The App Store Economy in a Privacy-Centric World | AppsFlyer
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The future of the App Store economy, in a privacy-centric world

Oren Kaniel Oren Kaniel Jun 24, 2020

On June 22nd, during WWDC 2020, Apple announced several privacy-related updates that will take effect with the release of iOS14 later this year. As an Apple Search Ads Partner, we anticipated that Apple would continue its commitment to create a user-friendly and privacy-centric mobile ecosystem. While we expect that the specifics of the announcements will evolve with the beta versions of iOS14, we believe that the announcement in its current form will create meaningful challenges for partners, customers, and the app economy at large. 

AppsFlyer is fully aligned with Apple’s commitment to privacy and a responsible application of user data. We are also technologically prepared to provide customers with an accurate attribution solution that puts the end-users’ privacy first – even when certain identifiers are absent.

AppsFlyer came into existence back in 2011 as a result of a major industry shift – the creation of the App Store. At the time, app developers were faced with measurement and attribution challenges that didn’t allow them to understand their users or improve their users’ experience. While many thought that attribution was not possible, we felt that this problem must be solved, one way or another, by us or by someone else. Quickly, attribution and measurement became a fundamental part of the ecosystem and an enabler for the entire App Store economy to flourish. Over time, attribution became even more challenging, with the increasing complexity of platforms, methods, and major industry changes. For example, the deprecation of UDID and MAC addresses (both were important moves by Apple), and numerous platform changes pushed us to deliver a layer of measurement abstraction, and accurate attribution data that allowed app developers to grow, with privacy and security in mind. In fact, the more complex the industry became, the more value AppsFlyer delivered. 

Attribution is about measuring the value for the end-users by providing insights into the customer lifecycle. After all, how can app developers know if they succeeded in delivering value without feedback in the form of attribution? How can they improve their apps and experiences without measurement? Attribution is at the heart of marketing. Without accurate attribution, marketers ‘spray and pray’, and the experience for end-users deteriorates.

Lack of, or inaccurate attribution also means that app developers can’t monetize their work; iOS developers are generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue from advertising, which are at risk of disappearing without proper measurement. Some of this revenue is then invested back into the ecosystem to improve and develop new products. That’s the ecosystem I fell in love with 10 years ago, and am still fully committed to today. 

We’ve all learned during COVID-19, that changes could be transformed into opportunities and spark innovation. While we do think about the near term challenges these recent changes are introducing, I am also excited about the opportunities they will open for us as a company, and for the entire app economy. Some of them are already in the works in the form of strategic innovation projects, and others in leveraging our existing products to help app developers generate more value for their end-users.

As the global attribution leader, we are obsessed with both our customers, and the App Store economy. We are fully committed to working on these solutions in collaboration with Apple and the rest of the community, to help app developers flourish, and build trust through better privacy. This is why we have been facilitating expert discussion groups, and will continue to do so in the following days and weeks, with everyone in the industry: App developers and marketers, partners, agencies, attribution companies, privacy executives and business leaders from all over the world, who share our passion for the future of privacy and the App Store economy.

The AppsFlyer story was shaped by industry changes and challenges that drove creativity and innovation, ultimately making AppsFlyer what it is today. We’ve faced similar changes in the past, and we’ve always grown as a result. I want to assure our customers, and our partners that this case is no exception.

Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs