The Impact of iOS 14 and Non-IDFA Traffic on In-App Bidding

With Apple’s privacy changes coming any day, mobile app developers need to test new ad monetization strategies to sustain their advertising revenue on iOS. For those of you who haven’t tried in-app bidding solutions yet, now is the time. 

Enabling a unified auction of your iOS inventory will allow demand partners to bid in real-time and create more competition for your impressions, ultimately driving higher CPMs. Each impression will automatically be auctioned out to the highest bidder between real-time bids and waterfall bids without you needing to do any manual line item optimizations. It’s especially helpful as CPMs on IDFA traffic versus non-IDFA traffic are expected to be impacted.

We predict that there will be an acceleration of in-app bidding adoption in the market with Facebook’s announcement that they will shift to in-app bidding-only for iOS by the end of March. 

We asked our Helium bidding partners, Facebook Audience Network and AdColony, what impact iOS 14 privacy changes and less access to non-IDFA traffic have had or will have in their bidding strategies.

Waterfalls are poorly positioned to accommodate the impact of upcoming Apple’s iOS 14 changes and this is serving as an additional incentive for publishers to move to bidding soon.

— Amit Bhojwani, Head of Americas at Facebook Audience Network

Facebook Audience Network

“Bidding helps ensure publishers get the highest price for every impression maximizing revenue, and also increases operational efficiency. This reduces time spent managing increasingly complex waterfalls, subsequently creating resources to optimize user experience, app design and helps publishers focus on building their core business. Waterfalls are also poorly positioned to accommodate the impact of upcoming Apple’s iOS 14 changes and this is serving as an additional incentive for publishers to move to bidding soon. We remain committed to the long-term health of the developer ecosystem and believe that bidding is foundational to building sustainable long-term value and a win for publishers, advertisers and people,” says Amit Bhojwani, Head of Americas at Facebook Audience Network.

For AdColony, over 60% of their traffic has moved to bidding already, and most new publishers are starting with it. Kelly McIvor, Principal Product Manager at AdColony, says, “Like many ad networks, we have support for contextual bidding and are collecting signals like standard device-, GEO-, and app-related signals, but we also have some proprietary ones. With the iOS 14 announcement last year, we started building improvements to our contextual bidding strategies so publishers with our SDK will maintain high monetization.” 

I expect brand bid density to drop along with CPMs offered. Performance advertisers will continue to buy, but the increase in non-IDFA traffic may impact attribution and campaign performance.

—  Kelly McIvor, Principal Product Manager at AdColony

On the question of how iOS 14 privacy changes impact performance ads versus brand ads, Kelly McIvor of AdColony answered, “I think the brand advertiser will have a harder time adjusting to the increase in IDFA-less traffic. They are more accustomed to user-level targeting. I expect brand bid density to drop along with CPMs offered. Performance advertisers will continue to buy, but the increase in non-IDFA traffic may impact attribution and campaign performance. If publishers are slow to support SKAdNetwork or don’t have all the needed ad network ids in their app’s info.plist there will be less supply for performance campaigns.”

Real-time SDK bidders such as Facebook Audience Network, AdColony, and many more are demand partners of Helium and compliant with iOS 14 and SKAdNetwork. 

Start testing in-app bidding today before Apple’ enforces ATT! Get started at chartboost.com/helium, or contact us at helium@chartboost.com.

Helium In-App Bidding