Andre Kempe, Founder at Admiral Media, looks at Apple's moves to make its SKAdNetwork more user- and app developer-friendly.
Apple’s WWDC 2020 forever changed the digital marketing landscape, with Apple announcing the launch of its SKAdNetwork API. Apple’s new privacy measures meant app owners no longer had unlimited access to user data. Instead, app owners would have to ask the user's permission using a standardized prompt, created by Apple. Now Apple is back again, with welcome news for app owners. At WWDC 2022 this month, Apple revealed that it would be updating its SKAdNetwork to be more user-friendly and meet the desires of many app owners. Let’s break down exactly what Apple has packed into the update.
SKAdNetwork 4.0, what is it, and what's new?
SKAdNetwork 4.0 attempts to deliver advertisers and app users the best of both worlds. By ensuring user data is still protected and providing app owners with more (ethical) access to data-tracking, SKAdNetwork 4.0 is a more equal solution in the era of data privacy. The new SKAdNetwork offers the following features and functionalities:
How SKAd 4.0 can improve marketers' lives
With SKAd 4.0, advertisers will be able to track app users on a more microscopic level. The addition of multiple conversion windows, hierarchical source identifiers, hierarchical conversion values, and web-to-app attribution opens up a world of data that advertisers have been estranged from for over two years. This allows marketers to create more personalized app advertisements. For example, using web-to-app attribution, an advertiser can see if users resonated with an online ad (enough to lead them to the app) and base future ads on this data. Whereas before, advertisers would have relied heavily on guesswork to fill in the gaps in web-to-app conversions.
From a marketer's perspective, SKAd 4.0 allows some of the privileges of the past, with a salute to the future. Apple and advertisers alike recognize that personalized ads and data privacy are a public good. SKAd 4.0 is a welcome compromise that allows marketers to improve ad performance while keeping user privacy intact.
Apple’s SKAdnetwork update is not random. Apple has been listening to feedback from app owners and advertisers over the last year, and has built this feedback into its software. At the time of its launch, the industry was shocked, and many people were upset that they had not been consulted before the launch of SKAd 4.0. However, Apple appears to be making amends with the advertising industry and has massively improved tracking for advertisers, despite still allowing some limitations. Advertisers have a real chance to improve campaign performance by creating more tailored ads, based on a greater degree of user data.