5 limitations of SKAdNetwork
SKAdNetwork establishment is not new, and Apple introduced it back in March 2018. At the time, it was marketed as an alternative, more privacy-focused approach to campaign measurement. SKAdNetwork is an aggregated method for measuring the attribution of mobile ad campaigns for iOS apps. SK stands for StoreKit, Apple’s platform for developer interactions with an app store and in-app purchases.
The framework includes three main objects:
• Publishing app (where ads are displayed)
• Ad Network Signing Ad
• Advertised application
SKAdNetwork does present several practical challenges from an advertiser’s perspective. They are used to getting data from attribution providers. Some of the other limitations of SKAdNetwork include:
Data is presented at the campaign level only and is limited to 100 online campaigns per app. The old way of mobile attribution on iOS gave great granularity. Until someone turned on limiting ad tracking, their IDFA was fully available to publishers, advertisers, and all different levels of the ad technology stack. This gave you device-level data about ad views, clicks, installs, and post-install actions and conversions.
Private Click Measurement
SKAdNetwork lacks a direct link between impression/click and event/postback. When measuring anonymously using the MMP SDKs, all installations and events will appear as normal traffic. There is no way to contextualize this information. When SKAdNetwork numbers are released, fixes are needed. Obviously, keeping track of data in dashboards is not an easy task.
In iOS 13 and earlier IDFA era, you could retarget former app users or people who have your app installed but won’t open it. Using their IDFA, you can target advertisements with offers to them, encouraging them to come back, reinstall, or renew their membership.
Data is more easily manipulated, potentially increasing the risk of ad fraud.
Maximizing the value of the SKAdNetwork data
In addition to functional problems, structural problems also arise here. Postbacks are sent only to the specified ad network; therefore, advertisers or anyone who processes data on their behalf does not notice this.
Combined with growing consumer awareness of data processing practices and support for data protection, it is increasingly clear that a privacy-focused approach to advertising is the way of the future, and that the most promising approach to advertising in iOS is to implement SKAN to comply with Apple’s ATT guidelines.
Apple will launch new IDFA and SKAdNetwork requirements in 2021. This change may not be suitable for everyone, but it has great potential to open up new opportunities for growth. With most new things, not having a clear path to exactly what awaits us can be daunting, but we are breaking through to something new and can only assume that new opportunities come with new adventures. Advertisers should verify as soon as possible that their Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) is using the Apple SkAdNetwork API. They should also update their software development kits (SDKs) to support the SkAdNetwork option.