iOS 14 and SKAdNetwork: The Best guide on how to survive

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It’s been about a month since Apple released its iOS 14.5 with major changes that generated a wave of stress and confusion among advertisers and app developers everywhere. Apple decided to create the new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which makes a radical new change to the way the IDFA could be accessed and used for tracking. Developers will need to get permission from users before accessing their IDFA. It was predicted that very few people will opt into having their IDFAs tracked, which is crucial for advertisers.For them, IDFA is the primary means by which advertising campaigns are measured and optimized.

After 3-4 weeks of constantly researching and solving problems while trying to get the best from SKAdNetwork, we are ready to share the wisdom we gained so far.

Does Your MMP have SKAN support?

The first thing to note is that many SKANs like Facebook announced they were going to pass SKAN data back to MMPs. Anyway, we’re seeing a lot of SKAN MMP data from SKANs without installs and conversions. The reason could be the slow release of documentation for SKAN’s API. There’s a huge number of MMPs that are receiving SKAN data via SKAN integrations, but they haven’t built the API integrations to receive SKAN conversion data yet. Of course, MMPs are working on adding support. However, it’s very important to know the status of your MMP’s SKAN support for conversion and installs when analysing SKAN data, because there’s no full coverage across all SANs for all MMPs yet.

Why are you getting 0 ConversionValue?

We discovered that Apple might have set a privacy threshold at the Campaign ID level. This means you would need a certain level of installs from a given campaign to receive the actual ConversionValue data. If the privacy threshold isn’t met ConversionValues are returned as 0’s. Due to this, it’s extremely hard to tell whether you get 0 and no user has executed any conversion events, or if it’s the privacy threshold. Different ad networks are treating this differently. It could be helpful to find a solution for all of your networks, and to try to measure your data loss.

How to Get Better Opt-in Rates?

With the data we have so far, the most significant research is probably from Appsflyer, which reported a 37% opt-in rate.  We have seen a number of reports, but neither were looking at apps where ATT is disabled, or at users with “LAT” on or “Allow Apps to Request to Track” off. You can check this article with detailed information on opt-in rates. It turns out that people who see the tracking prompt take longer to reject it. This means that most of them read it before making the decision, therefore choosing a thoughtful text is crucial. As far as we’ve seen, most of the sub-text in the ATT alert was something along the lines of “We’ll use this data to serve more personalised ads and experiences”. It is interesting that very few apps have mentioned something beneficial or positive. For example, they could suggest something like keeping the service free or improving the products. Here is a different approach to the ATT alert text:

  • Nordstrom:We use your data to suggest products we think you’ll love.

Sounds quite positive, doesn’t it?

Also, it could be helpful to gain some trust, before suggesting users to track them. Showing an ATT prompt the moment the app launches is not necessarily the best thing to do. However, you can always ask once more, if you get rejected at the very beginning. It appears that in categories like shopping, finance and food & drink you can expect a higher opt-in rate with trusted brands.

It’s also surprising how few apps are using the pre-prompt, which is a chance to communicate with users more than you can in the alert sub-text.

SkAd Network Limitations

Because of the realities of SKAdNetwork, ad platforms are allowing advertisers to have very few campaigns for iOS 14 traffic. Facebook, for instance, is limiting advertisers to just 9 campaigns per App ID, and Google is limiting advertisers to 8. 

However, advertisers can adapt to this environment with a few different strategies. First of all, they should consider increasing investment into concept ideation: to produce fewer, more differentiated ads. This can be more expensive, because creating slight variations of a creative concept (different background colors, rearranging video scenes, rephrasing texts, etc.) is almost always cheaper and easier to accomplish than producing wholly unique ads. Nonetheless, creativity may become a source of competitive advantage for companies that are able to introduce production in the direction of relatively many concepts rather than many variations of a few concepts.

What if I spend the money on Android for a while?

Even before the release of iOS 14.5, experts were expecting costs to increase on Android, as iOS 14.5 adoption and ATT would force advertisers to shift the budget there. In tandem, it was expected costs to reduce on iOS. This is exactly what’s happening right now. And that’s why we are suggesting you to anticipate this practice. Work on improving your SKAd strategy and get strong, while other advertisers are lost.

To Sum up,

It’s been a rough month that was filled with confusion and inconsistencies that we’ll still have to clean up, but it seems like some norms are already being set up. We know that you might still have many questions, and we would be happy to answer them all. All you have to do is write to us.

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