While everyone in mobile games, mobile advertising, and mobile marketing is getting prepared for iOS-14 and the IDFA pop-ups some are already asking themselves what’s next. It seems like every few months Apple will crackdown on another aspect of the mobile app ecosystem without any warning signs. These moves often create a ripple effect throughout the industry as vendors and supporting companies work around the clock to comply with new demands and help the app companies be ready on time.
This post is about the future and as such it’s highly speculative but nothing here would be out of the range of what’s possible when it comes to the next Apple’s crackdown. Below are 5 thoughts on what that may be.
One thing before we begin – if you are still preparing for iOS14 and IDFA pop-ups you should take a look at the new addition in AdIntel giving you daily data about opt-out/in rates and monetization levels for users who chose to opt-out/in.
Ads are becoming a bigger part of the mobile industry and have already been contributing more than 50% of revenue in mobile games that historically has been dominating the IAP based monetization. With this great power comes great responsibility and app publishers who relay on ad based monetization may realize that if they don’t take action someone might take it for them.
The background for this is that the ads are being served by 3rd parties also known as monetization providers or ad networks. Publishers don’t have full control on what ads are presented to their users and in some cases the providers themselves are unaware of the ad content as well. This leads to a situation where publishers may serve ads that are inappropriate for users and specifically for more sensitive audiences.
While the users are currently handling the issues directly with the app publishers it is possible that Apple will become involved in this and in fact we have heard of at least one publisher whose app was removed from the app store due to negative ad experience.
Obviously, there are tools available in the market that provide more visibility and control into the ads shown and it’s possible.
Top Grossing Charts
Do we really need a chart that tells users what are the apps where people pay the most amount of money in? Apple may wake up at some point and decide that this feature has very little value for users. In fact, one may argue that these charts only serves competitive intelligence companies who scrape and store this information in order to monetize the data. While competitive intelligence services are valuable for publishers and vendors, Apple never showed signs that this is a major concern for them.
This one is not a crackdown exactly but I’m sure that a publisher at the wrong end of a move like that will not like it. So Apple has made several moves into the app content space. These can be divided into 2:
- Copying and creating paid service – Apple Music, Apple Arcade, …
- Copying and giving service for free – Flashlight, Health, News, Video editing
While Apple already made a move into gaming content with Arcade as a paid service it is also possible that they will start providing a few simple games for free with the OS. If you think of Windows 95 and the games that came with it you will realize that it’s not the first time the operating system ships with a few games included.
Ads with Misleading UX
Ads with misleading UX has been going on forever when it comes to the world wide web. In the mobile space, we have been progressing down the same road as ads are including more and more tricks to get the users into places they didn’t intend to reach. Unlike the web, in the mobile ecosystem, there is a sheriff in town and this one is not shy of cracking down when things go out of hand. Bad UX ads are bad for users but in fact, they are also bad for publishers and advertisers as a group. They are only good for advertisers who use them when others don’t.
So it’s possible that Apple’s next destination is going to include ads with jumping X buttons or ones that automatically open the app store once the video finishes playing.
To prepare against such scenarios, one option that publishers have is to use an ad quality SDK solution.
IDFV – Identifier for Vendor
IDFA use has been the subject of the current crackdown and a few previous ones. At the same time, Apple actually has another identifier known as IDFV – an identifier for a vendor. Unlike IDFA this identifier isn’t persistent beyond the apps of a single publisher so can’t effectively be used for advertising. That is unless the publishers are big enough… If a publisher has a few hundred apps and some of them do, they become an advertising network of their own. In a world where IDFA becomes useless, there will be a strong incentive for publishers to consolidate and enjoy the benefits of IDFV. Apple, however, may end this party as well when and if IDFV gets too popular.
Market Intelligence on What Matters
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