Prepare for iOS 14 with Branch

The information you need to prepare for a world without device-level ad attribution on iOS.

Countdown to iOS 14.5: Actions to Take

What do you need to DO before the release?

Apple has not yet confirmed a release date for iOS 14.5, beyond sharing it will be "early spring."

To avoid disruption, Branch recommends being prepared for these changes by March 1.

See the list of most critical tasks to complete
iOS 14 Readiness Checklist
iOS 14 Readiness Checklist

Looking for a comprehensive readiness checkup? Take a look at our iOS 14 Readiness Checklist.

Go to the checklist
What’s Changing with Device-level Ad Data in iOS 14?

What’s Changing with Device-level Ad Data in iOS 14?

Device-Level Ad Data is Obsolete

As of iOS 14.5, device-level ad attribution will not be possible unless users grant permission to both the advertiser app and publisher app.

Without this opt-in, advertisers will lose the ability to serve personalized and retargeting ads, as well as the ability to accurately attribute their marketing campaigns and understand campaign ROI.

Learn More
What’s Changing with Device-level Ad Data in iOS 14?

How iOS 14 impacts the Branch platform

Impacted — Customer Changes Required
Area of Impact Data products where IDFA was included (export APIs, webhooks, some analytics data integrations, etc.)
What's Changing

IDFAs will largely disappear from exports and other data integrations.

What Branch is Doing

Branch has rebuilt data integrations that depended on IDFAs. IDFVs continue to be available as an alternate identifier.

What You Need to Do

You’ll need to find a new primary key (such as the IDFV) for your internal business intelligence and analytics.
Depending on the specific data integration you use, you may also need to make in-app code updates to pass an alternative identifier.

Area of Impact Data Subject Request API
What's Changing

You won’t have IDFA values available to submit for GDPR/CCPA data deletion requests.

What Branch is Doing

Our Data Subject Request API already supports alternative identifiers, including IDFV and developer_id.

What You Need to Do

You will need to send Branch alternative identifiers (such as IDFV or developer_id) instead of IDFA for all data deletion requests.

Area of Impact iOS paid ads attribution
What's Changing

Ad networks (including the major SAN networks: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap) will primarily use SKAdNetwork for ad attribution on iOS 14. Some networks will continue to support device-level attribution when users opt in.

What Branch is Doing

Branch has built robust support for SKAdNetwork, including updates to our iOS SDKs and a new reporting dashboard. In parallel to SKAdNetwork, we will continue supporting device-level attribution for opted-in users.

What You Need to Do

You will need to set up SKAdNetwork in your app. If you want to continue receiving device-level ad attribution data, you will need implement the new ATT permissions prompt.

Area of Impact Collection of user or device identifiers (including IDFAs) for ad tracking
What's Changing

Under Apple’s new policy, information may only be used used for ad “tracking” after users opt in via the AppTrackingTransparency framework. This includes IDFAs, and also “fingerprints IDs, properties of a user’s web browser and its configuration, the user’s device and its configuration, the user’s location, the user’s network connection, session ID, device graph identifiers.”

What Branch is Doing

To comply with Apple’s policy, Branch will not perform device-level ad attribution until you get ATT opt-in from the user. In order to give you full control over the user experience, the Branch SDK will not trigger the ATT modal on your behalf, but you may choose to do so on your own.

What You Need to Do

If you want to access device-level attribution data for your ad campaigns, you will need implement the AppTrackingTransparency permission modal yourself.

Impacted — No Customer Changes Required
Area of Impact Deterministic deferred deep linking
What's Changing

Deterministic deferred deep link matches (+match_guaranteed = true) will no longer be available for the first app session post-install on iOS 14.

What Branch is Doing

Deferred deep linking will still be possible via probabilistic modeling techniques (as it always has been in situations where a deterministic match could not be made). However, these probabilistic links should not be relied upon for user authentication or other critical failure use cases.

What You Need to Do

If you leveraged +match_guaranteed data for use cases such as auto-login from a link, this functionality will stop working on iOS 14 in most cases.
Assuming best practices were used in development, your app should already be set up to gracefully failover in this situation.

Area of Impact Fraud protection
What's Changing

SKAdNetwork will protect against some fraud techniques, but fraudsters will certainly find new ways to exploit the system.

What Branch is Doing

Because Branch has broad knowledge of legitimate user behavior across both web and app, our fraud detection engine will have a significant advantage in determining which conversions are valid.

What You Need to Do

Nothing is required from you.

Little or no impact expected
Dashboard reporting and analytics
Our existing reporting functionality will be largely unaffected, outside of reduced insights into device-level ad data..
Deep linking
Deep linking, including deferred deep linking, falls outside the scope of Apple's anti-tracking policy. It will continue to function, including in ad campaigns (where support by ad networks).
Non-ads products (Journeys, Universal Email, Quick Links, Referrals, Deepviews, Text-me-the-app, QR codes, etc.)
These products do not not rely on the IDFA today, and we do not expect significant impact.
All Android support, including paid ads attribution
Android is not affected.
Query API
Our Query API provides aggregate data, and no impact is expected.

SKAdNetwork

SKAdNetwork to Replace Device-Level Attribution

Apple’s attribution solution for if and when users opt out of ad tracking of any kind is SKAdNetwork. SKAdNetwork allows marketers to track their campaigns to determine which ones led to installs or purchases, but without disclosing granular, user-level data. Advertisers will have to rely on aggregate level data, which shows limited information about a campaign without revealing specific details that could potentially reveal a user’s device ID. Marketing activities like impression tracking, frequency capping, and personalization will be more difficult.

Learn more about how SKAdNetwork affects the mobile industry

Branch's Support for SKAdNetwork

Although we are committed to maintaining device-level data when users consent to ad tracking, we’ll be supporting SKAdNetwork in iOS 14 to help support your attribution efforts. Here's what you can expect:
1. SDK updates to send install & conversion claims

We’ve updated the Branch SDK to support sending install and conversion notifications to Apple for SKAdNetwork; specifically registerAppForAdNetworkAttribution() and updateConversionValue(0-63).

Learn more about the steps you need to take to set up SKAdNetwork in your app.

1. SDK updates to send install & conversion claims
2. Aggregation and validation of Apple postbacks

To protect against fraud and add a level of trust to SKAdNetwork data, we will use an Apple-provided cryptographic signature to validate postbacks forwarded to us by ad networks. We will then aggregate the data sent by ad networks and display it on the dashboard in our own analytics section for a convenient one-stop shop for all your data.

2. Aggregation and validation of Apple postbacks
3. Dashboard support for SKAdNetwork data

Our dashboard will serve as one centralized place to view SKAdNetwork attribution data instead of having to log in to separate ad network dashboards. This update will include a new Ads Analytics dashboard dedicated to just SKAdNetwork data, separate from existing user-level data from Branch. You’ll be able to view the total number of installs and conversion events reported by SKAdNetwork, and filter installs/conversions by parameters like ad network and source app.

3. Dashboard support for SKAdNetwork data
Learn more about Branch's support for SKAdNetwork

FAQ