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  • Writer's pictureScott Kaplan

Apple Search Ads in an IDFA-Less World

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

As you’re probably aware, Apple, with its Q1 2021 release of iOS 14 privacy changes that will make its Identifier for Ads (IDFA), opt-in by default. Industry leaders universally are convinced the majority of users will not opt-in. The result? The IDFA -- the unique identifier advertisers use to track downstream ad performance (among other benefits) -- will be dead. Forbes was one of the first to break it down a couple weeks ago. The concern is that this change will severely hinder advertisers’ ability to track ad campaign performance.

“How is this going to impact Apple Search Ads?” you might ask. My response -- and what experts are telling me -- “It’s too early to tell.” My approach and recommendation -- stay informed, be patient, and prepare (as best you can).

Stay Informed

The mobile growth community is replete with thought leaders and resources. I strongly recommend the following (and am open to suggestions for others to add):

I liken IDFA-geddon to the stock market. Take a longer term view. Don’t react or make rash decisions. News is swirling daily. Caveat is if you’ve got actionable intel from those in the know.

Be Patient

Things like this can take a while to shake out. Practice patience. And in light of perpetual wait that is 2020, you should be well-schooled at that.


Archive as much historical data from your MMPs as possible with as much granularity as possible. This encompasses all networks, not just Apple Search Ads (ASA). With respect ASA, get campaign, ad group, and keyword data, segmented by day. In the event there is data loss for those dimensions, you can lean on historical data to make approximations.

How are you prepping for IDFA-geddon? How do you think it will impact Apple Search Ads?

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