From the Trenches: Learn How Picsart Is Using SKAN Today

I’ve sat with enough mobile growth leaders around the world to see how a wide variety of mobile companies are focusing on tackling Apple’s new privacy-centric SKAdNetwork (SKAN) measurement. Make no mistake, this is a complicated topic where many still struggle to make sense of the changes and develop their strategy to succeed in the post-privacy world. At a recent Leaders in Mobile Growth conference, I had the pleasure to meet Annie Wang from Picsart, who did an amazing job breaking down her company’s approach and giving advice to others in our roundtable on measurement. It’s easy to armchair quarterback, but it’s another to share advice from the trenches. I asked Annie to share her refreshingly honest and straightforward pointers in the hopes you could apply her findings to your business.

It’s rare to get such unvarnished advice from a member of the community, and I very much appreciate Annie’s willingness to delve into the details. If you like her take, stay tuned. We’re inviting her back to expand on her learnings in a webinar. If you’re looking for more resources to help you get started with SKAN, check our advice on approaching aggregate privacy-centric measurement or our strategies for setting optimal conversion values. Also, in my travels and conversations, I’ll continue to ask folks in the industry to share their advice and experience!

 — Adam Landis, Head of Growth at Branch

My name is Annie, and I’m currently a senior user acquisition manager at Picsart. I’ve been working in the growth space for four years now, starting off at an agency and then moving in-house. I’ve specialized in search channels, such as Google and Apple Search Ads. I help oversee the day-to-day optimizations of the wider UA team here at Picsart.

Picsart is an all-in-one, AI-powered photo and video editor. We’re a platform that provides creators with the power to advance their passions through intuitive, cutting-edge tools and exclusive content. Picsart currently has 150M+ monthly active users (MAU) and is available in over 30 languages.

Efficient growth with a mix of different channels

Our paid media and digital marketing strategy is key to Picsart’s growth. As a team, we are prioritizing balancing efficient growth. We’ve learned how to grow installs and MAU in cheaper countries while emphasizing revenue growth from more expensive countries. We have a mix of different media channels, and we continuously test out new platforms and campaign types.

Scaling iOS again after IDFA has been key to scaling our media. Right when it happened and even for sometime after, IDFA deprecation hurt our iOS campaigns and hurt a lot of our channels. But as we’ve leaned on SKAN, we’ve been able to scale up iOS again — to where we are spending as much as pre-IDFA levels.

Picsart’s SKAN story

I want to highlight that we are far from SKAN experts — yet we’re still able to run on SKAN and find some success. Mainly to show that SKAN is not scary! You don’t have to be an expert to find success with SKAN. Everyone is truly learning as we go.

Currently, Picsart is on SKAN, and we use it to attribute our iOS campaigns (aside from Apple Search Ads, which is self-reporting). SKAN is our source of truth because it’s better to have something that helps us attribute data rather than rely on platform data that isn’t de-duped or an internal model based on missing IDFA data.

Although we aren’t able to see revenue at the moment, we use other signals that occur within the first 48 hours to help us predict return on advertising spend (ROAS). While it’s not as direct as it was pre-IDFA, it’s still a good model that gives us accurate ROAS predictions and enough confidence to scale and spend on iOS. Basically, it’s much better than having nothing at all. At least we have a source of truth for our performance benchmarks.

Prepping for SKAN 4.0

SKAN 4.0 is a really exciting development because it’s an opportunity for us to be able to see revenue. Now, in the first 48 hours, we’ll be able to get three postbacks instead of just one. Another exciting development is a new four-digit source identifier.

How we are preparing for SKAN 4.0:

  • Joining seminars, masterclasses, and webinars to learn all we can about the upcoming changes with SKAN 4.0
  • Asking our media partners about adoption timelines
  • Starting to play around in our mobile measurement partner’s (MMP) dashboards and thinking about our conversion events and how we are going to group and label them by behavior (“high,” “medium,” and “low”)

We are prioritizing what we can control, which is unfortunately not when our media partners are going to adopt. So we are educating ourselves on the upcoming changes. We are also leveraging our MMP to schedule more in-depth training about how SKAN 4.0 affects our specific business and events. We’re also categorizing our conversion events and what will give us the most relevant data for the three postbacks we’ll receive.

SKAN 4.0 is the future

SKAN 4.0 is definitely a game changer for the industry, and I believe a lot of media partners are testing and planning to adopt SKAN 4.0. Otherwise, they’re going to be trailing behind the ones that do. I believe there will be more iterations of SKAN, each one better than the last, which will give us more information and bring us to a place that is closer to pre-IDFA.

People who don’t adopt SKAN are going to be left behind because that’s where the industry is heading. Google Privacy Sandbox is probably going to be released around 2024 with essentially the same effects as IDFA. If companies are not adopting SKAN or even spending on iOS anymore, it’s a huge miss. Delaying SKAN adoption is really just giving your competition a head start. It’s not doing you any favors.

My advice to someone just getting started is that you don’t need to understand every nook and cranny right now. Don’t let anything you might not understand deter you from getting on SKAN. Build a strong partnership with your MMP and learn how SKAN will affect your campaigns and strategy. Learn what changes you might need to make, such as cutting down the number of Meta campaigns you’re running.