Recently, Mobupps witnessed one news that everyone has been waiting for: at WWDC 2022, Apple announced an update to the SKAdNetwork API.
Why is SKAdNetwork useful for app advertisers? With SKAdNetwork, advertisers study mobile and web ad performance metrics and measure success based on views, clicks, and installs while respecting user privacy.
As technology advances, SKAdNetwork 4.0 is making some changes that will make it one of the most trusted app attribution tools.
How did it work before?
SKAdNetwork includes four main components:
- Ad networks that connect publishers with advertisers
- Publishing app that displays ads
- Target app behind ads
- Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) that attributes and optimizes the collected data.
Advertisers can receive various data using SKAdNetwork:
- Publisher ID of the publishing application
- Click-through attribution for mobile app ads
- Installation for the first time
- Campaign ID that provides data about creativity, campaigns, and placements.
- Conversion values range from 0 to 63 that an advertiser must set, and these values provide quality scores of users, rather than revenue data.
- Accurate attribution, virtually devoid of fraud
- Cryptographic verification of parameters and attribution
Let’s figure it out in order.
1. Web attribution
The update allows advertisers to attribute user flows from the web to the app. Ads lead users to pages in the App Store where they can download the targeted app. It will be possible to attribute both web and in-app ads using the Private Click Measurement feature. Also, Apple has confirmed that SKAdNetwork for the web will be Safari only.
2. Multiple conversions (postbacks)
With this feature, you can set multiple attribution windows for different conversion rates, making it easier to evaluate in-app behavior and calculate return on ad spend. Depending on the specific conversion window: 0-2 days, 3-7 days, and 8-35 days (each of these windows can include several engagements), you can get up to three postbacks.
With earlier access to performance information, advertisers can optimize their ad campaigns faster. Now you don’t have to wait for the last conversion before learning about each conversion.
3. Hierarchical source identifiers
Campaign ID will support a maximum of four digits, while previous versions of SKAdNetwork only support up to two. And now it’s not “campaign id” but “source ID.” A hierarchical source ID will allow advertisers to attribute installs to campaigns, as well as get additional attribution information.
The benefit of this feature is that you can support up to 10,000 values for app campaigns, ads, and more. This gives advertisers more flexibility in mobile app campaigns and more attribution insights when privacy thresholds are reached. Most importantly, user privacy is respected across all applications.
4. Hierarchical conversion values
With version 4.0, Apple is introducing a new concept called hierarchical conversion values, which ensures that advertisers get at least some of the data even if their campaign generates too few installs to reach the privacy threshold.
The hierarchical conversion values will be of two kinds: coarse-grained (which is further divided into three segments: low, medium, and high levels of crowd anonymity, each with its privacy threshold) and granular values (which are the same as the conversion value in the latest version).
As a reminder, crowd anonymity is a term Apple uses to refer to the privacy-focused way in which SKAdNetwork provides attribution data. The more users and the more difficult it is to identify a unique user, the more data Apple sends.
The number of conversion values that an advertiser can see will depend on which group the campaign belongs to, based on the number of installs it generates.
As you all know, in June 2021, our industry got some striking news regarding the launch of iOS 15. This change, on the one hand, for some was very welcomed due to the transparency regulations, but, on the other hand, in the Ad networks and advertisers, the industry created overwhelming news, generating some interesting implications, questions, and overall concerns about how their business will work after the change will happen.
Small steps before even starting to work with SKAdNetwork in the best way possible
- Working with MMP is a really good option as it offers a framework for user routing and link building, and helps track your attribution. MMPs have rich integrations that allow marketers to measure every user click, linking those clicks to relevant app installs, and informing their partners of all app events that occur after installation.
- Choose your media sources wisely. In the new world of iOS14.5, smaller traffic sources are the only way to avoid duplication.
- When dealing with advertisers who pay based on CPI/CPA – if you are buying at CPC/CPM rates, give a small test budget, and constantly check your publishers’ spending, otherwise, you may end up losing money.
- Make sure you avoid duplicate attributions in iOS 14.5+ by making sure you can see the data on at least one platform, or ask the advertiser to be transparent with the numbers they see as there may be discrepancies.
- It’s best to work with MMPs that support probabilistic attribution because Media sources that don’t use probabilistic modeling can contribute up to 33% of free “organic” client users, but if they don’t approve of ATT, they won’t be attributed to you.
Non-conventional solutions Mobupps has been using since the launch of IOS 15 Skadnetwork
- Probabilistic attribution solution Appsflyer & Adjust
At Mobupps, we have connected to every major MMP – we are seeing 70% more attribution in iOS 14.5+ versions from offerings that have probabilistic attribution in real-time.
You can do a custom integration with Adjust + Appsflayer that will allow you to work with this method, buy another postback implementation, and change a few options in ios offers that target users above ios 14.5+.
It is necessary to understand the difference between probabilistic attribution and deterministic attribution.
Why is probabilistic attribution more recommended for iOS 14.5+?
Probability attribution is the process of assigning a user a likelihood of participating in a campaign based on that user’s attributes and behavior. If a user does not share their IDFA on iOS 14, the postback cannot be assigned with a 100% chance that a particular campaign resulted in an install. Instead, the MMP system uses a set of probabilities that an install was caused by one or more campaigns.
Probabilistic attribution gives you a 70% higher chance of being attributed to your traffic than other methods. Probabilistic click modeling is always enabled. View-through probabilistic modeling needs to be enabled on the app settings page, but it can still work! Uses statistics and is not based on unique identifiers.
Clicks with a referrer or ID match are prioritized if they occur within the lookback window.
The attribution window is determined by the MMP system dynamically, depending on the user’s network. The window duration is adaptive but shorter than the window of other methods (up to 24 hours).
- AAP – Special advance privacy settings – MMP Usage in Appsflyer + AAP Tune & Appsflyer
In Mobupps, we promote our offers in mainly 2 ways: providing direct links to our trusted partners Directly from the MMP or integrating the offer with our ad server Tune.
We found one method that we can work with using both integrations and still expose the campaign performance results in an aggregated manner, preventing any option to track users across apps and websites owned by different companies and the ability to uniquely identify a user or a device.
The method is: AAP is the default attribution model for Apple devices operating on ios 14.5+, except in cases that are explicitly permitted by Apple, such as owned media and ATT consented users.
Unlike the other attribution methods described, the AAP machine learning algorithms’ goal is to maximize the accuracy of the campaign aggregated performance, not the end-user attribution accuracy.
- Appsflyer and Tune Server Postback with a Partner ID
When working with Appsflyer IOS offers, we always set up 2 campaigns in Tune:
- One offer targeting users using os version till ios 14.4.2 – with the Postback protocol of Server Postback with Transaction id
- Second offer targeting users using os version ios 14.5 + with the postback setting of: Server Postback with a Partner ID
What do these postback protocols mean?
Server Postback with Transaction id – is tracking installs and events for users that we get only transaction ids for users that send click ids as identifiers can be usually followed while using versions till ios 14.4.2 and beneath.
Server Postback with Partner ID is the advertiser’s server that stores the partner ID, offer ID, and other information passed to it from TUNE. If that user converts on the offer, the advertiser’s server indicates this event to TUNE. Using these targeting rules ensures that, in case, our ad server will track all the installs from all the versions that our MMP Tracked for our ad network, and not only users coming till ios 14.4.2 and beneath.
At this stage, the future of mobile advertising looks intriguing to absolutely everyone, both users, advertisers, and developers. Users get more privacy, and advertisers get more helpful information that drives campaign success.
As always, Mobupps is up to date with the latest developments in affiliate marketing and is implementing the latest changes to its advertising campaigns.
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