According to an email sent to Meta partners and seen by AdExchanger, a bug in Apple’s attribution tech that messed with conversion values has caused Meta to revert to SKAdNetwork 3, less than two weeks after finally ramping up its adoption of SKAN 4.
Meta said in the email that it has ““decided to proceed with a full rollback from SKAN 4 to SKAN 3.”
The bug was first identified late last month by Singular, which then reported it as a bug to Apple.
The rollback, according to Meta, will cause a two- to three-day dip in post-install conversion traffic, with volume returning to normal in most cases by day four. However, due to SKAN delays that are beyond Meta’s control, it may take up to nine days to return to pre-V4 volume levels.
The problem was fixed as of Thursday afternoon in iOS 16.6, according to Apple’s support page for developers. Despite being published on July 24, StatCounter reports that less than 2% of iOS users were using iOS 16.6 as of a week ago. It’s also uncertain whether Apple will release an update to previous iOS versions to fix this problem.
Since IDFAs are no longer accessible without a double opt-in via the AppTrackingTransparency framework, SKAdNetwork, Apple’s privacy-focused attribution solution, is the only source of trustworthy conversion statistics on acquired consumers.
SKAdNetwork has improved features in every version (we’re up to V5 now, albeit not many people have used it yet because it’s so new). For instance, SKAN 4 offers access to better signal and greater optimization functionality, as well as more campaign IDs than SKAN 3 did.
Because upgrading is a difficult and time-consuming process, developers, ad networks, and advertisers often wait for the major platforms to act before acting.
John Koetsier, VP of insights at Singular, predicted that Meta’s pullback will likely “cause that sense of urgency to disappear.” “They’re all going to put it on hold,” Koetsier said. “People will pause their efforts to get their ad networks ready for SKAN 4 because of this challenge.”