IDFA: Mobile games industry up for a bumpy ride?

IDFA- Mobile games industry up for a bumpy ride?

The mobile games industry is up for a bumpy ride with Apple removing the IDFA (technically IDFA will still exist post September but with a very, very low adoption rate). The change will happen swiftly as iOS14 will quickly adopt.

This article is written by Oliver Kern.

Oliver Kern - Games Specialist -
Oliver Kern – Games Specialist –

So what are the opportunities and risks for game developers and publishers? Well, if you are dependent on media buying, things are going to change. If you are dependent on advertising revenues, things are going to change.

As Eric Seufert mentions in his mobiledevmemo, a lot of parties in the advertising ecosystem will need to find new ways to provide value. Be it attribution, retargeting, programatic advertising, ROAS based automation – this will all become incredibly vague and you can already see the attempts of some of these providers to find new sexy slogans and test the interest on the advertisers side for new incredibly risky ways of doing business as if nothing has happened.

But a lot will change and we don’t even know all the details.

Today was the first working day of the month (August 2020) and I found 8 (!) updates of people joining Apple in the search ads team – just in my newsfeed (so therefore just in Europe where my network mainly sits). Most of these are account managers which could indicate that a solution for us marketers is already long on the way. This solution is just not going to come from facebook anymore and it may not need lots of service providers either.

The future growth acceleration of Apple may not come from their services but from advertising revenues: Next attempt of Apple building an ad network. But this time they don’t need to build anything marketer friendly and competitive anymore as they will have a monopoly on the data. Are they in the process of building the Apple Audience Network? With their move of kind of deprecating the IDFA, they are removing the data from facebook, which will create a playing field and where over time Apple’s access to data will be their competitive advantage.

What is going to happen for the game publishers/ mobile advertisers? As some mobile advertisers are already spending as if there were no Q4, the writing is on the wall: Things will get messy and much more unpredictable.

IDFA- Mobile games industry up for a bumpy ride?
IDFA- Mobile games industry up for a bumpy ride?

Personally, I do expect, that in the short term we will see a drop in top-line revenues for hyper-casual games, but I don’t see their death. They will be able to buy even cheaper and as their focus is to buy untargeted, they will adjust their bids against their expected revenues. As CPMs drop, this volume game might be able to work, though at smaller top-line revenues. If the revenues are then big enough is to be seen. For core, midcore and social casino games, we might see tough times: No more retargeting of whales, no more ROAS based media-buying. But let’s face it: the way we were buying media was always probabilistic. Unfortunately, now the risk will increase significantly and we will have much less signals to react quickly. Some will take that risk, others will be cautious. Sounds like a lottery?

Apple to the rescue (at least for iOS)…to be continued!

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Reinout is a Game Dev Investor and Strategy Advisor. Host of this Video Games Podcast. If you want to know more about gaming news, trends, analysis and insights in gaming, then you did find the right games podcast; https://www.PodcastGameConsultant.com.

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