Blog Adjust introduces our SKAN 4-ready SDK t...

Adjust introduces our SKAN 4-ready SDK to the market

Apple officially released SKAdNetwork 4.0 (SKAN 4)—together with iOS 16.1—on October 24, 2022, after teasing the rollout at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. With an extensive set of updates and new features, SKAN 4 represents Apple’s next step in building an advertising and attribution space that prioritizes user privacy while providing advertisers with insights on their installs. While the sudden release took the industry by surprise, the Adjust team has been busy engineering, developing, and testing the functionality of our SKAN 4 code over the past few weeks. Today, we’re proud to announce that we’re introducing our SKAN 4-ready SDK to the market. This new SDK version 4.33.0 now supports key functionalities of SKAN 4 that uncover deeper signals from your iOS user-base, supporting coarse conversion values and lockWindow.

Adjust’s SDK update is one of the four key steps needed in order for the industry to fully adopt and start working on SKAN 4. In this blog, we take a look at what we’re calling The 4.0 milestones of SKAN 4.0, and how you can get ready and prepare for SKAN 4 adoption in 2023.

The 4.0 milestones of SKAN 4.0

  1. All aboard iOS 16.1.1: First and foremost, users must update to iOS 16.1 on iPhone and iPadOS 16.1 on iPad. To put this into perspective regarding timing, by mid 2022, 82% of iOS devices were running iOS 15, which was released in September 2021. So, by mid-next year, we can expect the vast majority of users to be on iOS 16.1.
  2. Apps upgrade to the most recent Adjust SDK: Apps and app developers on iOS will need to update to Adjust’s latest SDK version 4.33.0. Our open-source SKAN 4-ready iOS SDK can be found on Adjust’s Github repository.
  3. Adoption across the playing field: Ad networks need to be able to sign ads with version 4 signatures and—along with all technology partners in the ecosystem—define their SKAN 4 approaches, ideally optimizing for coarse conversion values. Up until this point, Meta has largely set the standard for conversion value modeling, locking the conversion value at 24 hours for SKAN 3. A large portion of the industry applied the same logic, because, as there are no longer attribution settings at partner/network level, a popular course of action is to adopt the settings of the network that delivers—or used to deliver—the most attributions. With Meta being at the top of this list, many clients adopted their settings. Google has trailed a little behind on this front, so it will be interesting to see how they adopt and interpret SKAN. We are also currently working with Snap Inc. on joint explorative testing for SKAN 4 as they are moving quickly to prepare their next steps.
  4. Get strategic and creative with new insights: Reporting visualizations and additional settings from Adjust, within Datascape and Conversion Hub, will allow mobile marketers and developers to gain the most insights possible and make confident, strategic decisions regarding iOS campaigns. We are currently developing these solutions for an early 2023 release, but they will be affected and shaped further based on how partners adopt SKAN 4, to ensure that our offering cohesively synthesizes the first three milestones. As Datascape reporting will require a little more time, we’re already making preparations for reporting via raw data that will be available much sooner.

What to do now: Tips and first steps for SKAN 4 success

In addition to getting set up with Adjust’s latest SDK, there are a few key steps you can take to be fully prepared strategically for industry-wide SKAN 4 adoption. In short, SKAN 4’s new features include:

  • Two additional postbacks: Postback 1 increased to a 0-2 day post-install measurement window, Postback 2 set at day 3-7, Postback 3 at day 8-35.
  • Conversion value graining: There are now fine grain (familiar 0-63 values) and coarse grain conversion values, which assign a user as low, medium, or high. Fine grain values can only be received in Postback 1.
  • Crowd anonymity tiers: Campaigns with lower volume may now still receive some attribution information/a coarse grain value, potentially minimizing the “null”. Note that an install assigned to tier 1, 2, or 3 crowd anonymity will receive all three postbacks (with varying degrees of granularity), while tier 0 will only receive Postback 1.
  • Source identifier: SKAN 3 had a 2 digit campaign ID, SKAN 4 allows up to 4 digits and has renamed this to the source ID.
  • lockWindow: Within each postback window, you can apply lockWindow to determine when the random timer starts, reducing the waiting time for a postback. Keep in mind that applying the lockWindow is essentially a trade-off between receiving the postback information earlier and getting information you might need within that postback. If you lock too early, the user might not yet have performed the critical event.
  • Web-to-app attribution: It’s now possible to attribute from Safari advertising that directs to App Store product pages.

For mobile marketers, the additional postbacks and conversion value graining are the most important, because despite increased complexity, they can allow increased insight. Now is the time to think about how you will assign users to coarse grain conversion values. Coarse grain values will be available in Postback 2 and Postback 3, and if your campaign hasn’t reached the volume necessary to receive a fine grain value in Postback 1, you will still have the opportunity to receive a coarse grain value. These values can essentially be assigned independently for each measurement window, allowing you to differentiate user value and gain early-, mid- and late-stage app usage signals that can help you refine predictions. Think about a subscription app for example, they should now be able to see further into the app experience and journey to understand renewals/cancellations. Similarly, AdRev-based apps will be able to better measure retention vs. attribution.

Moving forward, you can already start future-planning for how you will predict LTV with the data you’re able to extract. And, you can already start working on your marketing strategy to incorporate new conversion value setups—Conversion Hub is being updated to maximize the coarse grain values and to reflect industry needs. We’re excited to work with our clients and partners to start gathering insights and fully leveraging SKAN 4’s new functionality as we continue developing next-generation solutions that put user privacy center stage while empowering maximum insights for mobile marketers and developers. Stay tuned in 2023 as we continue in our mission to offer the most comprehensive iOS solution on the market.

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