ATT and cookie deprecation signifies more than just a technological shift - it's a game-changer for marketers who are looking to reach engaged consumers where they are spending the most  time. So how can marketers adapt their mobile advertising strategy and continue to ensure they reach their consumers where they are?

In short, as the mobile advertising landscape changes, so should the way advertisers run digital campaigns. Let's break down how advertisers adapt their mobile strategy accordingly (spoiler: all signs point to in-app advertising where more than half of users are still addressable.)

Brief history of privacy changes on mobile

Traditionally, to advertise on web browsers or apps, marketers have utilized cookies and mobile ad IDs (MAIDs). That means marketers utilize unique user identifiers for tracking, retargeting, frequency capping, audience segmentation, and attribution. But following privacy changes over time, addressability has become significantly more challenging.

  • September 2017: Apple released ITP 1.0 to limit the use of cookies on Safari and prevent cross-site tracking.
  • May 2018: The GDPR became applicable in the EU.
  • January 2020: CCPA gave California residents rights over their personal information.
  • April 2021: Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT) on iOS.
  • 2024: Chrome plans to disable third-party cookies for all of their users. They’ve already started with 1% of their global users, and  plan to expand to 100% of users by Q3. 

You know the history. Now, here are some tips for tailoring your mobile strategy to maximize your impact with both addressable users, users who have a unique identifier, and non-addressable users, users who do not have a unique identifier.

Addressability strategy of advertisers in the industry 

Here are some commonly used practices that marketers use to get ahead of their competitors before the last cookie falls.

  • Embrace first party data: Without third-party cookies, first-party data has a key role to play. Marketers invest extensive resources in building user trust, encouraging opt-ins, and building a robust data infrastructure.
  • Collaborate with industry players to explore alternative ID solutions: Some marketers explore alternative methods to cookies and consider testing with partners like The Trade Desk or Liveramp, who offer other ID solutions to address these cookie-based challenges.
  • Optimize in-app advertising: Mobile users only spend 10% of their time on web, so 90% of mobile time is spent in-app, particularly social media and gaming apps. The best part: the majority of supply in apps is still addressable. Marketers are optimizing in-app strategy with more personalized ad experiences, retargeting, audience segmentation, and strategic placements to engage users. 

Getting even more granular, let’s discuss how marketers can better understand non-addressable users.

How advertisers segment non-addressable users

Non-addressable users are still very valuable - marketers are getting more innovative with how they market to them. While marketers may not be able to get specific-user level information, some contextual data is still available:

  • Contextual information: The type of content users are engaging with (e.g. what they are reading, mobile games they are playing, how long they’re engaging with this content, how the app is rated, etc.) 
  • Contextual demographic information: General demographic information can be inferred based on the content users are engaging with
  • Technical device information: Device type, model, OS, connectivity
  • Geographic location: Country, city, time of day

By adapting to this constantly-evolving advertising landscape, you can continue to make sure you’re in the best position for growth - just make sure you’re using the right approach. And with users spending 5 hours a day on their mobile devices and 90% of that time happening in-app according to - building a comprehensive mobile strategy is crucial to long term brand success.

That’s why it’s also essential to have the right partners - and at Unity, we can help connect you with premium demand sources, offer full data transparency, and much more.

Get started with Unity’s programmatic solutions and get ahead of the game. 

Let's put these tips to good use

Grow your app business with ironSource