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What’s new in SKAdNetwork 4.0

Nikita Maidanov

Updated: January 25, 2023


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New version of SKAdNetwork has been announced at WWDC 2022. The main focus of its new features is to send more data while preserving privacy. Looks like Apple listened to the feedback from developers and marketers – sounds promising! Let’s dive deeper and find out what improvements were made and how they could change the mobile attribution landscape.

Apple has introduced a new term – “Crowd Anonymity”. Basically, the more installs you have, the more data you’ll get, because it’s hard to identify the exact user in a large amount of installs. On the contrary, a low amount of installs will be a limit for granularity of data shared by Apple. Thanks to this feature, Apple is now able to share more data while retaining privacy protections.

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The old 2-digit campaign identifier is replaced by a new 4-digit source identifier. This is the first and main example of Apple going to share more data with developers. The idea here is to use it as 3 hierarchical sets of numbers. As an example, 2 digits could represent the ad campaign, the 3rd could mean the location and the 4th could stand for the ad placement.

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Crowd anonymity is working here. As the number of installs grows and meets the privacy thresholds, SKAN will send more source identifier digits. This update will increase the granularity of data for advertisers.

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Apple also updated the conversion values, adding a new coarse-grained value (low/medium/high) in addition to the old fine-grained value (6 bits). The fine-grained value is the same as we have today, but thanks to the new coarse-grained value, there will be at least some data on conversions (low/medium/high) even if the number of installs is too low for proper privacy. It’s another example of Crowd Anonymity in action.

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Another significant improvement is multiple conversions (postbacks). In SKAdNetwork 3.0 there was only one postback after the install. Now up to 3 postbacks can be received for specific conversion windows (0-2 days, 3-7 days, and 8-35 days). This allows measuring the user engagement with the app later after the install. Important notice: only the first postback gets a fine value, the other two are coarse values.

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Another long awaited improvement: SKAdNetwork 4.0 also adds attribution for web-based ads that leads directly to the App Store app page. It can be implemented both for first-party sites and for advertiser iframes, as long as they lead directly to the App Store. This looks like a great opportunity for the web-to-app support.

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And finally, Apple improved the testing experience for SKAdNetwork with the ability to test postbacks in Xcode.

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That’s all. New features and the ability to get more data while preserving privacy look like a significant improvement! We’re eager to see how it will affect the mobile marketing world. As usual, coming later this year.

Sources and further reading:

WWDC Session


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