Everything You Need to Know About SKAdNetwork 4.0

During one of the WWDC 2022 sessions, Apple developers announced an update to SKAdNetwork, which will hit the scene along with the iOS 16 release. SKAdNetwork 4.0 will bring dramatic changes to ad campaigns for iOS 16 apps: there will be privacy thresholds, hierarchical source identifiers and the ability to attribute web-based ads that direct to the advertised app’s App Store product page.

For a video presentation on the update, go to the Apple website. In this article, we present an overview of the major changes.

Crowd anonymity: three anonymity tiers

SKAdNetwork 4.0 divides ad campaigns into three crowd anonymity tiers:

The anonymity tier determines the granularity of data received in the postback.

skadnetwork 4.0 crowd anonymity
The more users that are involved in your campaign, the easier it will be for Apple to keep them anonymous and collect user data without compromising their privacy.

Source ID: hierarchical source identifiers

Previously, campaigns could only be identified by a Campaign ID, a number from 0 to 99 denoting the campaign identifier in SKAdNetwork.

SKAdNetwork 4.0 will feature Source ID, a four-digit identifier with its own hierarchy. For example, a Source ID might be the number 5739, where:

This update adds more flexibility to the campaign structure and variable testing: instead of 100 campaign IDs, there will be 10,000 different ID combinations available, which will allow advertisers to capture much more data on campaign performance.

However, the amount of data received will depend on the crowd anonymity:

skadnetwork 4 source id

Two conversion values

Before SKAdNetwork 4.0, the only way to return a conversion value was a number between 0 and 63. You could link these numbers to the revenue you received: CV = 1 for a 1 USD purchase, CV = 2 for a 2 USD purchase, etc.

To learn more about how this works, visit our guide on SKAdNetwork Conversion Value.

In SKAdNetwork4.0, conversion values will be classified into two types:

The conversion value you get will also depend on the crowd anonymity:

skadnetwork 4 conversion value

Multiple Conversions: changes in the postback sending mechanism

Before SKAdNetwork 4.0, postback sending was pretty complicated, with a 24-hour waiting period needed to update the conversion value. This means it could have taken 1–63 days for an advertiser to receive information about the conversion after an install.

skadnetwork conversion value
Postback sending mechanism before SKAdNetwork 4.0

Now conversion values will be returned within the following sending windows:

skadnetwork 4 conversion timeline
Postback sending mechanism in SKAdNetwork 4.0

Before the update, it was only possible to track user actions immediately after the app install. The new function will allow advertisers to take a deeper dive into the customer journey and evaluate ad campaigns based on the quality of engaged users.

Note, however, that you will only get the fine-grained conversion value with Postback 1 (0–2 days). The other two will have coarse conversion values and only general information about the conversions.

Mobile Web-to-App Support: attribution for web-based ads in Safari

With SKAdNetwork 4.0, advertisers will be able to attribute web-based ads that direct to the app’s App Store product page.

This will work for both advertisers’ own websites and ad frames that lead directly to the app page in the App Store.

The new feature will allow you to track Web2App campaigns.

skadnetwork 4 web to app

What’s next?

SKAdNetwork 4.0 is a big step towards balancing user data privacy and collection to evaluate ad effectiveness. However, there is still much room for improvement: according to Apple developers, they will come up with other solutions allowing advertisers to get even more quality information without compromising user anonymity.

For the latest news on mobile attribution and analytics, check out the MyTracker blog.

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Tags: iOS 14.5+ SKAdNetwork