Mobile App Terminology

Limit Ad Tracking

What is limit ad tracking?


Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) is a setting on Apple’s mobile operating systems prior to iOS 14 that, when turned on, prevents app developers and marketers from seeing and tracking customers or users by their device-specific Identifier for Advertising, or IDFA. On Android, the equivalent setting is found under Ads in the Android Settings app.

In iOS 14, that exact setting and language goes away and is replaced by “Tracking” in the Privacy menu in the iOS Settings app, where people can select to Allow AppS to Request to Track or decide they don’t want to allow apps to even be able to ask that.

Selecting to opt-out of interest-based advertising or ads personalization accomplishes a similar task as turning Limit Ad Tracking on or not allowing apps to request to track, except that on iOS you can select tracking preferences for each individual app. You do so by turning All Apps to Request to Track on, and then responding to each individual app’s request when you download and install new apps.

Why limit ad tracking matters for advertisers?

As privacy concerns surrounding third-party apps continue to rise, users that limit ad tracking are doing so to prevent data collection and are conscious of the companies that are tracking them. Users may also activate this feature to avoid brands using their data for the purpose of targeted advertising. 

As discussed in our article on Limit Ad Tracking:

The percentage of people who have switched Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) on has doubled on iPhone over the last four years in the United States. Over the same time period on Android, it’s shrunk by a factor of six or seven.

The article describes how these iOS numbers are actually not that surprising as Apple has been marketing these privacy features as one of their competitive advantages. 

With opt-in rates for IDFA ranging between 4-13%, many companies are looking for solutions that will provide accurate analytics, attribution and reporting, while still remaining compliant. Regardless of the reason why users choose to activate this feature, Singular has been preparing for this post-IDFA and privacy-centric world for quite some time.

Singular and Limit Ad Tracking

In order to deal with Limit Ad Tracking in older iOS versions and the IDFA changes that Apple introduced with iOS 14.5, Singular has built the most complete and powerful SKAdNetwork solution on the market. The result: Singular is still able to provide powerful analytics and insights with our SKAdNetwork solution. 

A few of the main features of Singular’s SKAdNetwork solution for marketing measurement include:

  • Superior analytics: Singular combines SKAdNetwork data with cost aggregation and cohort reporting as well as insights from users who opt in to IDFA-based tracking. All of which helps advertisers improve their ROAS.
  • Centralized data: By collecting, standardizing, and loading all of your data — including Apple’s SKAdNetwork postbacks — into a centralized location, Singular removes silos and creates a single source of truth for your marketing data, which can then be fed into an internal BI or reporting tool via ETL or API.
  • Customized conversions: Singular’s powerful customized conversions feature allows you to identify the ideal conversion model for the app and test what would happen if you changed it. That helps you can measure and analyze performance using your own unique business KPIs.
  • Fraud protection: Singular verifies SKAN data, including conversion values which are not cryptographically signed by Apple. Since the data is verified, you can trust and ensure the data is accurate and not manipulated in any way.
  • Fully Apple compliant: Singular’s SKAdNetwork solution is fully compliant with Apple’s App Store policies so that you don’t have to rely on risky solutions to get accurate marketing insights.

For users who don’t opt in for tracking, Apple’s API is still able to pass limited attribution information to the ad network. Some have said that removes the need for a mobile measurement partner (MMP), although as Gadi Eliashiv, CEO and co-founder of Singular told AdExchange highlights in regards to our support for SKAdNetwork:

Although with SKAdNetwork the App Store acts as the mediation layer between the publisher and the advertiser, ad buyers will still want their installs verified by a neutral party and help with aggregating data across their various ad network partners.

In summary, as advertisers are looking for a compliant way to handle privacy concerns and settings such as Limit Ad Tracking, MMPs like Singular are building the tools to facilitate accurate attribution and analytics.

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