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Sergey Zubkov

Updated: July 27, 2023

3 min read



IDFA, short for Identifier for Advertisers, is a distinct and unpredictable alphanumeric code that is assigned to each iOS device by Apple. 

What is IDFA

Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique identifier assigned by Apple to each iOS device (such as iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) that allows advertisers to track user behavior across different apps and websites. Advertisers use this identifier to deliver targeted ads and measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.

With the changes to Apple’s privacy policy, app developers are now required to explicitly ask for user permission to track their IDFA. Users can choose to opt out of IDFA tracking by turning on the “Limit Ad Tracking” (LAT) option in their device’s settings, which will prevent advertisers from using their IDFA for personalized advertising.

How does IDFA work

The Apple IDFA is used for tracking and identifying a user without revealing personal information. The data can then be used to discover information such as which in-app events a user triggers. The IDFA can also identify when users interact with a mobile advertising campaign, provided the channel offers IDFA tracking and the advertiser tracks users who interact with as successfully.

Since 2016, Apple devices have included a privacy feature called LAT (Limited Ad Tracking) that enables users to control whether advertisers can access data on their device activity.

When LAT is enabled, the user’s identifier for advertisers is replaced with a string of zeros, effectively preventing advertisers from accessing their device-specific data. This means that measurement providers receive a string of zeros instead of a unique string of numbers for a given Device ID.

With iOS 14 release, Apple moved towards user privacy with the App Tracking Transparency Framework which limited advertisers’ ability to rely on IDFA for mobile campaign measurement. 

How Adapty represents data after IDFA deprecation

Following the deprecation of IDFA by Apple, other tracking techniques and instruments have gained more prominence, especially ones that provide insights into user behavior within ad campaigns and after. MMPs (Mobile Measurement Partners) resort to probabilistic attribution to associate campaigns with users or behavior-based attributes. However, this method is not entirely reliable, as it may not accurately determine whether a particular campaign led to an app install, since there is a possibility that the install was the result of more than one campaign.

Adapty’s platform enables publishers to obtain extensive analytics on app installs, uninstalls, user behavior, in-app purchases, and revenue. This information can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and optimize user engagement and retention.

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