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Apple’s privacy updates have increased the price of cost-per-action (CPA) ads for ecommerce marketers by as much as 200%, Moloco, a leader in machine learning and growth solutions for mobile marketers and ecommerce companies, said after an in-depth analysis of changes in iOS mobile advertising over the past year. Moloco has published its findings — including how ecommerce marketers can adapt — in a recent report, ECommerce CPA Trends on iOS.

Above: CPA costs for tracked users increased by 63% after the release of iOS 14.5 and 94% more after iOS 14.6 went live — a 200% total uptick in price.

Covering 33.3b programmatic advertising bids, 2.2b ad impressions served, 8.2m clicks, and 95k actions, Moloco’s report explores the impact Apple’s recent privacy policy shifts have had on mobile ad costs. The research demonstrates that the cost of ecommerce CPA advertising to tracked iOS users has increased by 200%. It also shows that the cost of ecommerce CPA advertising to non-tracked iOS users has risen by 155%.

These price movements are directly related to the significant decline in tracked users on iOS, which fell from 73% of Apple users at the beginning of the year to 32% by the end of June. The rate of user tracking opt-outs spiked after the release of iOS 14.6 — likely due to the fact that the update was automatic. The pace of opt-outs slowed through the second half of June, but additional updates may put more downward pressure on the number of tracked users on Apple’s ecosystem. The data supports this conclusion, as most users decline tracking when asked.

According to the study, ecommerce marketers should adopt new strategies to navigate these developments. The report recommends advertisers emphasize ROAS, diversify their traffic sources, and use new technologies to optimize their ad spend. In particular, innovative approaches to spend management that leverage machine learning have proven much more capable of navigating rate volatility than traditional means.


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Overall, the research indicates that if ecommerce marketers don’t change their approach to mobile advertising soon, they are at high risk of budget blowout.

Read the full report by Moloco.

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