Written by Paul Wright, Managing Director UK, FR, ME & Turkey, AppsFlyer
When Apple first announced that it would enforce an opt-in mechanism as part of its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework in iOS 14, the mobile app industry entered a period of uncertainty. As per the new policy, users would have to actively agree to allow an app to use their Apple IDFA identifier for various purposes including attribution and ad targeting.
Following the announcement, large segments of the mobile marketing industry believed that the IDFA would become all but obsolete. Multiple estimates of the opt-in rate surfaced, some as low as 2% and others as high as 20%, with most closer to the lower end. Single digit adoption rates were the expected outcome with the assumption being that as privacy takes center stage in public perception, very few users would opt-in to ‘tracking’.
Fast forward to April 2021, with Apple’s enforcement of ATT most likely around the corner, opt-in numbers have turned out to be quite different. It seems that in reality, opt-in rates are much higher than previously anticipated: 41% overall weighted average, where totals are used; and 28% average per app where each app has equal weight regardless of its size.
Gaming Still Lags
While these initial results are good news, there is an important takeaway for the gaming industry. Apart from the higher than expected opt-in rates, what is most striking in this data is the gap between opt-ins for non-gaming and gaming apps (42% vs. 30%). It appears that lower brand affinity in gaming leads to much lower opt-in rates. Although brand equity is on the rise in gaming, it is mostly relevant only for the largest studios.
In the gaming space, end-users adopt an experimental mindset. They simply try out new games without paying much attention to the brand behind them. Their initial connection to a game is almost non-existent, and any message that asks for tracking permissions is treated with caution.
Many non-gaming apps, on the other hand, have a stronger brand affinity and are known to end users. With higher levels of trust, opt-in rates rise. The intent is also stronger with these apps ― for example, when looking to buy a new laptop, to order food, or to subscribe to a yoga course.
What Gaming Apps Can Do to Level Up
With IDFA set to roll out, mobile gaming companies can glean insights from early adopters and large players as they look to drive up opt-in rates.
Timing — Finding the precise moment in the user journey to prompt the user with the ATT dialogue is a key factor to consider. For example, if you are able to increase trust, or better present the value of your product, the chances of opting-in increase compared to showing the prompt upon first app launch.
Pre-ATT prompt — I highly recommend game developers use a “pre-ATT prompt”, basically gating the Apple ATT dialogue behind your own native prompt. That native prompt is entirely yours, so you can customize the design, timing, and messaging to best fit your app – and ultimately show users the value of opting-in such as:
- Help your app stay free
- Show users content that is relevant to them
- Prohibit use of their data for any purpose other than providing them with relevant experiences
However, it’s important to make sure not to incentivize users to opt-in with discounts or other offers as this is against Apple’s terms.
As Apple begins to implement its ATT framework, higher opt-in rates can help gaming app owners in many ways ― maintaining communication with end users thanks to a far more relevant/contextual experience, ad monetization, more granular attribution, remarketing towards consented users, and much more. Making a few subtle changes can significantly increase the number of consented users, which can be highly beneficial for iOS gaming apps.