iOS is 63% cheaper AND accounts for majority of real, human clicks on programmatic ads

Lots of advertisers have been whipped into a frenzy of concern over the loss of device-level identifiers in iOS. Adtech proponents tell them their targeting will be far worse and their ability to measure the effectiveness of campaigns will suffer too. But real practitioners of digital marketing will not be fooled by those ad tech proponents, because they know that targeting based on flawed targeting parameters is useless and measurement to the level of device identifiers is not necessary. Adtech proponents are simply trying to scare advertisers into continuing to buy their snake oil, which is built around privacy-invasive device identifier harvesting and targeting.

Our data below shows that device level identifiers are not necessary for highly successful digital marketing campaigns.

2021 Landscape - iOS 14.5+ is hitting mainstream


iOS 14.5+ is now around 70% of all iOS devices (blue area below) for the U.S. market.

Programmatic bid requests with IDs have dropped to 60%; and 40% of the bid requests for iOS no longer have device-level identifiers.

This is resulting in CPMs that are 63% cheaper than ID-enabled traffic.

For a longer read on this topic:

Smart marketers get far cheaper CPMs and better outcomes by showing ads to iOS devices, even without any additional targeting

Marketers who buy into the ad tech storyline are bidding less on traffic without IDs because they think that there is less targeting and reduced ability to track outcomes. Because they avoid bidding on iOS or bid lower for iOS devices, the CPMs for iOS devices are far less than the CPMs for Android and desktop web (while 3rd party cookies remain in effect)

The results below from five separate campaigns speak for themselves. By analyzing ONLY valid clicks on ads we can see that most of the clicks are coming from iOS devices. The data is from the last two weeks (which means iOS 14.5+ is 60-70% of the mix). So despite the lack of device level identifiers on iOS, we are still seeing the majority of the VALID clicks coming from iOS devices.

Practitioners will realize that this does not mean that Android and desktop web don’t work. It just means that ads shown to iOS devices work really well, despite all the fear around losing device level identifiers. It also supports my point of view that even if most of all of ad tech targeting is eliminated, the campaigns will not be worse, because the targeting wasn’t that accurate anyway. Further, tracking outcomes down to the device level is unnecessary when you can clearly see real clicks, and verified humans, arriving on the ecommerce sites from ads shown to iOS users.

Note all the dark blue (humans) and light blue that clicked through on ads (donut charts below). It boils down to the fact that showing ads to humans in the first place outweighs ANY additional targeting made possible by third party cookies or device identifiers. This is clearly something that adtech proponents don’t want you to hear, because they depend on selling targeting and campaign measurement based on third party cookies and device identifiers to make money.

The following examples are what real touches and clicks look like — mobile device, 300x250 ad unit (touches on the left, clicks on the right)

These experiments were conducted in 2021, some of which were inspired by this article:

So What?

If you haven’t tried this yet, set up a separate campaign line that targets only iOS devices with NO other targeting parameters. Look at the outcomes (not click rates, or number of impressions). Look for arrivals of real humans to your site and look at real business outcomes. Let me know what you find, and how this iOS campaign line stacks up to existing campaigns where you pay far higher CPMs and extra for targeting parameters, etc. If you need help to measure this, please let me know.