First launched in 2018, SKAdNetwork is Apple’s ad network API where it takes a revolutionary step to advertising attribution by enabling advertisers to measure the success of ad campaigns while maintaining user privacy.
After the announcement of the deprecation of the IDFA with iOS 14, Apple brought SKAdNetwork to a second version where
- Ad networks should fill out an Ad Network ID Request form and register with Apple to use the install validation API,
- Advertised apps should be prepared to participate in ad campaigns by providing app install validation information,
- The source apps that display ads signed by an ad network must be participate in install validation by adding the ad network’s ID
The intention of SKAdNetwork is providing “only” basic attribution parameters to mobile advertisers to let them make data-based user acquisition decisions while giving iOS users a level of granular control over their personal data. However, for the time being, it has some challenges in terms of performance measurement for mobile advertisers.
Limitations and Challenges of SKAdNetwork
- Each ad network can create 100 different ad campaigns. The postbacks can include ad campaign IDs including only 100 values. Even if it looks reasonable, it might be a problem for ad networks while creating different sub-campaigns for different regions, different ad visuals, and different devices. It is also an important issue for campaign tracking because of the limit of 100 tracked campaign at a time.
- SKAdNetwork provides a 6-bit field that can change every time an in-app event is triggered and this allows only one post-install event at a time to be sent back to the ad networks, associated with the install attribution.
- Data delay of minimum 24-48 hours arising from delay in postbacks deprives mobile advertisers of real-time campaign optimization. Mobile advertisers will not have a chance to intervene in campaign performance in real time to take the most out of it.
- SKAdNetwork doesn’t provide a framework for deferred or conditional deep linking that will cause a huge negative effect on user experience and conversion rates.
- View-through attribution is not supported on SKAdNetwork and that means impression tracking is not allowed.
- Deficiencies in event tracking and delay in postback data might cause mobile ad fraud where real time detection and prevention is crucial.
What is Apple’s IDFA?
The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a unique identifier consisting of a string of 32 digits. It is given by Apple randomly to each iOS device including mobile phones, tablets, and iPads. It was a crucial part of mobile attribution because it identifies, tracks, and measures users’ behavior, app usage, and interaction.
With the release of iOS 14 in September, app developers will be required to ask users for opt-in to permit them to track them for delivering personalized ads.