iOS 15: Announcing AppsFlyer’s solution for Private Relay

By Gaston Rendelstein
iOS 15 - Announcing AppsFlyer’s solution for Private Relay - square

During WWDC 21, Apple announced Private Relay, a new internet privacy service for Safari browser users on iOS 15. Private Relay is a service designed to mask a user’s IP address on their device and keep it private. With the launch of iOS 15, it was offered as a beta feature – disabled by default – for iCloud Plus, Apple’s upgraded iCloud subscription service.

Private Relay can impact deferred deep linking and attribution since both capabilities rely on the IP address to redirect a user to a desired page or content and to measure performance. Consequently, without a proper solution, iOS 15 users who have an iCloud Plus account, use Safari as their browser, and choose to activate this beta service will no longer be deferred deep linked due to the lack of an IP address. Instead, they will be taken to the app’s default page, and app owners won’t get attribution data for this event.

Deferred deep linking: The process of sending new users who don’t have the app installed to a specific page or activity in the app after app install and launch. This capability is crucial when aiming to increase conversion rates by creating contextualized, post-install experiences.

Despite the fact that only a small cohort may be impacted by the initial release of Private Relay, the trend towards increasing privacy is clear. That is why we are excited to announce AppsFlyer’s solution for Private Relay, which enables Private Relay users to enjoy deferred deep linking.  

Privacy is key to customer experience, not an obstacle

We believe good customer experience should include four elements. It should be contextual, personal, smooth, and private. Since privacy is all about the freedom to choose which personal data is shared and which isn’t, we have created a framework for those users who prefer to keep their IP addresses to themselves. 

This framework is based on Apple’s App Clips, allowing advertisers to provide truly private, yet contextual customer experiences for Private Relay users. Unlike other solutions offered in the market, AppsFlyer’s framework provides bulletproof privacy by eliminating any possibility for privacy breaches, a fully customizable, yet familiar user experience, and unmatchable deterministic attribution.  

What are App Clips?

If you already know the answer, you can jump straight to the next section, but if you don’t, here is a brief overview: In 2020, together with the GA of iOS 14, Apple released App Clips, which are a small, fast, and lightweight part of your app that allows users to enjoy one of your app’s main offerings without the need to download the full app.

App Clips are an excellent opportunity for brands to let users experience their apps with minimal commitment while increasing their likelihood to convert and/or download the full app. This is a perfect example of “Show, don’t tell”. You can learn more about this feature in our App Clips guide for developers

AppsFlyer’s solution for Private Relay 

Our solution is an off-the-shelf App Clip framework enhanced by two embedded AppsFlyer technologies:

  • Attribution & deferred deep linking: Leverage out-of-the-box integration with AppsFlyer’s SDK for deterministic attribution and properly functioning deferred deep linking. The latter enables post-install contextualization by bringing a user to the right place in the app after they installed it. With this integration, you can enjoy AppsFlyer’s advanced measurement and deferred deep linking capabilities with minimal development effort.
  • Automatic App Clip trigger: Increase conversion rates by automatically triggering your App Clip without having to implement Safari Smart App Banners on your domain. Overcome App Clip’s discovery limitations with a link-to-App Clip mechanism that activates your App Clip from wherever your users are (ad, email, website, social post, SMS, print, and more).
App Clip framework for Private Relay

Build your app’s logic on top of this framework to create an App Clip for your app. The App Clip can be the last touchpoint in the user journey or the step before taking your users to a specific spot in the app after app install and launch. 

Putting AppsFlyer’s Private Relay solution into practice

As mentioned above, the whole purpose of deferred deep linking is to increase post-install conversion rates by delivering a contextual experience. One magical aspect of App Clips is that you can achieve the same conversion even before the install. With AppsFlyer’s solution for Private Relay, we build on that magic so that you can deliver both pre-install and post-install conversion journeys. 


Deep linking 101: Everything you need to know

Improve your UX

Here are examples for both use cases:

  • App Clip conversion journey (pre-install): A shopping brand shows an AppsFlyer Smart Banner with a quick checkout discount on their mobile website. Once customers tap on the banner, an App Clip card is shown, providing more information about the offer. When customers tap on Open App Clip, the App Clip is launched, allowing them to check out with one click.
App Clip conversion journey (pre-install)
  • App conversion journey (post-install): A coffee brand launches an SMS campaign to its customers offering a 30% discount for a cup of latte purchased at one of their locations on that day. Customers click on the message and get redirected to an App Clip card showcasing the same offer; once they tap on Open App Clip, the App Clip is launched allowing them to buy the cup of latte.

    Until now the flow is very similar to the App Clip (pre-install) conversion journey, right? But as we all know, in order to increase customers’ lifetime value (LTV) we must get them to download the full app. So after finishing the transaction, customers receive the following message: “Your latte is almost ready! In the meantime, download the full app to get a free sandwich with your next order”. They then download the app, and when launching it, are redirected to the free sandwich offer.
App conversion journey (post-install)

Ready to contextualize and measure your user acquisition journey?

To dig into our solution, check out this implementation article. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our sales or customer success teams.

Gaston Rendelstein

Gaston is a passionate gamer, marketer, and entrepreneur. Throughout his career, he’s been committed to assisting major brands and gaming studios in enhancing user acquisition, retention, and customer experience. Gaston has a strong background in both B2B and B2C marketing, which he now applies as the Director of Product Marketing at AppsFlyer. In his current role, Gaston leads the go-to-market strategy and product growth for the company’s premium offerings and cross-platform measurement solutions.

Ready to start making good choices?