Apple’s iOS14.5 is a complex topic that will have serious ramifications on the industry. Over the past year, we have been talking to a number of advertisers and ad networks about how they will be impacted by the changes. This is the first installment in our blog series where we help shed some light on some of the most complex topics.
Today we’ll discuss one important topic to pay particular attention to: the possibility of duplication when using SKAdNetwork alongside other forms of attribution.
Let’s start with Self Attributing Networks (SANs). All SANs have confirmed that they will measure campaign performance via SKAdNetwork attribution.
For advertisers who only buy inventory on SANs, this will work well, these channels only use SKAdNetwork — there is a single source of attribution. However, issues may arise for advertisers who run on other media channels.
Let’s assume that some ad networks or affiliate networks offer to support a mixture of both deterministic attribution and SKAdNetwork for billing purposes. These hybrid campaigns will create a certain rate of duplication.
Imagine you run a non-SKAdNetwork campaign and you have a user consenting both on the publisher app and your app, that channel will track the user using IDFA, however if your user had also clicked (or seen) a SKAdNetwork ad from another media source in the past 30 days then SKAdNetwork would give credit for that install — causing you to double pay. There is also no possibility of de-duplicating because the SKAdNetwork install is aggregated.
This is because if a user consents on the source app, clicks on a non-SKAdNetwork ad, installs and consents on the target app, attribution will be done on IDFA and no SKAdNetwork data will be sent. The ad network which served the ad will receive an attributed postback with the IDFA and will charge the advertiser for that user.
Now, if that user actually clicked (or viewed) a SKAdNetwork ad from another ad network before the install from another channel, SKAdNetwork will return a claim to that channel for that same user, which the advertiser will be charged for.
There is a very real risk that advertisers could get charged twice for the same user, simply because two different channels use two different attribution methods.
Fitting the bill
So what steps can you take to prevent this duplication? We suggest that advertisers think about the following steps: