The future of the App Store economy in a privacy-centric world

Oren Kaniel Oren Kaniel Jun 24, 2020

On June 22, during WWDC 2020, Apple announced several privacy-related updates that will take effect with the release of iOS 14 later this year. As an Apple Search Ads Partner, we anticipated that Apple would continue its commitment to creating a user-friendly, privacy-focused mobile ecosystem. While we expect that the ad details will still evolve with the iOS 14 beta releases, we believe Apple’s announcement, as it stands now, will create significant challenges for partners, customers and the app economy in general. .

AppsFlyer is fully aligned with Apple’s commitment to privacy and the responsible use of user data. We are also technologically prepared to provide customers with an accurate assignment solution that puts end-user privacy first, even when certain identifiers are missing.

AppsFlyer emerged in 2011 as a result of a major change in the industry — the creation of the App Store. At the time, application developers faced measurement and attribution challenges that didn’t allow them to understand their users or improve their experience. Although many believed that attribution was not possible, we felt that this problem should be resolved, one way or another, by us or others. Attribution and measurement quickly became a fundamental part of the ecosystem and enabled the success of the entire App Store economy. Over time, attribution has become even more challenging, with an increase in the complexity of platforms, methods and major changes in the industry. For example, the discontinuation of UDID and MAC addresses (both were major moves by Apple), and several platform changes led us to provide a measurement abstraction layer and accurate attribution data that allowed application developers to grow while maintaining the privacy and security always in mind. In fact, the more complex the industry became, the more value AppsFlyer delivered.

Attribution is about measuring value to end users by providing insights into the customer lifecycle. After all, how can application developers know if they’ve been able to deliver value without feedback in the form of attribution? How can they improve their apps and experiences without measurement? Attribution is at the heart of marketing. Without a precise assignment, marketers shoot all over the place without hitting a single target, and the end-user experience suffers.

The absence or inaccuracy of attribution also means that application developers cannot monetize their work; iOS developers are generating tens of billions of dollars in ad revenue, which is in danger of disappearing without proper metrics. Thus, some of these revenues are reinvested in the ecosystem to improve and develop new products. This is the ecosystem that I fell in love with 10 years ago and that I remain fully committed to today.

We all learned during COVID-19 that change can be turned into opportunity and spur innovation. While we think about the short-term challenges posed by these recent changes, I’m also excited about the opportunities they will open for us as a company and for the application economy as a whole. Some of these are already underway in the form of strategic innovation projects, and others in the use of our existing products, which help application developers to generate more value for their end users.

As a global attribution leader, we are obsessed with our customers and the economics of the App Store. We are fully committed to working on these solutions in collaboration with Apple and the rest of the community to help app developers thrive and build trust through privacy improvements. That’s why we’ve hosted expert discussion groups, and we’ll continue to encourage dialogue over the coming days and weeks with everyone in the industry: app developers and marketers, partners, agencies, attribution companies, privacy executives, and business leaders from around the world, who share our passion for the future of privacy and the economy of the App Store. If you are interested in participating in these conversations, register here.

Apple's IDFA mobile AppsFlyer ecosystem at WWDC

AppsFlyer’s history has been shaped by industry changes and challenges that have driven creativity and innovation, making our company what it is today. We’ve faced similar changes in the past, and we’ve always grown as a result. I assure our customers and partners that this case is no exception.

Let’s invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs

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