The impending release of iOS 14 and the death of IDFA constitutes an inarguable paradigm shift for digital marketers. Apple’s recent delay doesn’t change the fact that Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) will eventually become the new norm for its mobile ecosystem, and there’s no shortage of pessimistic speculation as to what that could mean for our industry at large. While some say the shift represents a return to the dark ages of mobile advertising, our experience so far suggests life after iOS 14 is no less full of opportunity for those willing to adapt.

Thankfully, at MOLOCO, adaptability is in our DNA.

Since 2013, we’ve invested countless resources into building flexible, multi-purpose machine learning models capable of driving unparalleled value for our customers, regardless of use case. Those same models, intelligently modified, have already shown promise in being equally effective in a world of contextual signals, supporting our theory that in the absence of user-specific identifiers, mechanical efficiency becomes the most important factor for ROI-positive growth.

The Big Reset

Life in the programmatic ad space after iOS 14 will be different. User data will be harder to come by, requiring advertisers to rely on the attribution capabilities of Apple’s SKAdnetwork and anonymous contextual signals. Success will depend on the building and training of growth models that make the best possible use of the data available. Since MOLOCO’s founding in 2013, machine learning has been our exclusive focus, and we’re looking forward to tackling this next challenge in cooperation with our peers from all parts of the mobile advertising community.

Thankfully, ad monetization leaders like Fyber have already taken the initiative in standardizing what will be made available to platforms like ours. As Offer Yehudai, President at Fyber explains, “Going into iOS 14, we know how important it will be to the entire ecosystem that we provide demand-side partners like MOLOCO with a robust set of actionable signals in bid requests. Our Contextual App Targeting parameters were built to ensure that advertisers can continue to leverage the power of programmatic through artificial intelligence experts like MOLOCO, in a way that is both privacy-aware and focused on driving performance and ROAS”

Learning how each individual campaign can best leverage the app, session, and device data provided by solutions like Fyber will be the defining challenge of user acquisition in the years to come. It’s exactly this return to fundamentals that will make artificial intelligence the single most important component of any digital advertising initiative. With fewer tools available, surpassing the limits of human-level campaign management becomes the top priority for advertisers looking to stay competitive, making early adoption of LAT bidding critical. Thankfully, our data suggests much of the industry is already trending this way.

Post-IDFA Bidding Has Begun

In the two months since Apple announced iOS 14, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of advertisers bidding on LAT traffic. Nearly 15% of all bids made on our platform are for LAT traffic, representing the decisions of roughly 30% of our clients to open up their strategy to get ahead of what life will be like after iOS 14.

 

 

For the vast majority of our partners venturing into LAT traffic bidding, the results have been resoundingly positive, thanks in large part to a new model we’ve developed that leverages our learnings from non-contextual signals. Results from our initial round of multivariate tests show a 250% increase in ROAS for LAT campaigns. As Yi Gong, Sr. Growth Marketing Manager at Tilting Point explains, “We’re very impressed with how quickly MOLOCO has adapted to the new norm. Given just a little bit of time and traffic, their LAT models have already come a long way towards achieving our growth targets at par with what we’re used to. We’re keeping on eye on how things play out, but we’re thankful for MOLOCO’s expert support during this transition.”

The Way Forward

While some advertisers are responding to the uncertainty of iOS 14 by rolling back to the days of manual campaign tuning, we believe the futures of mobile growth and machine learning to be inextricably linked. Early results have already proved us right, as evidenced by the outcomes we’ve been able to deliver to our clients, as well as the continued trust placed in us by some of the biggest names in mobile. Scopely, Tilting Point, NetMarble and more all rely on the power of our technology to achieve their growth targets, no matter the metric. With more importance placed on machine learning and artificial intelligence than ever before, we’re confident that we’re up to the task, and we look forward to charting the course into the future with a new LAT targeting feature designed specifically for engaging traffic without IDFA.

At MOLOCO, we’ve made it our top priority to adapt to the new normal as quickly as possible. The sooner we as an industry embrace these new realities, the sooner we can bring to bear the experience and insights gained from decades in the trenches of user acquisition. As proponents of custom performance models, this means getting a head start on training custom models quickly and gaining a competitive edge over those who hesitate.

Fortunately, that’s what we here at MOLOCO do best.