What is SKAdNetwork?

StoreKit Ad Network, or popularly known as SKAdNetwork or SKAN, is Apple’s privacy-centric framework for mobile app advertising attribution and measurement. It uses a randomized, API-based, privacy-preserving model to analyze user actions and provide aggregated insights to app advertisers with no visibility into user level data.

SKAdNetwork is Apple’s advertising attribution solution in iOS14, meant as a “plan B” to when users do not opt in to device-level ad tracking.

SKAdNetwork allows advertisers to track which of their advertising campaigns ultimately led to new users installing their apps or making purchases, but without disclosing much information about what specific ads a user has seen or clicked on. The intention is to allow brands to know just enough about the performance of their ads to be able to continue investing in advertising, while never letting any company acquire user identifiers. Apple achieves this by creating a new flow of data, where more of a user’s data is retained on the phone itself. With SKAdNetwork, advertisers rely on receiving only aggregate information about the success of their campaigns, rather than getting detailed user-level information on clicks and ad impressions. As individual privacy is deemed protected in this approach, Apple does not require advertisers to ask permission from users to measure ad efficiency this way.

SKAdNetwork pros

    • It gives users more control over their data and privacy.
    • Eliminating granular, device-level data has the potential to dramatically reduce ad fraud, since Apple is directly vouching for each install.

SKAdNetwork drawbacks

    • It completely anonymizes the attribution and eliminates user-level data, meaning it’s more impossible to achieve granular, user-level attribution.
    • There are also challenges in the actual implementation, requiring publisher apps to actively register the approved ad networks in a newly-released version of the app.
    • It’ll likely be challenging for most to adopt and incorporate this technology.

Behind the Magic: How SKAdNetwork Magic Set Up Works

SKAN Magic Set Up uses intricate, innovative technology, so to get more background as well as practical advice for putting it to work, Branch data scientist Blake Schiafone explains how SKAN Magic Set Up works and how Branch customers can use it most effectively for their campaigns.