SKAN Magic Set Up: Mapping SKAN Success for Marketers and App Developers

In the fast-paced world of mobile advertising, marketers and developers face numerous challenges when it comes to effectively managing their mobile apps. Last October, Apple’s introduction of SKAN 4.0 added a new layer of complexity to mobile measurement, leaving app developers and marketers to grapple with tasks like conversion value mapping, postback window configuration, and target event definition.

In response to these challenges, we aim to provide marketers with the tools they need to confidently navigate this evolving landscape. With our mission of providing robust, privacy-focused SKAN measurement support in mind, we’re thrilled to introduce SKAN Magic Set Up, a solution designed to simplify the intricacies of configuring SKAN 4.0 (and future versions of SKAN).

Video of a Branch Dashboard screen showing a user selecting the "Magic Set Up" type. After selecting "Magic Set Up," the user selects "Purchase" as their target conversion event.

Understanding SKAN (and its challenges)

To provide some historical context, SKAdNetwork (SKAN) is Apple’s privacy-focused attribution and measurement solution for iOS advertising campaigns. Initially introduced in May 2018 as an optional API, SKAN is designed to provide meaningful attribution while safeguarding user privacy. Over time, SKAN has evolved into Apple’s primary attribution framework for iOS.

Our initial SKAN 4.0 support response in December 2022 included essential updates to the Branch SDK and introduced new conversion value mapping options in our Dashboard. However, SKAN 4.0 created a few more complexities that needed to be addressed, including event tracking and postback window handling. The launch of SKAN Magic Set Up marks the second phase of our SKAN 4.0 support, which is intended to help advertisers confidently navigate mobile measurement in this privacy-centric landscape. 

Goodbye, complexity. Hello, clarity.

SKAN Magic Set Up simplifies iOS campaign measurement and makes it easier to use Apple’s privacy-safe framework. 

For mobile marketers, SKAN Magic Set Up means an easier, more trustworthy SKAN process.

We know that SKAN can be daunting, so we’ve reduced the learning curve to get you up to speed quickly. SKAN Magic Set Up provides tailored conversion value mapping recommendations based on your specific business goal(s), offering detailed conversion insights to fine-tune your campaigns. 

App developers also reap the benefits of SKAN Magic Set Up by saving valuable time and effort in SKAN 4.0+ configuration.

We’ve got you covered with support for multiple postbacks with predefined intervals via three standard conversion windows introduced with SKAN 3.0. Branch handles the iOS attribution complexities in the background, so you can focus on app development.

What’s new?

Here’s a glance at the new features available in SKAN Magic Set Up: 

Target Conversion Event Selector

Branch Dashboard showing the Target Conversion Event Selector. When a user selects their event type, they are automatically shown event-based recommendations for an optimal SKAN configuration.

Select the conversion event that aligns most closely with your app’s business goals from a list based on recent event volumes. For example, if you support an e-commerce app, you’d most likely use the ‘Purchase’ conversion event to ensure your SKAN set up aligns with your business objective of revenue generation.

Updated Conversion Value Mapper

Branch Dashboard showing a Conversion Events page. The Dashboard provides built-in support for 3 postback windows. The user can specify events to measure for three time periods: 0 to 2 days, 3 to 7 days, and 8 to 35 days.

Our enhanced Conversion Value Mapper now offers support for all three SKAN 4.0 postback windows. We’ve also revamped the user experience, making the process more user-friendly and intuitive. This includes a configuration preview to avoid errors in your SKAN set up.

Should I use SKAN Magic Set Up or Custom Set Up?

Branch Dashboard showing two set up type options: Magic Set Up and Custom Set Up.

If you’re new to SKAN or your app hasn’t been integrated with SKAN before, Magic Set Up is likely best for you. 

This path provides a Branch-recommended conversion mapping. Magic Set Up minimizes the learning curve and gets your iOS campaigns up and running quickly. 

If you’re comfortable with SKAN or support an app that has been previously configured for SKAN, you can update your existing values to support SKAN 4.0+ with Custom Set Up.  

Custom Set Up is better suited for more experienced users as it allows you to configure granular SKAN settings tailored to your specific needs. It’s a good choice when you want precise control and optimization. Even when choosing the custom route, you don’t have to start from scratch. Our industry-specific templates give you a head start by providing prepackaged configurations for different verticals. These templates can save you time and effort, ensuring that your SKAN set up aligns with your industry’s unique requirements. Plus, you can customize them further to meet your specific needs.

Branch Dashboard showing a user creating a conversion event from an existing template. When the user clicks, "See template," they see a drop down menu of existing templates.

Both options allow you to map your conversion value events, better understand your current iOS performance, and optimize your iOS campaigns over time. Both options are also backwards-compatible with all previous versions of SKAN — meaning you won’t lose any historical SKAN data by updating your existing configuration. Plus, Branch is fully equipped to support SKAN 4.0 and beyond (including that SKAN 5.0-shaped cloud looming on the horizon). 

How do I get started?

Branch Dashboard showing where users can get started with SKAN Magic Set Up. The user clicks on "SKAN Conversion Center" in the Dashboard menu.

To begin using SKAN Magic Set Up, please ensure you have a Branch Dashboard with Universal Ads enabled, the latest Branch iOS SDK integrated into your app, and network support for SKAdNetwork.

Next, navigate to the SKAN Configuration Center located in the ‘Configure’ section of the Branch navigation sidebar. 

Select the ‘Magic Set Up’ option, and let the magic unfold!

Check out our SKAdNetwork Help Documentation for further implementation details. 

Unified Analytics for informed decisions

Accurate measurement is at the core of effective campaign management. SKAN Magic Set Up elevates the precision of Branch’s Unified Analytics, aligning your SKAN configuration to your app’s business goals.

With a more unified, holistic view of your performance, you’ll be well prepared to make strategic decisions regarding your marketing strategies. This ensures that your iOS campaigns are optimized for success and supported by dependable data, empowering you to refine and enhance your marketing efforts seamlessly.

Map your future success

Whether you’re new to SKAN or optimizing your transition to SKAN 4.0, Branch helps simplify the complexities of SKAdNetwork integration. We’re excited to champion your success in privacy-compliant, data-driven mobile marketing. As SKAN evolves and the mobile industry progresses, we’ll be here supporting your app’s growth every step of the way. To learn more, reach out to our team.