After Apple’s release of iOS 10 with stronger Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) settings, 20% of US users have explicitly opted out of targeted advertising, representing almost 18 million people, according to a report on 2016 Limit Ad Tracking Opt-out Ratios released today by adjust. This number rose steadily throughout September, following the September 13 release of Apple’s iOS 10, where initially 18% of US users had opted-out. The updated operating system for iPhones and iPads enforces LAT preferences more strongly by blanking out the ID for Advertisers (IDFA) when LAT is enabled.
The US ratio is now also significantly higher than in Canada (14.4%), the United Kingdom (16.5%), Japan (13.6%), Ireland (12.4%), but roughly ties the Germans at 19.3%. The highest ratios worldwide are found in African countries, whereas countries in Southeast Asia and South America shows the lowest level of user opt-outs.
“When we looked at it prior to iOS 10, the global estimates could range from 13% to 15%. In this study, we’ve taken a look at the trends and at individual markets,” says Paul H Müller, adjust Co-Founder and CTO (pictured top left). “This is trending in a direction where it’s not just the tech-savvy, ad-allergic crowd any more. Marketers will face a large, distributed and worst of all ‘unknown’ segment of users, especially in places like Germany and the US.”
While marketers won’t be able to explicitly target users with LAT enabled, many platforms still rely on the IDFA for essential analytics. Key metrics like return on investment (ROI) or user retention can not be accurately computed if a large proportion of users are missing.
In the report, adjust aggregated the number of times the tracking solution has removed user data upon request of the user. adjust’s platform analyzes anonymous network “fingerprints” to match in-app activity to ad engagement (in addition to more deterministic techniques available when users have not opted out). The data allows marketers to understand the effectiveness of different marketing initiatives. Indicators like Limit Ad Tracking are immediately aggregated and the raw, device-level data discarded – regardless if the user has LAT enabled or not.
The report was built using adjust’s latest product, “Privacy Insights.” These metrics enable app marketers to understand the ratio of users that have activated LAT by specific marketing channel, country or device type, in the adjust dashboard. The anonymized sums inform marketing teams about the preferences of their users converting from different ad campaigns. With this information, marketers can pursue broader, untargeted ad campaigns toward target audiences with high LAT ratios – and still understand the return on investment, retention and engagement precisely.
Christian Henschel, CEO and Co-Founder of adjust (pictured left), said: “Privacy protection is one of our major commitments, which is not always taken for granted in mobile analytics. When we entered the space in 2012, we were the first company to pursue EU-standard privacy certifications, and has now become the standard. Analytics providers and app developers need to take responsibility and respect this outspoken user preference. People are stating their choice, and we need to forge a path for app marketers.”
One user of adjust’s solution is gaming company Rovio. With “Privacy Insights,” Rovio can understand how privacy-sensitive users are reached and the return on those investments, without intruding on user privacy by broadly placing advertising on sites or within apps that attract certain audiences, like certain types of games, magazines, or niche blogs.
Müller added: “This is a non-intrusive measurement, where we essentially count the number of times we’ve stopped tracking a user to respect their LAT request. Individual device IDs are not stored in the adjust platform at all. This way, we can help marketers connect with audiences in a privacy-conscious and respectful way.”
As marketers face a steadily growing “unknown” segment of users opting-out of targeted ads, the critical challenge will be calculating ROI and retention; however, fortunately, adjust’s “Privacy Insights” solution to mitigate and manage the impact from this growing userbase.
About Paul H. Müller, Co-founder & CTO
Paul is the CTO and a co-founder of adjust. He is responsible for building and scaling adjust’s technologies. Previously, Paul was the CTO and Managing Director for two companies, rapidrabbit and Müller & Wulff GmbH. He founded rapidrabbit at the age of 23 and it proceeded to publish 25 apps and made 10M downloads. Müller & Wulff GmbH was founded in 2010 and offered innovative IT services. Paul studied physics in at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität in Greifswald and likes anything that’s fast, especially motorcycles.