOS updates have not passed our network unnoticed, but the Galaksion team is confidently adapting to the changes. In some aspects, we won a little since income and traffic volumes increased. We don't envy Facebook at the moment. What we do is rejoice in the stability of ad networks and keep our finger on the pulse.

So stay (or join if you are not with us yet): we’ll keep having fun with direct traffic and high ROI here — won't be boring!