Guide to Google Attribution Changes for iOS 14

On January 27, 2021 Google provided an update to its advertisers on their stance and recommendations in regards to iOS 14. Google’s announcement blog post can be found here, and more specific guidance for advertisers can be found here.

While this is the first public communication Google has provided about their iOS 14 plans, everything in this announcement matched the unofficial guidance we'd previously received, and nothing came as a major surprise.

Key Takeaways

Google will not show the ATT prompt to collect IDFAs in its own apps

Apple’s iOS 14 will give apps the ability to ask users for tracking consent, including access to IDFAs. Google has decided they will not ask their own app users for tracking consent via ATT, meaning Google won’t have access to user IDFAs.

They also offer a general recommendation to advertisers to review Apple's guidance, along with applicable laws and regulations, to determine whether to use the ATT framework. However, this will have no direct impact on measurement of Google ad campaigns.

Google will use the SKAdNetwork framework to measure campaigns on iOS

Google is encouraging advertisers to support SKAdNetwork within their apps. This data will be reported in a separate part of the Google Ads Dash (Reporting → Other → SKAN). They expect SKAN data to be available in the Google Ads API sometime in Q2.

Google will expand their use of modeled conversion for iOS campaigns

Currently, modeled conversions for iOS are used for Search ads traffic, however this data is not shared at log level with MMPs. As part of the updates for iOS 14, Google will be expanding the use of conversion modeling to other channels. While this data is available in aggregate via the Google Ads API, we expect that this means Branch (as well as other MMPs) will have even less visibility into log level iOS app campaign data from Google.

SKAdNetwork reporting data will be available in the Google Ads API, eventually.

Google will provide a dedicated SKAdNetwork report after the ATT policies go into effect. This data will also be available via the Google Ads API 'in the coming months', though Google has not yet shared any further detail about what this will look like.

Google's Recommendations to Customers

  • Implement SKAdNetwork. This can be done via the latest version of Google Analytics for Firebase SDK, or any other method (such as the Branch SDK).
  • Monitor campaign delivery when ATT enforcement begins. Google expects all iOS App campaigns to experience fluctuations in campaign volume. In particular, ACe (App Campaigns for engagement) campaigns will see a significant decrease in reach. Google says budget and bidding changes might be necessary, but this appears to be a generic suggestion and they have not provided specific recommendations at this point.
  • Consolidate iOS App campaigns to 8 or fewer. This is necessary in order to fit within the limitations of SKAdNetwork.
  • Use only tCPI or tCPA bidding for iOS App campaigns. If tROAS campaigns are being leveraged with iOS apps, these campaigns should be paused or migrated to tCPA when ATT enforcement begins

FAQs

Google iOS 14 FAQs