In April 2021, Apple introduced the iOS14 update, which shook up the digital marketing world as we know it. The App Tracking Transparency feature means iOS users can protect themselves from third-party data and behavior tracking. With marketers scrambling to formulate ideas as to how to combat the threat of data privacy, some agencies are choosing to spend on Android Advertising instead.
How did iOS14 affect advertising on Android?
An AppsFlyer report found that 10% of gaming app budgets shifted from iOS to Android in 2021. With almost half of all American mobile users opting for Android, it makes sense to increase ad spending on Android. In the first two weeks after Apple launched its new privacy features, there was a notable uptick in the number of apps increasing ad spending for Android. Liftoff reported an 8.29% raise, and Vungle found a 21% increase. Remarkably, the increase in ad spend reported on Android did not coincide with a decrease in spend on iOS. The trend suggests that marketers may be spending more on user acquisition as a whole, combining iOS and Android figures. This trend is from 2021, before Google made the same strides toward data privacy for Android users.
Marketing budgets have not been revolutionized, but rather redistributed. While ATT measures may mean an adjustment to how we creatively target iOS users, running ads on iOS remains indispensable. The rise of Android means that the scope for targeting is widened, not restricted.
Here are some ways businesses are using Android Advertising to scale
Using Android Targeting for Creative Testing
The iOS14 changes impacted the way how we test creatives. Post-iOS14, you will get your data up to 3 days later beside the limits on the number of campaigns and AdGroups per ad account. Accordingly, brands started using Android targeting for creative testing where they launch an Android campaign to test what creatives will perform well and then use these creatives in iOS as well as web evergreen campaigns.
Taking a global view
As stated earlier, almost half (46%) of mobile users in the US are Android users. However, the worldwide statistics are much different. More than two-thirds of the world are Android users. However, not all marketers are utilizing the power of Android. There are a number of reasons for this, but a lot of them can be boiled down to marketers’ aversion to thinking globally and investing in the resources to run global campaigns. The majority of iOS users are English speakers. Therefore, the majority of campaigns can use English-focused copy and creative for user acquisition. Successful mobile marketers are looking to countries like Mexico and India, where Android rules the market. To run a successful user acquisition campaign in these Android-dominated countries, businesses are localizing their ad creative and translating their copy to appeal to Android users at large.
Android is an open-source operating system. That any company – not affiliated with Google – can essentially use. This means that there are thousands of distinct devices running Android. Whereas iOS only runs on Apple devices. The trouble with this is that not all Android devices are the same or even similar. Mobile marketers generally target high-quality users to drive their apps ROI. To target high-quality users within the Android market, marketers generally direct resources toward users of high-end Android devices. Successful marketers in the era of data privacy are using targeting criteria based on device models. Businesses are using Android to scale, using tools like MSRP(listing price) devices targeting to target high-quality Android users.
Utilizing Google Play
Google Play users are 40% more likely than App Store users to show decisive behavior. Google Play is extremely visual. The layout highlights graphics, icons, and ratings, which works to increase download rates. Unlike the iOS App Store, Google’s Play Store is optimized for in-store search. Marketers who are overcoming the challenges of data privacy are putting more thought into their ASO strategies and utilizing Google Play Store. By diversifying ad spending across iOS and Android and applying creative thinking to their strategy, marketers are scaling businesses using Android, rather than declining in the post-iOS 14 landscape.
How Android tracking is changing
However, while Android has been an oasis in the data-dry desert for marketers, it looks like advertisers will soon have to adapt to new privacy changes from Android, too. In February, Android product management VP Anthony Chavez announced that Android will be “introducing new, more private advertising solutions”. Following in Apple’s footsteps, these changes aim to limit the sharing of user data with third parties.
This new initiative, known as Google’s privacy Sandbox, aims to create an equal system for both users and advertisers. In his blog post to announce the initiative, Chavez assured that advertisers wouldn’t be left out, saying “Our goal with the Privacy Sandbox on Android is to develop effective and privacy-enhancing advertising solutions, where users know their information is protected, and developers and businesses have the tools to succeed on mobile.”
Unlike SKAdNetwork, Google plans to gather feedback from the advertising industry to inform Sandbox. For instance, Android is already assisting advertisers with their Attribution Reporting API, which enables web-to-app conversion measurement – an advancement from Apple’s SKAdNetwork which doesn’t offer this capability. The other good news for marketers is that these changes aren’t intended to be implemented for “at least two years” according to Chavez. It does, however, mean that marketers need to start thinking about how to stay ahead of this change and get ready when it happens.
As consumer privacy continues to improve, Android remains in the corner of advertisers, and it’s time we begin to embrace them. Mobile marketers can no longer depend solely on iOS for user acquisition. As we have identified, there are plenty of ways that businesses can leverage Android to increase UA. Let’s stop ignoring the rise of Android in advertising and learn how to adapt to Android-centric strategies.