IDFA Doomsday Arrives

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Blog, Digital Advertising, Digital Strategy, Smirk's Take, Social Media

The time has come. On April 26th, Apple officially released iOS 14.5. The software update marks the beginning of AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework enforcement.

This change will allow Apple users the ability to opt-out of giving apps access to their device’s advertising identifier, a tool that gives developers information on a user’s device habits which then shape personalized advertising options. Without sure access to this third-party device data, marketers’ retargeting ability will be immediately impacted.

It’s predicted that Facebook will take a hit of up to $5 billion with this enforcement in place — which explains the platform’s very public discourse against Apple in response to their highly-anticipated update.

Prioritizing User Privacy

The ATT framework is intended to protect the privacy of Apple’s users by forcing apps to request permission before collecting someone’s information. Developers must also be upfront about how they’re intending to use the provided personal information.


Privacy means peace of mind, it means security, and it means you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own data. Our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make.

Craig Federighi
Apple Senior VP

Limiting Access

As we’ve talked about previously, this update is predicted to significantly impact the way marketers receive information from users and retarget to them. With the mobile Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) now an opt-in feature, it’s expected that the amount of information available to marketers will be slim to none. 85% of consumers admit they would opt out of tracking when given the option.

Transitioning Your Data Collection

With these changes in mind and Google’s plan to phase out cookies, it’s vital to begin strategizing alternate ways to reach your target audience. You will no longer be able to fully rely on IDFA, other broad data identifiers or third-party tracking sources.

If you haven’t already, turn your focus onto first and second-party data collection — that’s information that you gather directly from your prospects, such as email addresses, or receive from a trusted partner.

Always Be Adaptable

The iOS 14.5 update has been looming since last summer, but it’s still catching some marketers by surprise. Although 33% of advertisers admitted they are likely to reduce mobile ad spend moving forward, we caution against reactively cutting any budgets without a plan in place — now’s not the time to limit your advertising, but to advertise smarter.

Having a solid digital advertising strategy is always important, but you have to be prepared to shift your focus at a moment’s notice. This update is no doubt going to completely change data collection within the industry from here on out. Need some advice on how to pivot your current approach to fit these changes? Let’s connect.