Addressing iOS users is getting harder

Today Apple announced that iOS 10 users can blank entirely their Device IDs (“IDFA”) to advertising SDKs and mobile browsers.

No short term impact

Not a big news in itself, as few users have opted in to blank their device IDs  – 17% according to a recent study, much less in our network -. iOS 9 already had a similar block feature, that still allowed advertisers to use opted-out Device IDs for cross device targeting, reporting and conversion tracking.

After today’s change, advertisers will simply rely more on device fingerprinting to uniquely identify iOS users that opted out of sharing their Device IDs.

But once more Apple is tightening the screw on programmatic advertisers.

A worrying long term trend

Safari has long been a cookieless environment, and the iOS app ecosystem it taking that direction.

Clearly, advertising platforms should start looking seriously into fingerprinting technology and location-based profiling, to ensure iOS users can be addressed in the long run.

Device fingerprinting to the rescue

AdTruth, and BlueCava offer technology to probabilistically identify a device based on its physical characteristics, IP patterns and other behavioral factors.

These vendors claim to be a reliable substitute for the hardware’s Device ID in 94% of cases. Our internal tests have shown a lower but still acceptable match rate within our network.

Alternatively, Augur.js in an open source library to do device fingerprinting. We haven’t tried it, but worth considering.