SKAN 4.0: Industry Predictions and Thoughts
The SKAN 4.0 configuration is now available on certain MMPs, which is exciting news! However, it’s important to note that the configuration won’t be very useful until networks like META, TikTok, and more adopt it. So, hold off on configuring your conversions for now.
Table of Contents
- SKAdNetwork 4.0: What Can App Marketers Expect?
- What do Industry Experts Have to Say About SKAdNetwork 4.0?
- Final Thoughts on SKAdNetwork 4.0
Currently, SKAdNetwork allows measurement for up to 72 hours. Still, if you configure SKAdNetwork 4.0 before the networks adopt it, your measurement window will be reduced to 48 hours, and you will only receive the first postback. But that’s not the only catch. We will do a deep dive into SKAN 4.0 topic in this article.
First, let’s focus on what REPLUG team has to say about the topic, and then we will cover each of the leader companies’ (AppsFlyer, Adjust, Branch, and Singular) and app marketers’ thoughts, insights, and predictions.
SKAdNetwork 4.0: What Can App Marketers Expect?
SKAN 4.0 offers the ability to measure events for up to 35 days with three different postbacks after the initial app install. This is particularly useful for apps with longer funnels, such as subscription apps, as it enables measurement of user quality metrics like trial conversions after a free trial and 5-week retention.
It’s worth noting, however, that all three postbacks will be subject to privacy thresholds similar to previous SKAN versions. Privacy threshold now will be named “Crowd Anonymity.”
Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that Apple has not disclosed the specific daily install thresholds required to bypass the privacy thresholds for SKAN 4.0 or previous versions. As a result, it’s difficult to determine with certainty how many daily installs are needed to bypass these thresholds.
In addition, while web-to-app flow will be supported, it will only be available for the Safari browser. It’s important to note that SKAN 4.0 will only measure users on iOS 16.1.1 and later versions. As such, it may take some time for enough users to update their OS versions to 16.1.1 for the measurement to be fully effective.
What About SKAdNetwork 4.0 Postbacks?
The first postback will measure events that occur within the first two days post-installation, but please note that the data may be delayed for up to 48 hours. This means that in some cases, you may have to wait for two days to receive complete weekly or monthly data.
The second postback will measure events occurring between 3-7 days post-installation, with data potentially delayed for up to 144 hours. Sometimes, this may mean waiting up to 13 days to receive the complete weekly or monthly data.
The third postback will measure events that occur between 8-35 days post-installation, with data potentially delayed for up to 144 hours as well. In some cases, you may have to wait up to 41 days to receive complete weekly or monthly data.
Please note that you do not always need to wait for the maximum delay time. For example, you can lock the timer to receive data after only five days instead of waiting for the full 13 days for the second postback.
Configuring SKAN 4.0: Things to Keep In Mind
When configuring SKAN 4.0, it’s important to remember that if not all networks have adopted it at the time of configuration (which is likely), you will only receive the first postback that measures events within the first 48 hours post-installation. You will receive all three postbacks for the networks that have adopted SKAN 4.0.
This discrepancy between networks may create issues when comparing data. For example, if Facebook adopts SKAN 4.0 while TikTok has not yet done so, Facebook’s data will show events measured up to 35 days post-installation, while TikTok will only show events measured within the first two days. This could make Facebook’s numbers look better in comparison.
While networks have already begun working on SKAN 4.0 compatibility, it’s difficult to predict exactly when they will fully adopt the SKAN 4.0 environment. This could happen as soon as next month, or it may take several quarters or even up to a year for all networks to adopt it.
While the full availability of SKAN 4.0 may take some time, it’s recommended that you start upgrading your SDK to ensure compatibility with the SKAN 4.0 measurement. Additionally, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you will configure your conversion mapping.
What Industry Experts Have to Say About SKAdNetwork 4.0?
Let’s see what app marketing experts say about SKAN 4.0 and some of the leading mobile marketing platforms and software companies.
The Expert’s Point of View: Ekin Sönmez on SKAN 4.0
“Although SKAdNetwork 4.0 will still have important limitations, it is certainly exciting to consider how it will open new doors for measurement compared to earlier versions of SKAdNetwork.
As it will offer more possibilities, leveraging SKAdNetwork has become more complex for marketers. They will need to dedicate considerable time to the postback schema and consider factors such as postback delay and crowd anonymity.
While the implications we have seen promise a significant improvement, how SKAdNetwork 4.0 will perform in action remains to be seen. However, we can already anticipate that the Cost Per Event metrics will look better.”
Since SKAdNetwork 4.0 is a burning topic nowadays, AppsFlyer, a mobile marketing analytics and measurement platform notes:
“SKAN 4.0 is the most marketer-friendly version of SKAN to date. It adds new capabilities on top of what exists today, but it’s also more complicated. Although adoption may take some time, we’ve already seen a handful of advertisers and ad networks that are making significant progress.
Here are some tips for advertisers who are currently planning their SKAN 4.0 strategy:
- If you’re using AppsFlyer to configure your SKAN 4.0 schema, you’ll have a separate configuration for each conversion window (day 0-2, day 3-7 and day 8-35). As coarse values are limited to 3 buckets per window, it’s recommended that you think carefully about how you’re using coarse values to measure revenue ranges. On the one hand, you want your revenue ranges to be broad enough to capture the majority of the revenue that is generated in your app. On the other hand, you don’t want them to be too broad, as it may result in false reporting. You can also use AppsFlyer’s SKAN modeled data to get day 7 revenue for your iOS campaigns and use your coarse values to measure something else, such as events, retention, etc.
- LockWindow has its pros and cons, and it’s important to understand its tradeoffs. On the one hand, you’ll be able to get data sooner and optimize your campaigns faster. On the other hand, locking the window sooner means you won’t be able to measure the complete 35 day period that SKAN 4.0 offers. Also, locking can prevent you from accurately estimating the install date, and limit your ability to cohort.
- Apple’s approach is constantly evolving, so it’s important to make sure that your technological foundations are in place. A Mobile Marketing Partner can help you adapt quicker to the change by providing innovative tools and support.”
When it comes to SKAdNetwork 4.0, Adjust, a mobile marketing analytics platform, notes:
“As the mobile advertising industry continues to navigate the ever-changing privacy landscape, the importance of accurate measurement and attribution on SKAN cannot be overstated. It is important to keep in mind the three key steps for success: updating your SDK, optimizing your SKAN 4 settings, and testing with your preferred partners.
Firstly, to take advantage of SKAN 4, it is critical that you update your SDK to start adopting the new features. This will enable you to receive and process the latest postbacks from Apple, and ensure that your measurement and attribution are accurate and compliant with privacy regulations.
Secondly, it is crucial to spend time thinking about your SKAN 4 settings, including how to assign the coarse values in the different measurement windows. Having this new set of conversion values right from the start through the 3 postbacks should let you test and confirm engagement signals that, when available, translate into LTV measurement.
Our team of experts can help and inspire you to develop the right strategy that fits your business needs and goals. We understand that every business is unique and requires a personalized approach to SKAN 4 settings.
Finally, putting SKAN 4 to the test with your preferred partners and reviewing the results is the ultimate step in ensuring successful SKAN 4 measurement. Testing can help you identify any potential issues and adjust your SKAN 4 settings accordingly.
At Adjust, we have the expertise and tools to help you through this process and provide you with the insights you need to make informed decisions.
TL;DR, SKAN 4 provides a valuable new tool for the mobile advertising industry, but it’s important to take the time to update your SDK, consider your SKAN 4 settings, and thoroughly test the technology before fully implementing it. By following these steps, you can ensure that your measurement and attribution are accurate and compliant, while also maximizing the impact of your mobile advertising campaigns.”
Moving on with companies insights, Branch, a mobile software company focused on mobile deep linking, measurement, and attribution notes:
“A complete industry rollout of SKAN 4.0 support is going to take some time. Many updates and additional support are still required from multiple angles for the mobile ecosystem to align with SKAN 4.0 changes fully.”
However, Branch is progressing quickly in providing further SKAN 4.0 support:
“Future plans include helping you handle your SKAN conversion value mapping automatically, in addition to helping you understand how your upper-funnel events are valued (based on your team’s self-defined north star KPI).
We encourage app marketers to:
- Update your Branch SDK when convenient over the next few months so that you’re prepared when ad networks start releasing their support for SKAN 4. Fair warning: it may take a few months for everyone to catch up when it comes to SKAN 4.0.
- Think through how to map in-app events to user value. With the data you are able to extract, you can already start making predictions about a customer’s lifetime value. Additionally, you can begin working on marketing strategies that incorporate new conversion values.”
Regarding SKAdNetwork 4.0, Singular, a mobile measurement and analytics platform, goes into detail on how app marketers can make the most out of it:
“We know a lot of marketers have been struggling with SKAdNetwork (“SKAN”). And while SKAN 4 does bring a lot of additional complications and nuances to navigate, it also brings significant improvements and gains that will benefit marketers of every size and every app vertical, which is what we’re most excited about. SKAN 4 can be much more accessible than SKAN 3.
For example, with SKAN 3, we saw many smaller advertisers struggle to scale as they needed to invest quite a bit of budget and/or consolidate their campaigns to pass privacy thresholds to get conversion values reported back.
However, with SKAN 4, Apple introduced coarse conversion values, which will be available with low scale. We’ve already seen with SKAN 4 postbacks that conversion values can be reported back with just a handful of installs a day.
This means advertisers who generally have smaller budgets can start getting crucial engagement signals reported right away without significant investment.
Additionally, the introduction of longer windows and multiple postbacks means marketers are no longer restricted to signals from within the first 24 hours. This update will have a positive impact on data for marketers across the board, but it will be especially meaningful to apps that don’t have strong signals from the first day.
The longer windows and multiple postbacks will help provide longer cohort data (up to 35 days!) and will open the opportunity to capture more signals which is important for modeling the accurate data needed to scale performance on SKAN.
Singular’s top pieces of advice are to:
- Update your SDK and review SKAN 4 data early. While SKAN 4 is not currently running at scale, we are already receiving SKAN 4 testing postbacks from networks. As soon as networks start updating their SKAdNetwork version to 4.0, marketers will be able to see SKAN 4 data in their MMP reports. By updating their SDKs for SKAN 4 support, they can start testing its features and gain great insight into how to update their model to capitalize on SKAN 4 when it’s at full scale.
- Understand you need to try and test to get things right. To develop a conversion model that is optimized to capture the most signals and produce the most accurate reporting, you’ll need to iterate your SKAN 4 models. After reviewing Singular’s customers’ data, it’s clear companies that are running SKAN at scale test multiple models per app and, on average, test five different models to achieve scale.
- Plan your coarse conversion values for each time window. SKAN 4 provides the ability to see the number of “low,” “medium,” and “high” value users after 2 days, 7 days, and 35 days – so you can already plan how to decide the value of the user at each time period. At Singular, we can also provide recommendations for how to utilize these to get the best signal for your campaigns.
These are new exciting times for companies leveraging SKAdNetwork 4.0 – it’s a great time to learn and optimize your iOS campaigns! Learn more about the transition from SKAN 3 to SKAN 4“
Final Thoughts on SKAdNetwork 4.0
Given that it’s such a new development, it’s imperative we witness SKAN 4.0 in action. Until we see it in action and experience its measurement capabilities firsthand, the ideas presented in this article about SKAN 4.0 are merely theoretical.