How Digitally Grown Brands Can Continue to Scale, Despite Apple’s IDFA Blow

Apple IDFA

Apple stunned marketers when it recently announced its iOS 14.5 privacy and data use update.

Released April 26, 2021, this update will require app developers to obtain permission to access a device’s advertising identifier. Currently, users must opt-out of sharing their IDFA information with advertisers, but following Apple’s newest update, users will be required to opt-in. It is estimated the number of iOS users agreeing to share their data could decline by as much as 60%.

Mobile platforms and advertisers are increasingly anxious of the approaching release because the loss of Apple’s IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) data will have a significant impact on the ability to gain user insights as well as target, personalize and measure their mobile advertisements. Facebook has launched multiple PR campaigns in retaliation and warned analysts of a dip in revenue, while DigiDay has encouraged the industry to prep for the “IDFA apocalypse.”

So, how can brands who have relied on Facebook and other app-based advertising to reach their audiences prepare for continued scale despite the IDFA setback?

Leverage the strengths of offline direct marketing channels.

The forthcoming update to iOS 14.5 has already prompted e-commerce brands to proactively search for another option, including direct mail. The mail channel is more than capable of delivering on two of the biggest challenges Apple’s update imposes on marketers: targeting and measurement. In fact, some may even say it shines in these areas.

Also, direct mail also does not require an opt-in.

Direct mail and ad targeting

Dynamic lookalike modeling is at the core of most direct mail campaigns. There is a variety of high-quality and dependable offline data sources available for use when building a mailing list – each with insights into consumer demographics, psychographics and purchase history. This consumer data allows for precise audience targeting and personalization capabilities to ensure your mail piece is relevant and engaging. Even prior to the rapidly proliferating digital privacy regulations, direct mail’s average response rates were 9 times higher than digital marketing platforms, further confirming the credibility of the channel’s targeting potential and effectiveness.

Direct mail and ad measurement

Your mailing list tells you exactly who received your advertisement, queuing a straightforward attribution process, even if you’re only collecting email addresses on customers. You should start by referencing your directly attributable elements such as URLs, TFNs or promo codes to track some of your conversions. Then, the remaining untracked sales or orders can be “matched back” to the campaign’s mailing addresses as another signal to receive some level of credit for the sale – based on your attribution model. The matchback process is especially important for a comprehensive view of your campaign performance and direct mail impact, as only a fraction of your direct mail responses will come through a directly attributable element.


Apple’s IDFA changes could be an opportunity for brands to enhance their marketing mix by integrating a traditional channel known to reach precise, lookalike audiences, accelerate customer acquisition, and deliver a consistent ROI. Rather than panic, consider testing direct mail to see the impact it can have on your 2021 growth goals. Contact us today to get started.


Featured in BRAND United on 3.9.2021