Putting SKAN 4.0 into Practice

Putting SKAN 4.0 into Practice

Getting under the skin of SKAN is no easy matter, but being prepared is essential for success.

Adrienne Rice, Director of Media Investment joined InMobi and Singular on a Business of Apps webinar to discuss how to put SKAN into practice. You can watch the full webinar here, and below are some of the areas that the panel covered.

What is SKAN 4.0?

SKAN (StoreKit Ad Network, or SKAdNetwork) is Apple’s framework for mobile app install attribution, done in a privacy-preserving way. In other words, SKAN helps advertisers measure conversion rates from app install campaigns while ensuring users’ identities remain private. SKAN 4.0 was announced in October 2022 and the mobile advertising landscape has been preparing for the change since then.

Reminder: Summary of how SKAN differs from other attribution methods:

  • Users are anonymized 
  • Apple is the single source of truth
  • Performance metrics are delayed
  • Probabilistic attribution is not allowed

What is new in SKAN?

SKAN 1.0 was launched in 2018 and in the intervening years, there have been a number of enhancements. SKAN 4.0 was announced in October 2022 and the release brought changes such as; 

  • Safari mobile web-to-app support, 
  • Greater campaign ID volume (Hierarchical Source ID 10,000 values)
  • Increased number of postbacks available. 
  • The conversion window has been updated so that rather than a 24-hour rolling timer that resets, it has now been replaced by 3 fixed conversion window for postbacks.

How does SKAN 4.0, benefit mobile marketers?

  • Multiple postbacks provide new insights into post-install re-engagement
  • Fixed conversion windows and locking make insights more predictable 
  • Hierarchical source IDs provide more opportunities for learning
  • Hierarchical Conversions mean that performance insights are available more quickly and frequently
  • Mobile Safari support – provides an additional privacy-safe channel for advertisers to reach audiences on their mobiles

How will SKAN 4.0 change performance marketing?

“There is optimism that SKAN 4.0 will be a turning point in attributing mobile app campaigns on iOS. The reasons for this are; firstly, there are more opportunities available with SKAN 4.0 to optimize campaigns. For example, with an increase in source IDs, you get more insight into what is and is not performing on campaigns. There are also more testing opportunities with creative, placements, etc so more learnings can be gleaned. The second reason is there is now more insight available from the conversion postbacks which give more insights into what users are doing within an app and measure their lifetime value.” .

Adrienne Rice, Director of Media Investment, M&C Saatchi Performance

“There are of course still plenty of challenges such as privacy thresholds, so getting the signals and interpreting them is still a challenge but overall SKAN 4.0 is a move forward.”

Eran Friedman, Founder, Singular

What progress has there been seen since SKAN was released?

“To get SKAN 4.0 to work successfully there are several elements that need to be in place. For example, media partners, ad networks, and publishers must upgrade to SKAN 4.0 support. MMPs need to provide tools for their advertisers to maximize SKAN 4.0. Finally, advertisers need to upgrade their apps for SKAN 4.0. Another hurdle is that SKAN 4.0 is only available for iOS 16 so it will take a while for users to move onto SKAN 4.0. All these elements take time, which means this is the perfect chance for brands to start preparing so that when these factors align they will be ready to scale campaigns and see the benefits.” Eran Friedman, Founder, Singular

“Now is the time to get a strategy in place and start testing. It takes a long time for the industry to adapt, all the parties need to upgrade and the inventory needs to reach a critical mass. This time can be usefully spent by advertisers getting ready, and educating teams internally so that when the inventory and infrastructure are ready you won’t be on the back foot.” Adrienne Rice, Director of Media Investment, M&C Saatchi Performance

“From a publisher perspective, we see around 5% of apps have made the upgrade to SKAN 4.0. We have also seen a trend for publishers moving from SKAN 2 to 3, so there are intermediate steps also happening to get SKAN 4.0 ready. Though not at critical mass yet with inventory, it is happening.” Sara Camden, Head of Product Marketing, InMobi.

Where should you start with SKAN?

“This is a complex area and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Work with trusted partners such as an MMP and media agency who can guide you through and advise strategically on how to best set campaigns up. We’ve spent a lot of time working with clients to ensure they are ready, remember you are not alone!”

Adrienne Rice, Director of Media Investment, M&C Saatchi Performance

For those already working with SKAN, how to adapt to SKAN 4.0

There will be a gradual move to SKAN4.0 and it will take a little time to prep, upgrade the SKD, and think about the core actions within your app that drive value. It’s important to prepare the conversion values for analysis, working with an MMP will help provide useful analytics to fill in some of the data gaps. Take advantage of the data that is available while it is there and having the right partners to enable you to make the most of these is important


  • Start simple. Don’t try to test everything at once, instead focus on testing one or two elements before adding more complexity to the mix. 
  • Don’t spread your budget too thin. Advertisers still need to reach a privacy threshold in order to get data back. Reaching these privacy tiers in order to get the most data back as possible is important.  Commit to a healthy test budget
  • Allocate enough time to testing. Campaign postback delays mean that changes to campaigns will take time to come through in the data.
  • Start your SKAN journey now. To prevent pain in the future when SKAN is enforced it is important to be prepared, work with a performance agency that specializes in advising on mobile, upgrade your SDK and work with your MMP to set up conversion values. There is an opportunity to scale on iOS but it takes a concentrated setup.

Additional Resources:

Contact us for more information about how we are helping clients prepare for SKAN 4.0, or to discuss your needs with Adrienne and the team.