How are app marketers using the conversion value for SKAdNetwork?

In this article, we discuss which aspects of conversion values app marketers should consider when selecting a measurement model.

Melisa Rocío Fernández

May 28, 2021

If you’ve read about the conversion value before, you know there are some technicalities involved. Integers? binary code? “bits” of data? What’s next, random timers? Wait, that’s already a thing 😱.

Worry not. In this article, we’ve included concrete examples (with images!) to show some of the most common applications of measurement models and which limitations to consider when defining your own conversion value.  

In this post we cover:

  • What is the conversion value and who defines it?
  • Why is the conversion value important for app marketers?
  • What can you measure with 6 bits of data?
  • What are the key conversion value measurement methods?
  • What limitations should you consider when defining your conversion value?

What is a conversion value?

The conversion value is the new campaign data, at least in Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework (ATT). All the post-install engagement insights we’re used to are now combined in ONE conversion value that can be set up to track campaign data.

This conversion value is an integer with a 6-bit value (more on this below) defined by the advertisers. Marketers can opt to include this value in the SKAdNetwork install postback sent to the DSP or ad network responsible for the install.

SKAdNetwork Flow

Keep in mind: with SKAdNetwork attribution, we cannot connect a specific install to a user, but we can connect it to a group of impressions/clicks within a unique ID, functioning as a “cluster” of users or variables.

Why is the conversion value so important in Apple’s ATT?

Because it is the “make it or break it” of SKAdNetwork. The conversion value can be set up to collect valuable performance insights that wouldn’t be recorded otherwise when using SKAD—and these insights show us how valuable each cluster of users is.

By working with growth partners to effectively map out conversion values, advertisers will be able to access campaign data like ROI, user retention, and in-app behavior. These insights will allow app marketers to answer questions such as:

  • How many purchases were conducted by this cluster of users?
  • How many times did they open the app?
  • How much money did they spend on the app?

How can you evaluate installs with 6 bits of data?

Each conversion value is defined by 6 bits of binary data. This means each bit holds the value 0 or 1, which can be used to symbolize whether each bit is turned “on” or “off”.

These 6 bits of data can be combined to generate multiple measurement options. Still with us? Read on for some concrete examples of how to measure conversion value.

Conversion value measurement methods

There’s no definite solution when it comes to measuring the conversion value, but app marketers are mainly leveraging three methodologies:

#1 Using all 6-bits to track 1 metric: each 6-bit value represents one metric, such as revenue. Following this logic, 000000 could represent $0 revenue, 000011 could be over $5, 001010 would be over $20, etc.

#2 Using 6-bits to track 2 metrics: dividing the 6 bits of data to create two different “groups” that track two different KPIs. For example: using 2 bits of data to track the amount of in-app purchases and the 4 remaining bits to track revenue. As a result, a single conversion value could represent users who conducted over 3 in-app purchases and generated over $5 in revenue.

#3 Using 6-bits to track 3 or more metrics: this method uses at least one bit for identifying a yes/no indicator (such as “subscribed to monthly plan: yes/no”) and splits the remaining bits into two or more groups to track other metrics. Using this method, a conversion value could identify which users conducted over 3 in-app purchases, generated over $5 in revenue, and subscribed to a monthly plan.

What aspects of the conversion value should you consider when selecting a measurement method?

  • The SKAdNetwork timer: (refer to the image at the top of the post for reference). After the user installs the app, a 24-hour timer starts. Within those 24 hours, any other action by the user (such as completing the registration process or making a purchase) will update the SKAdNetwork Conversion Value, and the timer will reset for another 24 hours. This means that after 24 hours without any conversion value updates, the postback is sent to the DSP or AdNetwork.
  • Quality vs speed: since the timer might cause a delay in receiving the postback, it’s important to consider the tradeoff between the quality of the signal and the speed of the signal. A valuable and high-quality signal, such as a purchase, is useless if it takes too long to actually get the data. The key is to find the balance between both quality and time
  • Number of conversions ≠ number of postbacks: even if users conduct multiple conversions, these translate into a single SKAdNetwork postback with a single conversion value.

While these are the main factors to consider, there are a few more technical limitations that may affect the campaign postback. For example: when updated, the value can only be increased (if changed from 20 to 15, it won’t be accepted). That’s why app marketers should rely on their growth partners to learn how to best handle these limitations, and which other technicalities to look out for.

So… has anyone figured out the conversion value for ATT yet?

Short answer: no. Long answer: advertisers need to map out their own conversion value according to their specific app, growth goals, and in-app events.

We advise marketers to keep it simple and start working with their growth partners ASAP. The first step towards an effective SKAdNetwork campaign is testing. Figuring out conversion values is hard, but not impossible.

Get your conversion value right

If you feel like you haven’t nailed your conversion value mapping yet, or if you’re still getting started with SKAdNetwork, don’t hesitate to contact us. For more information on all things ATT, IDFA, and SKAD, visit our iOS 14.5 dedicated hub.

Visit our iOS 14.5 hub