IDFA is an acronym that stands for “ID (or identifier) for advertisers” and is unique to each iOS device. IDFA is the standard that Apple adopted that allows mobile advertising networks to track users and serve them targeted ads. In iOS 14, both a publisher and destination app must separately receive permission from the user to track them in order to read the IDFA, making it an exclusively opt-in feature.
Apple’s “plan B” to if and when users decline to have their IDFA read is SKAdNetwork, meant to replace the IDFA. SKAdNetwork allows advertisers to track which of their advertising campaigns ultimately led to new users installing their apps or making purchases, but without disclosing much information about what specific ads a user has seen or clicked on.
Another “backup” method to attribute marketing activities when the IDFA is not available is fingerprinting. Basic fingerprinting methods attribute installs by matching a snapshot of the user’s device at the time they click based on information like the IP and user agent of the last click to match to the app session.
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