Apps not using UDID data willl see 24% less ad revenue, study says

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A study conducted by mobile ad server MoPub claims that by rejecting apps which use UDID data, Apple is effectively cutting off around 24 percent of developer ad revenue.

MoPub notes that because mobile advertisers use unique device identifier (UDID) data to track an ad's effectiveness to create pricing models, the removal of such a tool would likely result in app developers losing nearly a quarter of all ad revenue, according to a Wednesday report from MacWorld UK.

In the traditional mobile ad system, iOS app publishers use UDID data as both a means of performance measurement and monetization while advertisers rely on the data to see how well an ad converts into an action like downloads or click-throughs. The ad companies are basically testing an advertisement's effectiveness and value to decide how much to pay app publishers for ad space.

?The move away from UDIDs threatens advertising revenue that many publishers depend on in order to support their content creation and businesses," said MoPub CEO and co-founder Jim Payne. "Here, we see a direct correlation between the money paid for an ad and the ability to track an ad. It?s clear that Apple needs to address this issue with an appropriate alternative, because the damage to a publisher?s bottom line will likely be material if UDID data actually disappears.?

MoPub's three month study found that the disparity between publishers which use UDIDs and those that do not is an eCPM (effective cost per mille) average of 0.18 cents with app makers pulling in 0.76 cents and 0.58 cents, respectively.

UDID
Example of an iPad UDID found in the iTunes device summary tab.


UDID data usage has been a hot-button topic as mobile privacy issues have come under the scrutiny of consumers and lawmakers alike. Other means of transmitting sensitive personal information without the knowledge or consent of users raised enough attention that Congress members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a series of letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking about what the company was doing to ensure the security of iPhone and iPad owners. The subcommittee went as far as requesting that an Apple representative be dispatched to Washington for a briefing on the company's app developer policies and practices.

An example of unauthorized data transmission is social networking app Path's back-end "feature" that copied a user's contacts and sent the information to off-site servers in the name of streamlining the process in which the service connects users. Path ultimately apologized and implemented an opt-in system for uploading address data.

Apple first addressed the UDID issue in August 2011 when it announced plans to remove app publishers' access to the data in iOS 5, though the functionality has yet to be eschewed and remains in the latest version 5.1.

It was reported in late March that Apple was gearing up to initiate blanket rejections of apps using UDID data in an effort to deprecate all third-party UDID access, though there has been no official word that this is the case.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    If you can't monetize your app on iOS you can't monetize it anywhere. I don't think Apple is going to lift a finger to help the ad-supported model track its users. The whole point is that what the advertisers were tracking already was inappropriate and didn't serve the user at all. If anything, Apple will encourage and assist the developers to move to a purchase/subscription model. After all, where else are the app writers going to go?
  • Reply 2 of 32
    jonyojonyo Posts: 116member


    I have no sympathy for the ad people in this case. Just because it will affect their bottom line doesn't mean that we consumers have to be ok with the practice. Screw 'em. If ad revenues go down and more apps have to charge 0.99 or 1.99 instead of being free to compensate, I'm ok with that. I'd much rather pay for an app I want to use than put up with a bunch of ads inside an app to save 99 cents. There's a glut of crappy free apps trying to get by on ad revenue anyway, so if this cuts down on that, all the better.

  • Reply 3 of 32
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,580member
    At $0.78 per thousand ad impressions, my time is being wasted disproportionately to a developer's compensation. They have to display over 1,300 ads to earn $0.99. I value my time at a much higher rate... Apple has the right model for their store.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,748member


    Would you be surprised to know that Apple considers UDID to be non-personal and non-identifiable? Apple also states that sharing, transferring, or even selling information associated with a specific UDID to any company, partner, marketer and anyone else for any reason they wish is perfectly permissible. They consider it non-personal info.


     


    From Apple's Privacy Policy:


    "We also collect non-personal information ? data in a form that does not permit direct association with any specific individual... 


     


    We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose.


    We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising."


     


    If Apple considers sharing information associated with a UDID as acceptable use of data gathered from it's users it seems a bit disingenuous to hold the developers to a different standard IMO. If it's OK for Apple why shouldn't it be OK for the developers?

  • Reply 5 of 32
    [B][I] A study conducted by mobile ad server MoPub claims [/I][/B]

    I stopped reading right there.
  • Reply 6 of 32


    Oh boohoo.  If it weren't for Apple they would have 0% revenue, in some respects.  

  • Reply 7 of 32
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,580member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    If Apple considers sharing information associated with a UDID as acceptable use of data gathered from it's users it seems a bit disingenuous to hold the developers to a different standard IMO. If it's OK for Apple why shouldn't it be OK for the developers?</span>
    Because they can be a gateway for information. When a third party has that same unique identifying data it is not necessarily still anonymous. Yes, I'm sure they want to improve their ad effectiveness, but I doubt that is the primary driver.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,748member


    Apple can sell that UDID-associated data to advertisers whenever they wish and remain in line with their privacy policies. They clearly say they may do whatever they wish with it for any reason they like...


     


    and apparently they do.


     


    "Christophe Cauvy, head of digital, EMEA, at McCann-Erickson suggested iAd's appeal is obvious, while consumer insights provided by Apple strengthened such an offering further.



    "The sheer number and profile of iPod touch and iPhone users is valuable," said Cauvy.



    "The targeting aspect, using iTunes data in addition to demographics and location, is a great tool for advertisers. It's a rich experience for users."


    http://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/ArchiveNews.news?ID=27524


    Apple does sell you to advertisers, but keeps it low-profile and "unmentionable". It's certainly not now a primary focus like it would be to a Google or Facebook. 

  • Reply 9 of 32
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Would you be surprised to know that Apple considers UDID to be non-personal and non-identifiable? Apple also states that sharing, transferring, or even selling information associated with a specific UDID to any company, partner, marketer and anyone else for any reason they wish is perfectly permissible. They consider it non-personal info.


     


    From Apple's Privacy Policy:


    "We also collect non-personal information ? data in a form that does not permit direct association with any specific individual... 


     


    We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose.


    We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising."


     


    If Apple considers sharing information associated with a UDID as acceptable use of data gathered from it's users it seems a bit disingenuous to hold the developers to a different standard IMO. If it's OK for Apple why shouldn't it be OK for the developers?



     


    Because of the profit motive.  Apple has a vested interest in making their devices appealing to consumers, and abusing private information gets in the way of that, as we saw earlier with the location-saving bug.  Apple fixed it fast, while Google defended storing it because Google's profit motive is selling users to their advertisers while Apple's is selling devices to consumers.  App developers have significantly less vested interest in any particular app, especially once they've collected some personal information and sold it.  They can just change their name, modify the app, and re-submit it under a different name.  They can fly under the radar.  The user doesn't know or trust the particular app maker, they trust Apple and its store to protect their interests.


     


    Thus, even if it seems unfair, from the point of view of selling great stuff to consumers there's a significant difference.

  • Reply 10 of 32
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    <p> Apple can sell that UDID-associated data to advertisers whenever they wish and remain in line with their privacy policies. They clearly say they may do whatever they wish with it for any reason they like...</p><p>  </p><p> and apparently they do.</p><p>  </p><p> <span style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); ">"Christophe Cauvy, head of digital, EMEA, at McCann-Erickson suggested iAd's appeal is obvious, while consumer insights provided by Apple strengthened such an offering further.</span><br style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); " /> <br style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); " /> <span style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); ">"The sheer number and profile of iPod touch and iPhone users is valuable," said Cauvy.</span><br style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); " /> <br style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); " /> <b style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); ">"The targeting aspect, using iTunes data in addition to demographics and location, is a great tool for advertisers.</b><span style="color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); "> It's a rich experience for users."</span></p><p> <a href="http://www.allnewsmac.com/2010/11/18/apple-expands-iad-in-europe-with-new-advertisers-like-l%E2%80%99oreal-renault-louis-vuitton-and-more/">http://www.allnewsmac.com/2010/11/18/apple-expands-iad-in-europe-with-new-advertisers-like-l%E2%80%99oreal-renault-louis-vuitton-and-more/</a></p><p>  </p><p> <span style="background-color: rgb(226, 225, 225); color: rgb(24, 24, 24); font-family: 'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif; ">Apple does sell you to advertisers, but keeps it low-profile and "unmentionable". It's certainly not now a primary focus like it would be to a Google or Facebook. </span></p>

    Except, unsurprisingly, none of those "quotes" are found in that article. How many times have we seen this with GG. Does he just think no one will check his links and we'll just assume they support the stuff he makes up?

    Even his apparently fake quotes don't support his assertion. We all know that Google's business model is to sell us to advertisers, just as we know that it's in Apple's best interest not to. Never trust a shill.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member


    The difference is I trust Apple. I do not trust ad companies or developers who put ads within their apps. Period! If I know beforehand that an apps has ads, I won't buy it. If I buy and find ads in it, I send it to the trash no matter what I paid. It's really that simple.

  • Reply 12 of 32
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    It should come as no surprise that our private, trackable info has value that can be sold to advertisers. That’s the very foundation of Google’s profits. It’s less fundamental to Apple and iOS developers, but still true. So—in this case, for iOS users, privacy wins and some ad value is lost. Some, but not all.

  • Reply 13 of 32
    red oakred oak Posts: 668member


    Give me a f**** break.  Apple announced back in August, 2011 their intention to do this.  Do not be shocked now it is happening  


     


    And, I think this is a good thing.  I LOVE that Apple is making iOS more private for the consumer by default.  A 24% impact to advertising to those network that are looking to highly track and target is really not going to amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things 


     


    Zero financial impact to Apple... Move on   

  • Reply 14 of 32
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jonyo View Post


    I have no sympathy for the ad people in this case. Just because it will affect their bottom line doesn't mean that we consumers have to be ok with the practice. Screw 'em. If ad revenues go down and more apps have to charge 0.99 or 1.99 instead of being free to compensate, I'm ok with that. I'd much rather pay for an app I want to use than put up with a bunch of ads inside an app to save 99 cents. There's a glut of crappy free apps trying to get by on ad revenue anyway, so if this cuts down on that, all the better.



     


    i have to agree with this. I think that all apps that are paid should be required to be ad free and all free with ads should be required to have a way for us to pay to turn the annoying things off. 

  • Reply 15 of 32
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member


    There is something rather ironic about a group of people complaining about ad supported apps on an ad supported website.


     

  • Reply 16 of 32
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member

    Quote:


    Jim Payne said: Here, we see a direct correlation between the money paid for an ad and the ability to track an ad. 



     


    He got this part right.  Of course, tracking individuals' behavior without their knowledge or (real) consent is vile, regardless of how much money it makes someone else, but apparently he missed that morality lesson growing up.


     


    Quote:


    "It’s clear that Apple needs to address this issue with an appropriate alternative, because the damage to a publisher’s bottom line will likely be material if UDID data actually disappears.”



     


    However, this part he got totally wrong.  It's not clear that Apple needs to address anything of the sort.  Unlike Google, Apple's customer base isn't the advertisers, it's the buyers of their products.  Unlike Google, who depends on profiling individuals to increase profits, Apple is perfectly happy making their money the old-fashioned way: make great products, sell them to satisfied customers.  Apps are available for purchase at very reasonable prices, making customers, developers and Apple all very happy.  No secrecy, no treachery, no BS.


     


    And just to ward off any stupid comments about Apple's ads, they are such a tiny part of Apple's business that it could be considered a roundoff error.  Not a consideration.

  • Reply 17 of 32
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 225member


    As a developer who puts ads in some of my apps (alway with a way topaz to turn them off) I welcome this, it means other publishers/developers might be more inclined to use iAds


     

  • Reply 18 of 32
    nhtnht Posts: 4,487member


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Would you be surprised to know that Apple considers UDID to be non-personal and non-identifiable? Apple also states that sharing, transferring, or even selling information associated with a specific UDID to any company, partner, marketer and anyone else for any reason they wish is perfectly permissible. They consider it non-personal info.


     


    From Apple's Privacy Policy:


    "We also collect non-personal information ? data in a form that does not permit direct association with any specific individual... 


     


    We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose.


    We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising."


     


    If Apple considers sharing information associated with a UDID as acceptable use of data gathered from it's users it seems a bit disingenuous to hold the developers to a different standard IMO. If it's OK for Apple why shouldn't it be OK for the developers?



     


    Lie by omission:


     


    "If we do combine non-personal information with personal information the combined information will be treated as personal information for as long as it remains combined."


     


    UDID as used by app devs to tie your account information (aka you) to a specific device is treated by Apple as "personal information", not as non-personal.  


     


    Access to MAC address is likely the next thing to go.

  • Reply 19 of 32


    Couldn't Apple just provide a function that only gives the Ad people an encrypted ID that e.g. is the MD5 encryption of the developer's or Ad company's ID combined with the UDID?


     


    That way the modified IDs couldn't be sold to other companies, the Ad people would be pleased, and our privacy would only be compromised in lesser and more acceptable manner.

  • Reply 20 of 32
    nhtnht Posts: 4,487member
    orlando wrote: »
    <p> There is something rather ironic about a group of people complaining about ad supported apps on an ad supported website.</p><p>  </p>

    I don't see any ads...frankly if the ads here were as tastefully done as on The Loop and Daring Fireball I'd turn off ad block for AI just as I do the DF and TL.

    Not that I click on any of those but it's one small image that doesn't bog my browser down so if they get any revenue from serving the ad I'm happy to let them do so.
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