Getting 50% more SKAN values with mixed conversion models

By John Koetsier March 16, 2022

“I love SKAdNetwork,” said no one ever.

The most important question mobile marketers ask of their ads campaigns is simple: what’s working? What’s delivering? What should I do more of?

The challenge with Apple’s SKAN framework for privacy-safe mobile attribution is that too often, app publishers that don’t have significant revenue events very early after people install their apps get basically zero conversion data back from SKAdNetwork postbacks. Most marketers need 24-hour feedback to feed the optimization beast in the bowels of their ad partners’ adtech engines.

“In case you choose to use a revenue model and there’s no revenue generated by your app on the first day, you’re actually getting no information at all,” says Singular product manager Omri Barak.

Sure, you get a postback, so you know that something has happened. But the conversion value is zeroed out, meaning that marketers are flying blind. And not only marketers but also their ad partners who are looking for early optimization signals.

The solution, Barak says, is mixed conversion models, recently introduced by Singular. 

Singular initially offered four conversion models:

  • Events
  • Engagement
  • Revenue (ad monetization, in-app purchases, or a combination of both)
  • Funnel

Revenue is the most important for many apps, but it’s also the one that can be a trailing indicator, not an early signal. Some are lucky, of course.

“On-demand verticals do tend to have the luxury of early revenue indicators,” says product marketing manager Kelsey Lee. “They tend to have users who are like, I’m downloading the Uber app and now I need to catch a ride. So the intent is high there and so they usually have faster turnaround.”

With mixed models, marketers can combine revenue and conversion models, or revenue and engagement, or revenue and funnel, says Lee. The result is much more flexibility in getting revenue where possible while ensuring that even if there isn’t any revenue to report, you’re at least getting some conversion data in your SKAN postback.

Which, of course, is extremely important for knowing what’s working and for sending to ad partners for their internal optimizations.

Mixed models are popular in gaming, says Barak, where it often takes time before app publishers see in-app revenue. It’s also important in retail apps, where a sale may occur quickly — people download retail apps for a purpose, generally — but it’s critical to know how to segment that new customer based on what they bought and the value of their purchase.

“With mixed models, you can … put each user in a different bucket, depending on how much they spent inside your app,” Barak says.

So what’s the result?

Early testing indicates that marketers are seeing about 50% more conversion values, Barak says. That’s a massive increase that can help steer investment and optimization decisions in near real-time.

Also impressive: now you can run VO and AEO campaigns on Facebook. 

“VO campaigns are Value Optimization campaigns and AEO are App Event Optimization campaigns,” Barak says. “Now with a single model you can switch which campaign you’re running on Facebook, so you better understand what works for you … and that’s also a huge benefit we’re seeing.”

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