RIP Retargeting: Apple Kills IDFA with iOS 14

by | Jul 28, 2020

Giving Users the Option to Opt-Out

Apple announced a change that could signify the end of personalized ads. With the iOS 14 update — rumored to roll out in September — users will be greeted with a new privacy option that will ultimately alter the advertising landscape as we know it.

Now upon opening, apps will be required to display an option to “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track”. Specifically, the popup will intimidatingly state “[Name of App] would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.” There is expected to be an overwhelming number of users that opt-out of this feature, leaving as little as a 10-20% opt-in rate.

How This Could Impact Your Advertising

Currently, a majority of apps on the iOS market utilize the IDFA (Identifiers for Advertisers). This gives advertisers and developers information on user’s habits for personalized advertising options. Many see this update as the end of the IDFA and retargeting altogether.

Further, it’s a direct impact on advertisers’ ability to track what a user is doing on their website and what product or services pages they may be visiting, even if they have the Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics set up on the backend.


It's impossible to overstate how impactful this change is: almost every large mobile-first business is completely dependent on performance marketing on mobile for revenue growth. Mobile app developers across every vertical are now scrambling to come up with a strategy for continuing operations as iOS 14 rolls out.

Eric Seufert
Heracles Mobil Consultant

1. Limiting Information Available

A retargeted ad typically has a 10x higher CTR (click-through rate) than a regular display ad. Retargeting was one of the most common uses of personal information across Google, Facebook, and other major advertising platforms.

Marketers were able to identify people who interacted with a digital ad or their website and remarket those products or services to them through additional ads in hopes of achieving the desired conversion. This upcoming shift will make it significantly more difficult to remarket to any Apple user that has opted-out of tracking.

2. Apple vs. Android Tracking

While this move will impact the information provided by Apple users, advertisers still have access to Android users’ habits in addition to data from PCs. With a 76% market share, Android continues to be the dominating operating system worldwide.

However, based on past behaviors, many expect that both Android and Google systems will follow suit with Apple and introduce their own opt-out feature.

3. Adjusting Your Ad Spend and Copy

A large number of brands keep retargeting top-of-mind when it comes to digital ad spends. 68% of marketing agencies and 49% of brands have reallocated their budget to focus on retargeting. With the absence of this tactic, many will have to readjust where they focus their money and how they structure their ads.

How to Adapt Your Advertising & Marketing Strategy

Optimizing your ad strategy to be effective without relying as heavily on retargeting is key to adapting to this new era of advertising. In addition to paid efforts, take time to evaluate your organic content and look for opportunities to both improve and personalize your content.

The Importance of Organic Content

Without the ability to target ads towards people based on their past behaviors, your organic content will be crucial to attracting users. Your brand’s everyday online presence is crucial to both introducing new prospects to your brand as well as speaking directly to people who have already seen an ad of your or bounced from your website.

Ensuring your site, social platforms, and blogs are strong enough to stand on their own without the aid of retargeting will be essential. In addition, engaging with your audience is even more highly encouraged than before. You want your viewers to feel invested in your brand and that your content adds value.

Moving Forward

This new privacy feature will limit incoming information regarding iOS users’ habits significantly. However, there are a few viable alternatives that could be helpful to brands.

The Minority Who Opt-In

Come September, there will still be that small segment of people that agree to opt-in and share their information with Apple. Given that these users will not represent the majority, it will still give a glimpse into how someone interacted with their iOS app and could be extrapolated on.

Registration Information

Alternative data sources can be utilized to build your advertising strategy. If your app requires registration, you can use the email address and other information provided by the user to track who is interacting with your app. In turn, this contact information can be uploaded to major advertisers, such as Facebook, where these users can be targeted.

Organic User Engagement

Another way to assess your audience is to take into account who’s currently engaging with your social content on various platforms. This can be in terms of who follows you on Instagram, who comments on your Facebook, or who favorites your tweets. How old are they? Where do they live? When are they online?

Get creative on how to retrieve more information about your audience to tailor your content and ad campaign targeting accordingly.

Assessing Your Own Content

Developing a strong organic presence and taking full advantage of the information still available about your audience is imperative with this new iOS update on the horizon.

How should your brand adjust to the iOS update? Need help evaluating your online presence or digital advertising strategy? The Smirk team is here to help.

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