How iOS14 is reshaping the Mobile Marketing landscape


The year is 1997. Steve Jobs walks onto the stage and shares his experience of living in a high-speed networked world. A connected world. “I have computers at Apple, at NeXT, at Pixar, and at home. I walk up to any of them and log in as myself. It goes over the network, finds my home directory on the server, and I got my stuff wherever I am. And none of that is on the local hard disk.” 

The year is 1999. Steve picks up the iBook and walks across the stage while continuing to browse the internet. As the crowd slowly realizes he’s got nothing connected to it, they go, “What is going on here?”. The AirPort.

The year is 2007. Steve opens up an image on his iPhone and pinches to zoom in. The crowd goes ballistic. The multi-touch support on iPhone.

Throughout the years, Apple’s innovations and decisions have stemmed from one thought – the customer. Every change, every update, every release has put the customer in the center.

Customer centricity has always been Apple’s focus

The announcement of iOS 14 in WWDC 2020 was no different. The introduction of the App Library and App Clips makes mobile app discovery easier for iOS users. But the actual head-turning announcement was Apple’s take on user privacy.

ios 14

In a bold move, Apple entrusted its users with controlling what apps can access information about them. By moving away from the mandatory opt-in for user tracking, iOS 14 users can get a detailed view of what information an app is requesting to access and choose to give or deny the permission. This information includes location data, browsing history, cross-app tracking, financial information, contact information, and other identifiers.

Mobile Marketers

Analytics show that over 96% of users have opted out of tracking in iOS14 (source). Some Mobile Marketers argue this move is a massive blow to the Mobile Marketing landscape. After all, this information is used to curate a relevant and personalized experience on mobile apps. Without this information, Mobile Marketers believe the efficiency of their marketing campaigns will be impacted. Understanding customer preferences becomes difficult, and serving relevant advertisements to keep the mobile app free becomes challenging.

Tips for Mobile Marketers to ask for iOS 14 opt-in consent

Mobile Marketers need to understand that Apple hasn’t abandoned them. You can still track your user’s activities and access their information by following Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework. Get your users’ consent by explaining the value proposition. Educate them about why you want to access their information and be transparent about the intention behind your ask.

Here are a few tips for Mobile Marketers:

1. Tell them the importance of Personalization.

Let your mobile app users know that the most significant benefit they get by opting in is personalization. They can consume relevant content, see relevant advertisements, get relevant recommendations, and every micro-moment spent interacting with your app revolves around their preferences.

2. Talk about safety and trust.

Assure your mobile app users that their data is in safe hands. Inform them that you’re not selling this information to a third party and you’re following the right protocols to keep the data safe from unwanted access. 

3. Get your timing right.

While asking for permission upon the first launch of your mobile app may seem like a good idea on paper, it is always best to make the ask contextual. Guide your users to the moment where they see value in your app – it could be finishing a task, playing the first music track, browsing a product listing, completing the first round of the game, or even setting up their preferences inside the app. Ask for permission moments after they’ve done the desired action, not during – the last thing you want to do is frustrate them by showing pop-ups in between a task. 

4. Don’t try to hack the system.

Apple has launched the App Tracking Transparency framework to get consent from your users. Avoid showing your own prompt to ask users to opt-in. You can display a prompt to explain the value proposition with call-to-actions like “Continue” or “Proceed”, but the action of opting-in has to be performed only via the ATT framework. On a related note, don’t offer monetary benefits or compensation in an attempt to convince your users to choose to opt-in.

5. Experiment rigorously.

Your app is unique. The way your users interact with your app is unique. So, while following best practices is a safe choice, it is not the perfect solution. Constantly run A/B tests to check the language of your prompt, the tonality, the artwork and design, the timing, and the number of steps involved. It is best to create control groups by segmenting your users into small buckets. Run different experiments and determine the perfect combination of the factors above that result in high opt-in rates before rolling it out to all your users.

Apple’s decision to steer toward user privacy is a welcome move. This move is focused on building trust between consumer brands and their users. This decision also makes Mobile Marketers careful in their approach to Engagement and Retention, indirectly helping them build long-lasting relationships with their customers by providing value.

About the Author


Pulkit Jain drives growth through content at MoEngage. His experience as a B2B marketer comes fueled with a passion for user-centricity, an affinity for data, and a love for technology, movies, comics, and gaming.


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