The state of SKAN campaigns today

In this article, we discuss the evolution of SKAdNetwork, from the launch of Apple's ATT to the latest SKAN iterations. We've also featured key iOS 14.5 resources for your team 😉.

Jampp Team

November 9, 2021

Once upon a time, in the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced the App Tracking Transparency Framework known as ATT.

It would be the understatement of the century (?) to say the new initiative directly affected how mobile marketing campaigns were optimized. The internet accrued a significant amount of blog posts and podcasts and webinars and memes as the industry speculated what this would mean moving forward.

How did the mobile industry react to Apple’s ATT announcement?

#1 Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) campaigns

Before iOS 14, the default setting on iOS devices was for users to be opted-in for tracking, with the option to manually opt out. The ad placements for users that had opted out were commonly known as LAT Traffic.

After iOS 14, this new setting was for users to be opted-out of tracking by default and have the choice to opt in. 

In the first scenario, the majority of traffic came with IDFA so LAT campaigns had more limited inventory. While they were not a perfect preview of what the enforcement of ATT would imply, they were the industry’s first approximation. 

Back in November 2020, we launched Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) traffic campaigns. Without IDFA, optimization focused on contextual variables and creative data points, but we were able to quickly reach more scale while decreasing advertising costs. For example, BIGO LIVE achieved 17% lower CPI in US campaigns and 32% lower CPI in our Japanese campaign. 

#2 SKAN testing - Part 1

Initially, advertisers were not overly keen to invest their mobile marketing budget in SKAN campaigns. 

There were still a lot of questions regarding iOS 14.5, such as: how to map conversion values, and what postbacks would look like. Given that developers and advertisers were, understandably, slow on post-IDFA prep, we decided to create our own app to test SKAdNetwork.

Once the app was approved by Apple and live on the App Store, we worked on growing Birthday Buzzer’s user base. We then used our Dynamic Ads feature to create multiple ad variations and ran SKAN campaigns in the US, Argentina, and India to evaluate the performance in regions with different traffic and user behavior characteristics. 

To set up our SKAN campaigns for success, we performed a thorough analysis of our bidding pipeline which involved:

  • Ensuring SSPs include our SKAdNetwork ID on the bid request
  • Implementing support for SKAdNetwork objects in our bidder
  • Making sure that clicks with the SKAdNetwork framework could be tracked properly
  • Receiving SKAN postbacks from Apple, processing them correctly, and ingesting them in our Machine Learning models

At the time, SKAN traffic availability was still low, but the test SKAN campaigns allowed us to start learning about SKAdNetwork’s random timer and conversion value.

#3 SKAN knowledge sharing

From checklists and technical guides to examples for conversion values and ATT prompts, the industry was flooded with webinars and written content sharing insights. 

Some of our most popular posts (and industry faves) include:

Conversion value

ATT prompts

Industry benchmarks for SKAN

  • What is the actual ATT opt-in rate: given the wide range of values reported, it’s not a surprise that this post was a popular read. Here we breakdown why different companies have been reporting different ATT opt-in rates, how they are calculated and the main indicators app marketers should consider.
  • How are app marketers splitting their budget after iOS 14.5? Are other advertisers allocating their budget to IDFA-only campaigns? Are they shifting the budget to Android? Are they going full SKAN this quarter to figure it out? This post recaps what we’ve been seeing regarding programmatic marketing budgets.

#4 SKAN testing - Part II

As more information became available —and new SKAN updates confirmed that SKAdNetwork was here to stay— more advertisers began sparing test budgets for SKAN campaigns. 

Fetch Rewards, one of the fastest-growing rewards apps in the US, was among the first to understand the importance of testing SKAdNetwork early on. In order to ensure their iOS campaigns remained competitive, they leveraged Jampp’s technology to optimize their iOS performance in the SKAdNetwork environment, achieving 50% lower CPIs in their SKAN campaigns vs their IDFA-only campaigns.

“Jampp’s ability to navigate through SKAdNetwork has helped Fetch Rewards continue to achieve our KPIs. Working together, we’ve achieved 41% lower CPIs in our SKAN campaigns, and we continue to see progress as we keep testing new strategies to reach and engage shoppers.” — Austin Thomson, Sr. Marketing Manager, Performance Media at Fetch Rewards

#5 iteration

Ever since the launch to ATT, Apple has been iterating by releasing SKAN updates. View-through attribution (VTA) was first supported in SKAN 2.2, and the 3.0 version later introduced the “did-win” parameter, which allowed up to 5 more networks to get a postback—aside from the network that won the attribution. iOS 15 brought new changes, allowing advertisers to receive SKAN postbacks as well.

At the same time, MMPs have also been iterating the conversion value models they offer to advertisers, and DSPs continue to improve contextual targeting.

At Jampp, we keep optimizing SKAN campaigns, leveraging campaign IDs to continue informing our growth algorithm, and focusing on generating granular reports for our customers. 

How are SKAN campaigns performing today

SKANning process complete, outlook looks promising. 

As one of the industry leaders for the post IDFA era, we were recently recognized as one of the top 10 companies in the AppsFlyer SKAN Index. 

We developed proprietary technology to optimize campaign results, seeing cost per install rates at least 37% lower on SKAN campaigns than on their IDFA-only counterparts. 

There’s still a lot of work to be done. Last month at AGS, we graded our industry’s overall adoption of SKAN along with other experts and it was a solid 7. 

Wrapping Up

The Jampp Team is confident that these changes present a unique opportunity and we are excited to continue working along with leading mobile marketers to deliver great results.

When testing SKAN, advertisers should look for partners who have both the technology and the expertise to support and scale those early campaigns. 
Get in touch with our SKAN squad to start optimizing your iOS 14.5 campaigns, or check our SKAN resources hub to learn about mobile marketing in the post-IDFA era.

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