The Impact of Apple's App Tracking Transparency Framework on the App Ecosystem

22 Pages Posted: 25 May 2023 Last revised: 4 Feb 2024

See all articles by Cristobal Cheyre

Cristobal Cheyre

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Benjamin T. Leyden

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Sagar Baviskar

Carnegie Mellon University

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 19, 2023

Abstract

We study the impact of the implementation of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework on the Apple App Store ecosystem. We use comprehensive data on every app available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store ecosystems in the eighteen-month period around the implementation of ATT, and a difference-in-differences analysis to investigate whether the introduction of the privacy transparency framework affected the incentives for developers in the Apple ecosystem to create new apps, update their existing apps, or withdraw from the market. We also leverage data on the presence of Software Development Kits (SDK) in a select number of apps in each ecosystem to study how developers adapted specific functionalities in their products, such as the use of advertising platforms or payment systems. We find that the number of available apps in the Apple App Store ecosystem quickly recovers after an initial drop following the introduction of ATT. When analyzing the use of SDKs, we find a reduction in the use of Monetization and Ad Mediation SDKs, and an increase in the use of Authentication and Payments SDKs. Our results suggest developers did not withdraw from the market after ATT and instead adapted to operate under the conditions of a more protective privacy framework.

Suggested Citation

Cheyre, Cristobal and Leyden, Benjamin T. and Baviskar, Sagar and Acquisti, Alessandro, The Impact of Apple's App Tracking Transparency Framework on the App Ecosystem (May 19, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4453463 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4453463

Cristobal Cheyre (Contact Author)

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ( email )

New York
United States

Benjamin T. Leyden

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Sagar Baviskar

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-9853 (Phone)
412-268-5339 (Fax)

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