May 27, 2021

iOS 14.5: Updates on Changes, Immediate Impacts, and Next Steps

After months of anticipation, Apple finally introduced iOS 14.5 in late April. While the updated iOS included the typical new emojis and bug fixes, most of the widespread speculation had centered around new privacy and tracking protections for users.

Now that the new iOS is officially rolled out, CPG marketers are looking for answers: What pre-shop data is still available? How can brands effectively target shoppers on mobile devices?


The new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature requires developers to ask app users for permission to track them. More specifically, with iOS 14.5, apps are no longer allowed to access the IDFA, or identifier used for advertising on your Apple device, without your express permission. Traditionally, apps and their partners have used this IDFA to personalize the ads you see across different apps.  

While the move is ostensibly designed to protect consumer privacy, there are also rumblings that Apple intends to leverage its proprietary identification abilities for iOS users to expand its own ad platform.

In the meantime, AdAdapted is well positioned to respond to and take advantage of these changes’ subsequent impacts on the mobile advertising marketplace.


While some pre-rollout predictions held that up to 40% of users might opt-in to tracking, initial uptake by iOS users has been significantly lower.

AppsFlyer reported that as of mid-March, only 15% of apps have asked users for permission to track users, which has been interpreted as a sign that many others are taking a “wait and see” approach. According to Flurry, an analytics firm, about 6% of US iOS users who had downloaded the updated version and been asked to opt-in had agreed to tracking. Globally the percentage jumps to 13%.


With this level of uncertainty, marketers will need to seek out contextual advertising partners that can leverage behavioral data to effectively target consumers. Partners who can access shopper data or list building data will be invaluable to brands. This type of data does not rely on the tracking nuances and privacy updates that come with the iOS 14.5 changes.

Partners like AdAdapted, the leading add-to-list advertising solution for CPG, are poised to be key to brands navigating the tracking changes.

AdAdapted partners with a variety of apps to access in-app contextual inventory with native ads customized for each unique user experience. Their platform leverages behavioral list building data within these apps to target consumers in a highly personalized manner without needing to rely on IDFA. With this intel, AdAdapted can serve high-impact digital ads allowing consumers to add promoted products directly to their shopping list.

CPGs that work with AdAdapted will be able to confidently leverage this unique data that indicates the grocery items shoppers are seeking and adding to their list to pick up in-store or via ecomm.

Not all ad solutions are positioned so well. Should iOS users continue to express hesitancy to allow apps to track them, the consequences will be significant for ad platforms that rely on IDFA to track users across apps. Facebook and the groups that leverage its ad platform have been forced to rethink their methods of personalization and engagement. Facebook’s messages to users on the subject have included subtle implications that it could cost money to use if users don’t allow tracking.

When advertisers begin to lose the ability to track users across different websites or confirm that their ad spend is linked to conversion, they will likely begin to shift quickly to alternative methods of digital advertising. Behavioral data and contextual relevance, along with audience modeling, could quickly make a comeback into the forefront of advertisers’ strategies.

AdAdapted is helping CPGs fill the gap. Shopping lists provide the foundation for AdAdapted’s platform and serve as an extremely unique form of contextual inventory. Lists reveal product and brand preferences without revealing personally identifiable information. Access to this data within AdAdapted’s proprietary network of apps will allow brands to continue to engage grocery shoppers and land promoted products on their lists without running afoul of privacy restrictions.


Advertisers who have invested heavily in advertising that relies on iOS tracking data may have started to worry, but there are several steps they can take to mitigate the impact of iOS 14.5’s rollout

  • Monitor whether more consumers begin to opt into tracking
  • Press partners that rely on iOS data for alternative strategies
  • Seek vendors that have expertise in behavioral advertising
  • Begin building models of target consumers with more traditional methods

For more information on how to utilize AdAdapted’s grocery list data, contact us at or head over to and request a demo!

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