This post was most recently updated on February 1st, 2022
Post the IDFA Apocalypse, Apple’s upcoming launch for iOS 15 and SkAdNetwork updates will be bringing in a monetization option for publishers.
Every September, with the launch of the new iPhone series, Apple’s SKAdNetwork comes into focus for publishers, advertisers, and mobile marketers to test and see if it’s a lucrative ad-revenue generating stream.
In their current proposal regarding SKAdNetwork, Apple assumes the role of iOS’s app-install measurement provider, promoting marketing attribution safely and transparently.
Apple’s SKAdNetwork has anonymized user-level data and eliminated app attribution since the iOS 14 launch.
It’s what keeps track of your CPI conversion rates and app-install campaign IDs; this is done by keeping user identity a secret.
The mystery lies in Apple’s ways of preserving your details sans user identifiers. App Store takes care of the attribution process and is later validated via Apple’s servers.
Finally, it is extracted and secluded from anything that may reveal user identity and any temporary details that the ad networks get after the postback ping.
To plan ahead of time, you need to utilize the power of the SKAdNetwork especially if your ad revenue has been suffering from programmatic sources. It’s crucial to stay up to date with IOS programmed ad updates to always keep the ad revenue flowing in.
When it comes to SKAdNetwork, Apple does a lot of heavy lifting and tracking thereby saving time for advertisers who are regular buyers of the SKAdNetwork Inventory.
As iOS 15 adoptions will hit the mainstream soon, Android will spike their mobile app install ad spend over iOS. The ad networks that took the end of IDFA seriously and upgraded their prediction models for the big changes that the SKAdNetwork brought are growing market shares remarkably.
With iOS’s programmatic advertising; most of the revenue will come from SKAdNetwork Inventory, so it’s’ a no-brainer to use SKAdNetwork in 2021.
Apple Search Ads (ASA) saw a massive surge post the iOS 14 launch. The ad spends for skadnetwork campaigns doubled every week after that. However, we can’t just credit all of this to the iOS upgrade.
Apple also added a new update around May 2021 at the top of all search results. This tempted many advertisers to try it out. The latest skadnetwork Apple Search Ads is up about 25%.
All these IOS updates can impede advertisers’ strategies who heavily rely on ad campaign performance reporting tools to track budget, optimization metrics, etc.
While ASA does produce a decent ROI for the big players; its ad placements are simply not understood well among the smaller ad networks.
Open Questions for Advertisers:
With insufficient optimization levels to extract, advertisers will have to forget the traditional methods of acquiring user data and rely more on split testing and predictive modeling.
Brace yourselves for Apple’s latest iOS IDFA user-consent terms and conditions and look into the following key factors while keeping up with the ever-changing ad network requirements:
For ad networks and developers, Mobile Attribution Data is going to get more segmented.
To capture IDFAs or not? Many publishers assume that IDFA is slightly old-fashioned and disorganized to users. This is why many switched to using SKAdNetwork especially after the boost in usage of Apple Seach Ads since 2020.
How can I get the best out of SKAdNetwork and mobile app attribution?
Add these to your checklist:
More Privacy: Since Apples’ new App Tracking Transparency feature launch in iOS 15, users can decide if they want to be tracked across apps. Websites like Facebook have been secretly tracking user buying behavior, likes, and interests for ages to use this data in Facebook ads. With SKAdNetwork 2.0,
Apple guarantees app install campaign conversions within privacy parameters.
Reduced Ad Fraud (for now at least): Apple strictly looks into all app installs in the current framework, which is likely to bring down ad fraud for the time being.
Accuracy: Attributed App Install counts will be precisely depicted from App Store’s pings where SKAdNetwork attribution takes place right away.
Concerning advertisers, SkAdNetwork does come with few restrictions compared to prior means of app attribution.
Fortunately, there are loopholes to track and predict conversion rates by digging deep into Apple’s conversion value mechanism. The one-time postback covers the user’s conversion value. The data in this conversion value shares user’s activity post their installs. (Super Important!) Now how can this configuration be customized to extract meaningful insights?
The 6 bits in each conversion value have their unique decoding structured by the developer. This is associated with the source of the app install so map each conversion value
Make sure you have a robust prediction model built on these conversion values so that you can understand user activity first and sync it with their lifetime value.
With a steady prediction model, double down on potential wins and cut out on what’s causing ad revenue losses. This gives you more control to optimize accordingly and make decisions effectively.
For those who choose not to use SKAdNetwork, mobile measurement partners (MMPs) is a good option as it offers the framework for user routing and link building for retargeting and engagement.
MMPs are unbiased and deliver vast advertising-network integrations which can bolster campaign optimization. They allow marketers to measure each user click, attributing those clicks to the corresponding app installs, & updates their partners regarding all in-app events that happen post installs.
You end up saving money and time once you choose the right MMP and start investing in performance-driven platforms. MMPs establish trust between publishers & ad networks by double-checking the performance of associated ad partners.
Additional Benefits of MMPs:
With Apple’s everchanging SKAdNetwork requirements post the IDFA apocalypse, publishers need to plan and safeguard themselves from further turbulence.
We strongly recommend our publishers update to the latest iOS SDK version to get the best out of performance enhancements as soon as possible. This upgrade helps avoid API deprecation too.
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