Mobile App Terminology


What is IDFA?


IDFA is the abbreviation for IDentifier For Advertisers. It’s an Apple-created random identifier assigned to a user’s device.

Advertisers use it much like a cookie on the web: it is a marketing measurement technology that enables an advertiser to measure when a user of a phone has taken actions like clicking on their ad, installing their app, and connecting them in order to analyze the user journey.

In iOS 14.5, Apple made the IDFA opt-in, after years of making the IDFA available by default unless someone explicitly opted out. Only about 20% of people opt in to sharing their IDFAs via Apple’s ATT (App Tracking Transparency) prompt.

The IDFA can be reset by users manually, or by default, if people opt out of using it on all installed apps, so it’s not a permanent identifier. The IDFA replaced the UDID, a hard-coded device identifier. The equivalent device identifier on Android is GAID, Google’s ad identifier.

Want to optimize your campaigns post-IDFA?

Learn how Singular’s SKAN solution can help

What are the uses of IDFA for marketers?

There are several primary use cases of IDFA, although the main ones we will discuss below are for ad tracking, fraud detection, and mobile app install attribution. The use cases are highlighted in our mobile tutorial on IDFAs:

IDFA for Ad Tracking

Assuming the IDFA is available, it is very useful to advertisers in several ways. For example, when users take certain actions as a result of an ad, such as installing an app, media companies and publishers can send the IDFA along with the ad-related data to the advertiser, helping them know which ads worked.

IDFA for Fraud Detection

IDFAs can also be used as a tool to detect and prevent ad fraud. By tracking each user action that results from ads and their associated IDFAs, fraud detection technology is able to detect key signals that may indicate fraudulent activity.

IDFA for Mobile App Attribution

Finally, IDFAs can be used to track and attribute mobile app installs. Mobile app install attribution can then be used by marketers to determine which campaigns, ad creatives, and networks are driving their most profitable conversions. With these insights, marketers are able to identify optimization opportunities and increase their ROI on marketing efforts. In addition, marketers can use IDFA data to target users who have taken certain actions in the past. Below is an example of this type of targeting highlighted in our mobile tutorials is:

  • Target users that have installed an app and send them ads to relaunch it
  • Create an audience of lost users and advertise why they should come back to the app
  • Identify people that have abandoned shopping carts and remind them to complete their purchase

As you can see from these examples, IDFA data helps marketers improve their targeting and optimize the ROAS of their marketing campaigns. If this data is not available, however, there are still options for attribution such as Singular’s SKAN.

Want to optimize your campaigns post-IDFA?

Learn how Singular’s SKAN solution can help

How Singular enables IDFA-based marketing measurement?

Singular enables marketing measurement via IDFA for mobile attribution and marketing optimization.

But with the significant tracking changes that Apple made in iOS 14.5, advertisers need a new methodology for accurately attributing mobile ad conversions. To do so, Apple has provided the SKAdNetwork framework, which is defined in our guide on the topic as follows:

SKAdNetwork is a framework for privacy-preserving mobile install attribution. It aims to help measure conversion rates of app install campaigns (CPI) without compromising users’ identities.

Singular was the first MMP to announce and deliver support for SKAdNetwork, allowing marketers to use it for accurate mobile attribution. The standard we have introduced is called SKAN, which;

…describes how SKAdNetwork should be used in a standardized way by the ecosystem to overcome some of its limitations and enable its adoption in a scalable and trustworthy way.

In summary, with the changes introduced in iOS 14, Singular is working with Apple’s framework to provide mobile marketers with the most accurate mobile attribution possible. With this data in hand, marketers are able to identify optimization opportunities, improve campaign performance, and increase their return on marketing investments.

Related Terms

Related Articles

Related Terms

Stay up to date on the latest happenings in digital marketing