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How to Set Up Measurement and Attribution for iOS 14

March 9, 2021
How to Set Up Measurement and Attribution for iOS 14

Understanding the New Rules

Since Apple announced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework at WWDC 2020, advertisers have known that they will eventually lose access to IDFA for measurement and attribution if the users did not provide consent. 

However, in late January 2021, Apple released additional guidance around their ATT framework which clarified what data or identifiers were governed by ATT and therefore unusable by advertisers in the absence of user consent. 

According to the January 2021 guidance, advertisers could not use any device data (for example, user agent, IP address and location) or any identifier that joins app data with third-party data (for example, session ID, fingerprint ID and device graph identifiers).

As such, most mobile measurement platforms (MMPs) have taken a call to stop supporting probabilistic attribution on Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) traffic from iOS 14.5 onwards. This means that advertisers will have no option but to rely on Appleā€™s SKAdNetwork (SKAN) to attribute installs on campaigns targeting iOS 14.5 and above.

Bottom line: All iOS app install campaigns should use SKAN for measurement and attribution on traffic without user consent.

Get Started with SKAdNetwork

Looking to use SKAN? Demand-side platforms (DSPs) should be sure to follow these steps:

  1. DSPs should register with Apple, obtain an SKAdNetwork ID and pass it to their SSPs. They should ensure it is in lowercase.
  2. DSPs should get a private key that lets them sign their key that can be verified by Apple.
  3. DSPs should share the postback endpoint with SSPs to receive app install notifications.
  4. DSPs should prepare to ingest SKAdNetwork IDs (imp.ext.skadn) in the bid requests and pass bid.ext.skadn in the bid response.

Testing Your SKAdNetwork Implementation

We highly recommend DSPs test their SKAdNetwork implementation end to end and make sure they are receiving postbacks from SKAN. To help in this endeavor, InMobi also created a test app that lets DSPs do this and made it available here with instructions on how to use the app.

Tracking Events

Apple’s SKAN API only allows for a limited number of post-install events to be tracked, compared to the older world where advertisers could track many more events and then narrow down to the most significant ones. Furthermore, there is also a 24-hour time window between the in-app action and the postback activity. Buyers should work with their MMPs and DSPs to identify what events they want to track and optimize against in this new world.

Expect Evolution

Finally, SKAdNetwork is a framework new to the ecosystem, and advertisers and demand partners can expect fixes and upgrades along the way as it sees broader adoption. Buyers must keep a close watch on technical changes required by their supply-side partners and DSPs to ensure timely changes to deliver the best results for them.