And why closing the feedback loop is crucial for both to be possible
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, spoke of a recent announcement that “The App Store is a place where dreamy and innovative people can bring their ideas to life and where users can find safe and reliable tools for improve their lives…”.
For better user privacy, do users really need to forgo their experience and the value they get from their favorite apps? Is a replacement really necessary, or can they both coexist?
Privacy is a fundamental human right, a core value shared by both Apple and AppsFlyer. Over the years, and most recently at the last world developer conference, Apple has proven that there is a way to maintain privacy excellence e of the user experience. Let’s review some of the new privacy improvements made by Apple:
- Photos – Now, when you give permission for an app to access your photos, you can only allow access to specific photos instead of your entire photo gallery.
- Contacts – With iOS14, you won’t need to share your entire contact list with the apps, they will only have access to those they actually need to deliver what was promised.
- Wi-Fi – Now devices will not broadcast their MAC address (a persistent, non-resettable ID) to any Wi-Fi hotspots near you.
- camera and microphone – Now you will have a clear callsign when an app is using your camera and microphone.
None of these privacy enhancements compromise the user experience or the value your device or app receives. On the contrary, these measures increase the confidence of the user in the App Store economy. Eventually, these measures will be perceived as a win for everyone – consumers, app developers and the App Store economy as a whole.
The IDFA/ATT change
Following these important improvements, Apple introduced the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, which, in essence, eliminates IDFA.
IDFA is a great tool that enables the success of the App Store economy. On the other hand, it has some privacy issues, since it can be used in different ways, some of which can end up negatively affecting the user’s privacy. IDFA is not inherently “Good” Where “ample” for users. It all depends on your usage.
IDFA risks (the “bad” side)
IDFAs can be used to track users across apps, profile users without their consent, or worse yet, collect GPS data from users across apps. Additionally, they can be used in questionable practices such as selling consumer data or exchanging that data to direct other users. Apple is trying to get rid of these practices on its platform, which is, without a doubt, a great move.
IDFA benefits (the “good” side)
In many cases, IDFA is used to ensure the best possible user experience and the greatest value for consumers.
If you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it. There is no doubt that measurement, or ending the feedback loop with attribution, is essential to improving the user experience. Did the user find value in what was offered to him? Was the user experience good?
To truly understand and measure the user journey, you don’t need to track across apps, profile, let alone sell user data. Developers measure user activity within the scope of the apps themselves, connecting them to their own media such as websites, social media platforms, emails, user referrals, and the very advertisements that users interacted with to install of the application.
App Store Monetization and Savings
Measurement makes it possible for developers to monetize their work so they can continue to innovate and create better products for their users. On the other hand, measurement ensures that these developers present content that is relevant and attractive to future and current users, rather than shooting blinds.
Furthermore, IDFA has introduced a huge privacy improvement compared to its predecessor, UDID, with the ability to restart and opt-out. Without IDFA or an appropriate substitute, some in the ecosystem may find themselves pressured to find other ways out, or to use even more invasive techniques.
Optimal privacy and user experience can coexist
As an example, let’s think about cars. No one would suggest that we stop using cars altogether, even though they are very dangerous. Likewise, we believe that there are ways to increase user privacy e improve your experience, which would be a win for everyone.
For the past two years, we have been preparing for an ecosystem without IDFA. We’ve been investing in several products and solutions, which, together with our ongoing investment in security and privacy, made us very well prepared for future iOS14 updates. We are excited to share our immediate solutions with our customers and partners in the days and weeks ahead, and continue discussions with Apple about long-term ideas for maintaining the highest levels of privacy e possible user experience.
“In these challenging and unstable times, the App Store offers us lasting opportunities for entrepreneurship, health, wellness, education and job creation, helping people quickly adapt to a challenging world. We are committed to further supporting and supporting the App Store community — from small developer stores in any country in the world to large businesses employing thousands of workers — as it continues to drive innovation, create jobs and drive economic growth in towards the future.” Tim Cook