Live SKAN 4 postbacks now in the wild: the SKAN 4 era has begun

By John Koetsier January 18, 2023

The SKAN 4 era has begun: we are now seeing live SKAN 4 postbacks coming from ad networks.

The scale is tiny right now, so don’t get too excited. But getting live SKAN 4 postbacks is a big deal. This is not just the beginning of the next evolution in iOS marketing under SKAdNetwork, it’s the beginning of the ability of ad networks to test and iterate their implementations of SKAN 4. And it’s also the first step in marketers and analytics providers like Singular learning how the new crowd anonymity, postback timers, and conversion values will function in the real world.

First step in SKAN 4 adoption

“Singular processing SKAN 4 postbacks is the first step in SKAN adoption,” says Singular product manager Omri Barak. “It’s a chance to start looking at the privacy thresholds and seeing the behavior out in the wild.”

It’s very unlikely that any ad network will send live SKAN 4 postbacks at scale right now: they know marketers and the ecosystem at large aren’t ready for a full transition, and may not be until Q3 this year. So if you’re not 100% set up for SKAN 4, don’t panic. 

You still have time to prepare.

What we will be seeing over the next few weeks are really early postbacks, Barak told me: networks still have a long way until they actually move the majority of traffic to SKAN 4. A big part of the challenge for all the ad networks and major marketing platforms is deciding on their strategies for how to use the new source identifier, coarse conversion values, and extra postbacks. This is a big, big deal: get it right and ad networks can achieve better signal, better campaign management, better creative optimization, and ultimately better results with more conversions. And that, of course, can expand their market share. 

Get it wrong, and the consequences won’t be so pretty.

What you need to do now

The most important question for marketers right now: what do I need to do?

First, make sure your entire team is getting ready for SKAN 4. We just published a massive and comprehensive SKAN 4 strategy guide with details on the changes, preparations you need to make, implementation of your SKAN 4 strategy, and operational details on what you can expect from Singular in terms of marketing analytics. (It will soon be available in guide form so it will be more readable and have better, more explanatory graphics, but it’s complete right now.) Check it out and, if you need, contact us to get help.

Second, talk to your ad partners.

“Marketers need to check with the networks they are advertising with to see if they are signing their ads with SKAN 4,” says Barak. “If so, they can expect delays in postbacks, as all SKAN 4 postbacks by default would be sent after 48 hours.”

Again, don’t panic: if your networks are testing SKAN 4 now, they won’t be sending 100% of your postbacks as SKAN 4 postbacks. They’ll probably just be sending a very few for testing, so you’re not going to lose a lot of signal. Also, while most MMPs still only update in the first 24 hours, Singular clients’ current active models will not be affected, Barak says, for models that are up to 48 hours. Data in these SKAN 4 postbacks is available in your Singular logs, your reports, and your ETL deliveries.

When we’ll see live SKAN 4 postbacks at scale

Note: what we’re seeing right now are SKAN P1 postbacks … the first of 3 postback that SKAN 4 provides.

SKAN 4’s second and third postbacks probably won’t show up for many marketers, if any, because likely zero or almost zero marketers have SKAN 4 models set up with their MMPs yet. Once that’s available and created, then postback 2 and postback 3 will become available.

If you’re a Singular client, chat with your customer success manager about this; if you’re not, feel free to book some time with a Singular expert to talk it over.

The big question on everyone’s mind, of course, is when we’ll see SKAN 4 postbacks in the wild at scale. That’s most likely calendar Q2 this year, says Singular CTO Eran Friedman.

“The volume doesn’t matter much right now,” he adds. “The big news is that SKAN 4 is live and working, and we’re the first to show our customers their testing results.”

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