The Moburst approach to post-iOS 14.5 attribution issues

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

The mobile marketing industry was sent into a frenzy last year when iOS 14.5 was released and with it, the deprecation of IDFA. How was the industry going to move forward in this vastly different marketing landscape? As is most often the way, the industry slowly settled into a new norm: a post-iOS 14.5 world where mobile attribution and targeting could no longer rely on user identifiers.

Apple introduced its SKAdNetwork as the way to receive the attribution of iOS ad campaigns. All advertising networks and developers had to adjust to this new framework by registering and ensuring compatibility. Naturally, solutions began cropping up everywhere. MMPs (Mobile Measurement Providers) developed new dashboards to work directly with SKAdNetwork. As a mobile-first digital agency, Moburst had to come up with our own solution. How would it navigate this new attribution era? We delve into the details with Co-founder and COO Lior Eldan below.

Mobile Marketing: How does Moburst manage to work through attribution issues post-iOS 14 and with the upcoming changes to Android?

Lior Eldan: Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach here as post-iOS14.5 attribution issues are nuanced and vary between SRNs (Self Reporting Networks such as Facebook, Google, Tiktok) to non-SRNs (the rest of the mobile in-app advertising networks such as Ironsource, Applovin, etc.). They also get different treatment from the different MMPs (such as Appsflyer, Adjust, etc.).

I think Android needs to be set aside as it’s still not entirely clear when and what changes will be applied. I believe we can trust Google to come up with a more advertiser-friendly solution than Apple, given it has a vested interest to encourage Advertisers to continue spending on Android (and of course, preferably on Google). When looking at iOS, we can try and broadly split our approach as following:

  • SRNs – one must understand the approach each platform took. For instance, Facebook and TikTok are relying solely on Apple’s SKAdNetwork as their source of truth, whereas Google has taken a modeled approach to account for the missed conversions (and rightfully so – a big chunk of Google UAC conversions come from Google Search, which is primarily web based, and SKAD doesn’t cover a web to app flow). For the SRNs which rely only on SKAD, we can take opt-in data and use it to extrapolate the estimated amount of missed SKAD conversions.
  • Non SRNs – in certain MMPs, probabilistic matching (notoriously known as fingerprinting) is still possible, and gives us another source of data for conversions, without the harsh limitations of SKAD.

MM: How does Moburst do a better job at attribution than relying directly on an MMP or directly from the source (FB/IG, TikTok, Google, etc.)?

LE: We bring them all together. Rather than looking only at several sources’ platform data/SKAD data that can be found on platforms like Facebook, or just at MMP data and SKAD data that can be found there, we pull them all together to act as one source of truth (fragmented as the truth may be). As mobile experts, our team deeply understands the intricacies of the data sources and can get a true read on what the different performance marketing initiatives are delivering, and present that in easy-to-understand dashboards for our team and clients to use.

MM: How does Moburst's dashboard work?

LE: We collect all of the data sources on a daily basis, in addition to any custom sources our clients need (their internal Business Intelligence, Google Analytics for web data, etc.). We map the data into the different KPIs defined with the client and then present the data along with different dimensions and metrics to allow our team and clients to slice and dice the data as they see fit.

MM: How is Moburst able to retarget and remarket effectively and efficiently?

LE: Post iOS 14.5, we tend to focus our remarketing efforts on Android where we still have full funnel visibility. Unfortunately without IDFA, the ability to retarget users on iOS has become very limited, so much so that in most cases it’s not possible. Apple didn’t roll out a solution for retargeting with SKAD (probably intentionally). Google has followed suit and recently announced its intentions to deprecate the GAID (Google Advertising ID) in its Google Privacy Sandbox. However, unlike Apple, Google has promised to provide specific APIs to offer solutions for various verticals such as retargeting. Advertisers and agencies like ours will still be able to track retargeting campaigns under Google’s new plans, which won’t come into effect for at least another two years anyway.