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Getting the Most from SKAdNetwork as an Advertiser

By January 25, 2022March 8th, 2022iOS 14 & SKAdNetwork 6 Min Read

Marketing campaigns for mobile apps may now be tracked in a deterministic, aggregated manner thanks to Apple’s SKAdNetwork (StoreKit Ad Network). This enables advertisers to assess which advertising campaigns and marketing channels performed well while maintaining privacy: there is no device-level or user-level data collected.

SKAdNetwork conversion reporting through the Kochava dashboard

Allowing mobile app install attribution while protecting user privacy is possible with the SKAdNetwork API. In May 2018, several doubts concerning the future of SKAdNetwork attribution solutions on iOS were raised. However, because of a lack of resources and effort, SKAdNetwork had seen no widespread adoption. 

In the wake of Apple’s announcement of the AppTrackingTransparency framework and new privacy standards, all of that changed. Unsurprisingly, the industry had no choice but to embrace the campaign measurement alternatives. Thankfully, Apple gave its SKAdNetwork a makeover that introduced vital improvements to post-install quality insights.

What is the purpose of SKAdNetwork?

SKAdNetwork is a marketers operating system framework for attribution of mobile installs that protects user data and privacy. With this tool, app install campaigns can be monitored without jeopardizing user privacy. The App Store and Apple’s servers verify and certify the attribution. The result is then reported to the network, separated from user IDs, device IDs, and time stamps. When a user clicks on an ad and goes to the store, the publishing app and the network share some basic information to help personalize the experience and support attribution over SKAdNetwork.

How to get the most out of SKAdNetwork?

If you’re an advertiser, you’re probably wondering how to make the most of Apple’s new advertising measurement method. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:

  • SKAdNetwork API integration is required by your media partners to support it.  A mobile measurement partner (MMP) can help you do this out-of-the-box with an iOS software development kit (SDK).
  • In order to detect any issues or misuse, you’ll also need to gather and validate the digitally signed install alerts from each media partner, either directly or via an MMP vendor.
  • Reporting is the next step in making sense of the data. The SKAdNetwork API has a restricted number of values and IDs, which presents difficulty, but one that is not insurmountable. There are several ways in which clever campaign ID encoding may help you get the most out of Apple’s API, and an MMP working with SKAdNetwork certified ad networks can help you achieve the reporting you’ll need to make informed decisions.
  • Optimization and post-install measurements can benefit from intelligent parameter selection. It isn’t easy to encode a lot of information within the 64 conversion values Apple offers with SKAdNetworks updateConversionValue method. However, if you know how to utilize them, you can. An MMP can help you make the most  of these values and link them back to your reports if you want to assign and change them automatically without requiring specialized engineering effort.

Summary

Even though SKAdNetwork’s existing capabilities may not meet the expectations of today’s marketers, you may still get the most of it if you follow the guidelines mentioned above and work with an MMP.