Apple reportedly has begun rejecting new iOS apps that access unique device identifiers, leading to developer concern — and potential upside for ad tracking firms including Seattle’s HasOffers.
Over the weekend, TechCrunch reported that Apple had begun bouncing new apps that use the UDID (Unique Device Identifier), an alphanumeric character string specific to each individual iPad or iPhone. TechCrunch noted that, though this had been anticipated for some time due to privacy concerns, Apple was moving faster than expected.
While HasOffers said they knew about the pending change, HasOffers’ Jake Ludington writes, “What we didn’t know was that Apple would be implementing the phase out by blocking apps submitted to the store.” HasOffers, which has its own product to help mobile app developers track installations, however, disputes the contention that UDID is the only accurate way to track mobile app conversions, an approach taken by major mobile ad networks.
Instead of capturing the UDID, “By gathering several pieces of anonymous data about a user at the time of an ad click, you can achieve a high degree of accuracy in attributing a mobile app conversion back to that user when they eventually install an app on their iPhone (or Android device),” notes Ludington in a blog post. And, potentially, without as severe of a privacy concern.
Ludington also believes that asking device owners for permission to capture their UDIDs won’t work, long-term, because of the disconnect between the number of people who provide permission and the likely greater number who download and install an app. And, he anticipates Apple’s move will spur more competition for alternate approaches to UDIDs, such as HasOffers’ Mobile App Tracking.
Previously on GeekWire: HasOffers to help mobile app developers track installations
Frank Catalano is a regular GeekWire columnist, and is assisting this week while Todd Bishop is off. You can follow Frank on Twitter @FrankCatalano.