SKAN 3.0 Overview

Jeongwon KimWritten by Jeongwon Kim,

SKAdNetwork (SKAN) is a privacy-preserving iOS framework for mobile attribution that tracks app events regardless of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy’s opt-in rules for iOS 14.0 or later. The following guide is an overview of how SKAN 3.0 works and what to expect with the SKAN 3.0 integration.

Basic Principles

When a user installs an app after engaging with an ad, SKAN 3.0 determines the ad channel that carries the ad and sends the attribution data to that channel. Then the ad channel forwards that attribution data to Airbridge, which is called a postback. Airbridge receives the postback and makes the attribution data available in its dashboard.

Postbacks contain conversion values that offer limited information about the user’s post-install activity. The conversion value is decoded into event data using the conversion value mapping you set up when integrating with SKAN 3.0.

SKAN 3.0 Postback with Airbridge

SKAN attribution data is never shared in real-time. SKAN tracks the user’s post-install activity for 24 hours upon app installation. Although in SKAN, this 24-hour timer is refreshed every time a specific event is triggered, the Airbridge SDK limits the window for event data collection to the initial 24 hours upon app install. Once this 24-hour window closes, the event data is sent to the ad channel that contributed to the install via postback at any random time within the next 0-24 hours.

The SKAN postbacks are sent in the format of the following example. The postbacks include information on the ad campaign and app and a conversion value that contains the install and in-app event data.

  "version": "3.0", 
  "ad-network-id": "example123.skadnetwork", 
  "campaign-id": 42, 
  "transaction-id": "6aafb7a5-0170-41b5-bbe4-fe71dedf1e28", 
  "app-id": 1818180, 
  "attribution-signature": "MEYCIQD5eq3AUlamORiGovqFiHWI4RZT/PrM3VEiXUrsC+M51wIhAPMANZA9c07raZJ64gVaXhB9+9yZj/X6DcNxONdccQij", 
  "redownload": true, 
  "source-app-id": 1234567891, 
  "fidelity-type": 1, 
  "conversion-value": 19,
  "did-win": true

SKAN 3.0 Conversion Values

SKAN 3.0 conversion values are numerical values ranging from 0 to 63, which are sent via postback. The conversion value mapping must be completed to start receiving SKAN data. SKAN tracks the post-install events performed by a user and sends a conversion value via postback according to the conversion value settings.

For example, if you have mapped the “Sign up (App)” event to the conversion value “1,” the conversion value “1” will be recorded when an iOS user installs your app. When this user performs other in-app events, the conversion value will be updated according to the conversion value mapping. The final conversion value that is recorded at the end of the 24 hour-window upon app install is sent via postback.

Read the following user guide to learn how to set conversion values to effectively measure iOS app campaigns across different marketing contexts.

Conversion value update

SKAN 3.0 conversion values are always updated to higher numerical values. If an in-app event occurs that corresponds to a lower conversion value than the conversion value already recorded, the conversion value will not be updated to the lower conversion value. Please refer to the example below.

It is important to set the priority among the events in the conversion value mapping considering the above conversion value update rule and the significance different in-app events pose to your business. The configured priority is used for Facebook campaign optimization.

Random postback timer

SKAN measures the in-app events for 24 hours upon app install and sends the postback at a random time within the 0-24 hour window. Consequently, the SKAN attribution data is made available to Airbridge users 24-48 hours after the app install.

SKAN Integration

The following ad channels integrated with Airbridge support SKAN postbacks.

  • Meta Business

  • Google Ads

  • TikTok

  • Moloco

  • Unity Ads

  • Mintegral

For Meta Business and Google Ads, additional event mapping is required to view the SKAN attribution data in Airbridge.

Meta Business and Google Ads do not forward the postbacks but share the aggregate postbacks they receive with Airbridge daily at 4 PM (UTC) via API.

  • Meta Business: The conversion value is translated into event data before being sent to Airbridge. This means that Airbridge users must map the Airbridge events used in the conversion value mapping to the relevant Meta events. For example, if the conversion value “1” mapped to the “Add To Cart (App)” event has been collected 10 times, Meta Business sends 10 “Add To Cart” events to Airbridge.

  • Google Ads: The conversion value is aggregated before being sent to Airbridge. For example, if the conversion value “1” is collected from 10 postbacks, Google Ads shares that information with Airbridge instead of sending the 10 postbacks separately.

Other than Meta Business and Google Ads, ad channels send postbacks per user to Airbridge. Airbridge translates the conversion value from the postback into event data and makes them available in the dashboard.

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