App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is a privacy feature that will appear to ask the user for permission whether they want to be tracked when opening the application or not. Apple launched the ATT feature to improve user privacy so that the iPhone’s unique device identifier code (IDFA) is not easily tracked by third-party apps or advertisers.
IDFA or Identifier for Advertisers is a kind of device ID used to target and measure the effectiveness of online advertisements. IDFA is typically used to identify users so that third-party applications can properly target ads on the platform. Before the ATT feature came, tracking user data via IDFA was done without permission.
The ATT feature will appear and ask users if they are willing to do third-party tracking. If so, the application will have access to track user data. On the other hand, if the user chooses the option not to, the application will not gain access to tracking data for advertising purposes.
The tracking restrictions through the ATT feature have made it difficult for Facebook to distribute ads, as one of its services and revenue sources, on iOS devices. This is not the first time Facebook has “shouted” about the losses it has incurred as a result of the ATT feature.
Around the end of 2020, Facebook had issued a prediction that advertisers would lose about 50 percent of ad revenue from the iOS platform, shortly after the ATT feature was introduced by Apple.
After the ad was circulated, an Apple spokesperson dismissed Facebook’s protests by calling this feature solely to enhance user privacy. He also revealed that Facebook should not bother to create a new ad targeting mechanism on iOS.
In this issue, Facebook has often protested against Apple in a tone that alluded to the ATT feature that would harm small entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it turns out that many iPhone users choose not to be tracked by third-party applications. A study from advertising consulting firm AppsFlyer, in October 2021, found that 62 percent of iPhone users chose not to share their IDFA.