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How Will iOS 14 Impact Location-Based Marketing, Advertising and Reveal Mobile?

August 10, 2020 by Reveal Mobile

Quick Hit:

  • iOS Supply will initially dip and then steadily re-build because Apps are highly motivated to help consumers understand the value exchange for shared data
  • The value of privacy compliant location data will increase
  • Reveal Mobile supports greater transparency and privacy compliance efforts

iOS 14 is the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system launching in September. When the new Apple OS is installed on a user’s device, apps that want to use the Identifier for Advertising (IDFA) must request access from the user. To enable this, users are shown a dialog box. If a user does not opt in, the app will not get access to the IDFA, and it will not be available to advertisers who wish to use it for analytics, audience targeting or attribution. 

Because the IDFA fuels much of the geotargeted advertising industry, it’s worth describing how we believe iOS 14 will impact the digital marketer’s ability to target consumers using Apple’s IDFA. Of course, the extent of iOS 14’s impact on geotargeting depends entirely on consumer behavior and whether they opt-in to use of the IDFA. 

That said, iOS 14 will likely impact Reveal Mobile in a few ways. First, a few baseline considerations that inform our perspective:

  • Our supply of privacy-compliant location data comes from numerous apps, app platforms and SDK providers, each of them gathering location data from dozens of apps across iOS and Android devices. 
    • Our supply of location data from Android devices is not affected by iOS 14. 
  • Any iPhone app that has not been updated to ask users to opt in will no longer be able to send location data to third parties, including Reveal Mobile, for any device that has updated to iOS 14.
  • Consumers tend to value convenience over privacy. Research from eMarketer shows that upwards of 70% of U.S. consumers are willing to share location data for select potential benefits, including saving money, getting discounts discounts and rewards, and, notably, “making my life more convenient.” (Location Intelligence 2020, eMarketer)
  • Location sharing opt-ins have reached their highest rates in years following COVID19-related lockdowns. The number of mobile device users opting in to location sharing has jumped 10.7% per month between March and June 2020 — a 39% growth rate. (The State of Global Mobile Engagement 2020, Airship)

The most significant impact to Reveal Mobile will be the availability of opted-in location data from Apple devices. Based on our internal analysis, we expect to see a reduction in the number of iOS devices from which we receive location data.

When iOS 14 is first released, location data from Apple devices could drop as much as 50 percent. After that initial decline, we expect location data from iOS devices to recover over time, possibly to 80 percent of previous levels. As iOS app developers catch up to the new iOS 14 requirements, the supply of location data from Apple devices will start to come back.

Within a broader context, the number of total monthly active users (MAUs) Reveal Mobile sees could waver 20 percent in the near term, given that a majority of our location data is currently sourced from Android devices. 

As you would expect, we have been working with all of our current data suppliers to ensure that they are able to continue to provide Reveal Mobile with consistent sources of high quality, privacy-compliant location data. 

Following the law of supply and demand, we expect that iOS 14 will make location data more valuable. The users who opt in will become even more relevant and can be considered even further “down funnel” because they are deliberately choosing to gain the benefits that location services afford them in their everyday lives.

A few additional comments on iOS 14:

  • We expect this OS update will provide more transparency to iOS users. We support and endorse that transparency.
  • This is a good opportunity to remind you about our partnership with Tapad. Our partnership enables cross device matching for targeting all opted-in devices within a household. Based on testing we have conducted, cross device matching increases audience sizes available in VISIT Local by 300%.

At Reveal Mobile, we adhere to the NAI Code of Conduct and follow IAB standards. That means we treat location data with the utmost care and want to ensure it continues to serve advertisers and consumers in positive ways. Whether it’s national legislation on the horizon or an individual user’s request, we lead the way in privacy best practices, ensuring suppliers, customers, advertisers and the public are fully aware, educated and protected when it comes to location data. 

We look forward to continuing the conversation about location data privacy and best practices. We welcome your questions and comments. Please reach out to us at privacy@revealmobile.com.