Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

InMobi Buyer Survey reveals impact of IDFA on advertising market

Darren Walsh, Head of Programmatic Demand at InMobi, examines the impact that changes to IDFA and Apple’s privacy settings are having on the mobile advertising industry as part of its recent Advertiser Perceptions-produced study. 

Earlier this year, Apple’s decision to change the iPhone’s privacy settings and introduce its App Tracking Transparency policy generated lots of discussion across the mobile advertising industry.  

InMobi’s Advertiser Perceptions-produced survey has taken the temperature of the advertising market during this unprecedented year. By interviewing more than a hundred leaders from across the UK agency and brand marketer community, we identified several key insights as well as some of the challenges faced by industry leaders. 

IDFA & Identity Remain Top of Mind 

Following much discussion around Apple’s changes to IDFA, one aim of the study conducted was to track any resulting shift in mobile spending behaviour and UK buyers highlighted the following major impacts – 42% cited spend shifting from in-app to mobile web inventory, 40% noted a shift to more contextually relevant media, 34% saw a trend towards more branding and upper-funnel KPIs, and 33% observed a move towards more Android app spending.  

The top challenges facing buyers reflected some similar themes – with IDFA and iOS changes appearing at the top of the list. Meanwhile, the changes to online identity and cookies in Safari and Chrome were number two. And third, the closely related issue of measurement across all channels and screens. 

In Housing vs. Managed Service: Mobile is Still Complex 

In housing of programmatic trading among brands has long been touted as a trend, and the Brand Study shows that 70% of UK buyers worked with DSPs on a self-service basis. Included in that figure were more than half (53%) of brand marketers surveyed, and 84% of agencies.

However, managed service agreements were also shown to still be in wide usage, for more than half of the buyer community (53%). Despite the growth of in-housing, having DSPs manage buyers’ accounts is also still an important service. And in fact, buyers may have both managed and self-service setups running simultaneously. 

New For Old 

There are also signs of a maturing market in the results. Issues such as brand safety, fraud and creative effectiveness which were once cited as regular criticisms of the mobile channel, now sit towards the bottom of the list for buyers.    

While concerns around IDFA and identity have no doubt pushed other concerns down the priority list somewhat, it is also reflective of better options, and greater knowledge among the buyer community – in parallel with trends such as in housing – that such issues can, with the right experience and strategy, now be better avoided. 

Overall, insights from the survey show that mobile advertisers continue to be impacted by the changes to online identity. However, what’s clear is that with change comes progress and there is now greater knowledge across the buyer community. Both the UK agency and brand community need to adapt and learn fast as they prepare their strategies and budgets for 2022.  

Research for the report was fielded in July 2021, with 104 UK interviews conducted. Interviewees were selected from Ad Perceptions’ Ad Pros community of decision-makers, all responsible for more than $1m in annual advertising budgets, and upwards of $100k yearly mobile spend. 


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