Apple’s privacy policies and the introduction of SKAdNetwork (SKAN) has made it harder for Marketers to see how well their campaigns targeting iOS devices are performing. Read on to find out how Clarisights can help by offering the perfect balance between granular reporting and seeing all your conversion metrics at a glance.
The introduction of iOS 14.5 has had a significant impact on the marketing world. With these updates, Apple has prioritised user privacy (by requiring explicit user consent for app tracking) over the ability of third party advertisers to collect data.
Enter SKAdNetwork (SKAN). SKAN is a privacy-centric mobile attribution framework developed by Apple which allows mobile app advertisers to track and measure the success of their ad campaigns while protecting user privacy. It works by providing advertisers with aggregated data about, e.g., app installs, rather than individual user data, which reduces the risk of exposing personal information. Advertisers can use the data provided by SKAN to optimise their campaigns and understand the performance of different advertising channels without relying on third-party cookies or user-level data.
However, this shift towards aggregated measurement has significant implications for the mobile advertising industry. Read on to find out how this affects reporting on Clarisights.
How SKAN tracks Conversion Events
To understand the performance of marketing efforts, Marketers compare revenue generated from customer purchases versus the ad spend required to get the user to make that purchase, better known as Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). Linking back marketing activities to user behaviour is thus key.
To help understand consumer behaviour after engaging with an ad, ad networks report a wide array of conversion events. To track these conversions, ad networks are relying on third-party cookies and app tracking links. This is where Apple’s Tracking Transparency Prompt(ATT) swoops in and breaks the process of tracking.
Users of iOS14.5 are prompted to explicitly consent to ad tracking when signing into a new app. Users declining consent will thus be off the radar for ad networks like Facebook and Snapchat or MMPs like Adjust who rely on the IDFA (user/device identifier for advertisers) to match users that interact with ads and later trigger conversion actions in the advertised app.
With more than 95% of Apple devices running on iOS 15 and above, Marketers effectively don't have any reliable visibility into any conversions for the spends they make on campaigns targeting iOS devices leading to unexpectedly high CPA and ROAS.
SKAdNetwork is Apple's proposed remedy to this problem. The tracking solution reports conversions happening on iOS devices back to the ad networks, without revealing the underlying user data to them. As a consequence of this...
- Ad networks report conversions reported by SKAN separately from their self-tracked conversions.
- Conversion events reported through SKAN offer less granular insights into the timing of the conversion.
Put simply, where ad networks can identify who converted and report when a self-tracked conversion happened, SKAN limits them to reporting that a conversion happened.
How Clarisights Reports Conversion Events
Clarisights' ambition is for Marketers to have all relevant marketing metrics at their fingertips. So, we surface conversion events and try to support the highest granularity possible. As established in the previous section, the granularity we provide for conversion events depends on whether they were tracked through SKAN or the ad network itself.
Some of the most typical conversion events include:
- Mobile App Installs
- Add to Cart
Let's use 'Mobile App Installs' as an example for how Facebook and other ad networks report conversions. Facebook's self-tracked app installs will show in the following metric:
- FB: Mobile App Installs
Note that the installs reported in this metric are tied to the attribution settings configured by the Marketer.
On top of that, you can find the attributed conversions for three different attribution windows and two modes of attribution (click + view) in Clarisights. Each of these are reported as separate metrics:
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 1 day (view)
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 1 day (click)
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 7 days (view)
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 7 days (click)
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 28 days (view)
- FB: Mobile App Installs - 28 days (click)
Where (click) implies the user did click on your app and (view) implies they only saw it but did not click on it.
Facebook is able to provide such granular insights into the attribution because these conversions are tracked using their own technology. For conversion reported through SKAN, Facebook only receives information about the aggregated number of conversion. SKAN-reported metrics will appear as a separate metric in Clarisights, and only have the clickthrough and view through variants with no concept of attribution windows:
- FB: Mobile App Installs (SKAN) (click)
- FB: Mobile App Installs (SKAN) (view)
In a report, this will look as follows:
You can see how one conversion event (Mobile App Installs) is reported through 9 (!) different metrics. This preserves as much granularity as possible. However, this also understandably adds some complexity for reporting. If you want to report conversions from multiple channels this quickly gives you 40 to 50 potential metrics to choose from.
Now let's explore how we can put it all back together and reduce that complexity.
Leverage Clarisights' Custom Metrics to Get the Complete Picture
Above we saw that there are lots of metrics to choose from and that Facebook reports SKAN- and self-attributed metrics separately. Custom Metrics are designed to help you quickly aggregate metrics, so we can utilise them to pick and combine only those conversion metrics that we are interested in.
Say we want to consider app installs from Facebook, where we attribute all installs that occurred within seven days after seeing an ad, or one day after viewing it. On top of that, we want to count installs reported through SKAN for our campaigns targeting devices running on iOS 14.5 or above.
Here is how you would implement this in Clarisights using Custom Metrics. (You can learn more about Custom Metrics in this article)
Alternatively, if you don't want to rely on conversions reported by the ad networks, you can integrate a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) like Adjust or Branch to Clarisights, we will join their reported conversions to the data from your marketing channels so you can get all your relevant data in one view.
Whether you rely on an MMP or not, you will want to see all your conversions at a glance while still being able to drill into granular details and explore different attribution settings. We know that SKAN likely hasn’t made your life easier, but Clarisights can help with this and many of your other reporting challenges. Reach out to us today to learn more!