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PGC Helsinki Digital: N3twork director of UA Matthew Saunders on preparing for an IDFA-less future

Learning lessons from the past to deal with the future
PGC Helsinki Digital: N3twork director of UA Matthew Saunders on preparing for an IDFA-less future

Kicking off Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital, N3twork director of user acquisition Matthew Saunders gave a talk on the history and future of UA.

Saunders began with a quick history lesson, starting in 2012 with the depreciation of UDID and the introduction of IDFA, a period which saw many companies begin to panic, something he is seeing happen similarly now that IDFA is being deprecated.

Following the introduction of IDFA, other companies began to innovate based on the identifier, with Google introducing the UAC, and other companies developing their own trackers too.

Saunders used this history to look into how UA currently operates, noting that "the vast majority of UA teams are lean, and are supported by technology", a vast change to pre-UAC years when media buying teams consisted of 40+ staff.

Buy buy buy

He also looked at where teams are buying their ads, noting that even N3twork, which is mainly looking for players of mid-core games, have successfully run campaigns through hypercasual games, a genre he believes isn't going away.

As for the tools used, Saunders noted that if you're not already using automated bidding tools, "you're probably already behind the curve".

Preparing for the future

Moving on to 2020 and the "death" of the UA, Saunders looked at preparing for the future, beginning with suggesting developers look carefully at SKAdNetwork, and ensuring marketing tech stacks are set up for it in advance.

That said, he also noted that we're not technically moving into an IDFA-less world, but a world of permission. It's still unclear what opt-in rates apps will see, and Saunders believes that developers should begin experimenting now to help keep opt-in rates high when iOS 14 rolls out.

Saunders also encouraged developers to integrate their UA and product teams to ensure in-app content will fit the SKAdNetwork model, instead of relying on external teams such as Facebook and Google.

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from September 14th to the 18th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place throughout the week here.