Data privacy is no doubt the hot topic of the moment and there are recent developments initiated by the tech giants that could significantly affect your apps.

There are currently over 2.7 billion smartphone users in the world right now, each with approximately between 60 and 90 apps downloaded. The average person then spends around 2hrs and 15mins a day on these apps. That’s a lot of users giving a lot of data to a lot of people; especially when 75% of apps are only used once after install. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the implementation of GDPR in Europe and the highly televised hearing from Facebook’s Zuckerberg, data privacy has certainly been highlighted more than ever. With Facebook at the eye of the storm, Twitter announcing they are removing third-party data sources for advertisers and Apple making some huge privacy changes for iOS 13, we have taken a look at 5 ways data privacy may affect your apps and your marketing efforts in the future.

1. iOS13 will be a killer on Bluetooth

iOS13 will have a tonne of new data privacy features. These come hand in hand with a need for greater transparency about what data an app is going to use. One of the most disruptive of the new features is the native Bluetooth pop-up. If your app uses Bluetooth, whether it be for the user to connect to other hardware or for tracking through beacons, this change will affect you and your app. As app marketers, we don’t mind in-app pop-ups as we can often prime these to increase the likelihood of a user accepting location sharing or push notifications. Priming is key for iOS as you only get one shot at gaining consent from these native pop-ups (see more on how to increase opt-ins for push notifications from our blog). Apple, however, have said this won’t be the case for Bluetooth consent. This pop-up will occur when the app is first launched and won’t be customisable. Stinker

2. Apple plan to block VoIP

VoIP (voice over IP) is the transfer of voice of multimedia content over IP. Or more simply, it’s a system used by messaging apps that allow for calls to be made. Currently VoIP is allowed to run in the background, even if the app isn’t open, as they allow for the apps to connect calls faster. The most visible apps that use these systems are Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. What does this have to do with Apple and iOS13? Upon the launch of iOS13, apps will no longer be able to use these systems for calls and messages if the app isn’t in use. This means that if your app ran these in the background it will need to be restructured so that it will comply with these new iOS13 rules. However, despite iOS13 coming in September 2019, ahead of the new iPhone later this year, Apple have also stated they will give app developers a grace period until April 2020 to make the required changes to their apps.

3. LAT may give you a lat of headaches

LAT (Limit Ad Tracking) is a feature that Apple initially introduced way back in 2016 on iOS10 that gives the user the ability to opt out of having an ID for Advertisers (IDFA). Once this is toggled on, the user will appear as a blank ID for advertisers, meaning that the user won’t get targeted as efficiently, as that bank of information normally used for targeting ads won’t be there. Although this is three years old, it is apparent that data privacy is on the minds of Apple users. Research shows that as of January 2019, over a third of Apple users had this feature turned on (double the figure from March of the year before).

How will this affect your campaigns? It could mean that users who have been acquired through your Apple Search Ads campaigns may slip through the net. Without being able to correctly attribute the install, these users can now fall into your organic acquisition pool and not the paid acquisition channels that they actually came from. For a deeper dive on this topic, Andrea Raggi has a cracking article from ASO Stack Medium page, linked here: How to crack Limit Ad Tracking’s secrets for effective Apple Search Ads Advertising.

4. Location, Location, Location

Apple have announced iOS13 will have a huge crackdown on location tracking. This has affected three areas: FindMy (the app for locating lost devices and your friends), apps that want access to your location and metadata on photos. 

  • FindMy has had a revamp with an offline mode where its location is beamed by Bluetooth with the signal scrambled so that only the owner, and not even Apple, will be able to track it. 
  • Apple has also announced how they will inform users as to which apps track their location and how often the apps do it. They have even said they will also show a small map to indicate specifically where the user has been tracked. 
  • Metadata from your photos are usually stored to capture information such as the location the photo was taken, and most platforms didn’t strip this data. Well, now the user can do it themselves, allowing that hidden quirky bar to stay just that. 

5. Ads just got a little bit harder

Twitter recently announced that it is planning to pull the plug on third-party customer data sources from its ad-buying system. The last time a social media giant did this was Facebook in the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This is another huge step in the post GDPR/CCPA world. This move means that although third party data can still be used, advertisers will have to buy it themselves and Twitter will still hold the right to deny data sources. AdExchange’s Allison Schiff goes into more detail on this here and also gains insight from industry execs which you can find here: Twitter Shutting Off Third-Party Data: This Isn’t Ad Buyers’ First Rodeo.

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