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What is SKAdNetwork

SKAdNetwork (SKAN) refers to Apple's privacy-preserving framework for measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns on iOS devices. It was introduced with iOS 14 as part of Apple's broader privacy enhancements.

Traditionally, advertisers relied on the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to track and target users across different apps and measure the success of their ad campaigns. However, with iOS 14, Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which requires apps to obtain user consent before tracking their data via the IDFA.

SKAN provides an alternative solution for measuring ad campaign performance while respecting user privacy. It works by allowing app developers to attribute app installations and other valuable events (such as in-app purchases) to specific ad campaigns, without revealing individual user-level data to advertisers or ad networks. This ensures that user privacy is protected, as advertisers only receive aggregated data.

Here's how SKAN works:

1. Ad networks register with Apple's SKAdNetwork API and receive a unique identifier (SKAdNetwork ID).
2. Advertisers include the SKAdNetwork ID in their ad campaigns.
3. When a user interacts with an ad, the ad network receives attribution for that ad, without knowing any specific user information.
4. If the user installs the app, the App Store notifies the ad network responsible for the ad and provides limited information about the installation, such as the campaign ID.
5. The ad network then combines this information with other campaign data to measure the effectiveness of its advertising.

SKAN helps protect user privacy by providing aggregated campaign performance data instead of individual-level data. This approach gives users more control over their data and helps prevent widespread tracking without consent.

Overall, SKAdNetwork is important because it provides a privacy-centric solution for measuring ad campaign effectiveness on iOS devices while complying with Apple's privacy policies and user consent requirements.

In the SKAdNetwork (SKAN) framework, the attribution of conversions is handled differently compared to traditional ad tracking methods. Here's how attribution works in SKAN:

1. Conversion Value: When setting up an ad campaign, advertisers assign a conversion value to specific user actions they consider valuable, such as in-app purchases or sign-ups. The conversion value is a 6-bit value (ranging from 0 to 63) that provides limited information about the user's activity but doesn't reveal specific details.
2. Postback and Validation: After a user installs an app from an ad campaign, the App Store will send a postback to the ad network responsible for the campaign. The postback contains aggregated data, including the campaign ID and the conversion value associated with the installed app.
3. Ad Network Attribution: The ad network uses the information received in the postback to attribute the installation to the specific ad campaign. They can aggregate this data with other postbacks to measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts.
4. Conversion Delay: To further protect user privacy, Apple introduces a conversion delay, which is a randomized time window of up to 24-48 hours. This delay ensures that conversions are not immediately tied to specific user interactions, making it harder to identify individual users.
It's important to note that SKAN attribution has limitations compared to traditional ad tracking methods. Since the attribution is done at the campaign level and relies on aggregated data, it does not provide granular information about individual user behavior or detailed user-level insights. Additionally, the conversion value is limited to a 6-bit value, which restricts the amount of information that can be conveyed.
Overall, the attribution process in SKAdNetwork focuses on providing aggregated data to ad networks while prioritizing user privacy. It aims to strike a balance between advertising measurement and protecting user information in the evolving landscape of privacy regulations.

AppsFlyer has developed solutions to help advertisers navigate the changes brought about by Apple's privacy enhancements. Here's how AppsFlyer and SKAN are related:

SKAN Integration: AppsFlyer has integrated SKAdNetwork into its platform, allowing advertisers to leverage the SKAN framework for measuring ad campaign performance while using AppsFlyer's robust attribution and analytics capabilities.
Conversion Value Management: AppsFlyer provides tools to manage and optimize conversion values in SKAN. Advertisers can define and map conversion events in AppsFlyer's dashboard, enabling them to attribute specific actions and events to different conversion values within the SKAN framework.
Conversion Reporting: AppsFlyer collects and aggregates conversion data from SKAdNetwork, allowing advertisers to view and analyze their SKAN conversion metrics within the AppsFlyer platform. This includes tracking installs, postbacks, and other valuable events associated with their ad campaigns.
Campaign Analysis and Optimization: AppsFlyer offers advanced analytics and reporting features to help advertisers gain insights into their SKAN campaigns. They can analyze user engagement, retention, revenue, and other key performance indicators to optimize their advertising strategies and improve campaign effectiveness.
Data Consolidation: AppsFlyer acts as a central hub for aggregating data from multiple ad networks and sources, including SKAdNetwork. This consolidation allows advertisers to gain a comprehensive view of their advertising efforts and make data-driven decisions based on unified insights.
By integrating SKAN into their platform, AppsFlyer aims to provide advertisers with a seamless transition to the privacy-centric measurement framework while offering robust attribution and analytics capabilities. Their solutions enable advertisers to measure the impact of their campaigns, optimize marketing strategies, and make informed decisions while respecting user privacy.
It's worth noting that the specific features and functionalities related to SKAN may evolve over time, and it's advisable to refer to the official documentation and resources provided by AppsFlyer for the most up-to-date information.

Thanks for reading

27 APRIL, 2023

Author: Rikhard Shmidt


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