SKAN 4 is coming: we’re seeing a definite uptick in SKAN 4 postbacks (again) and here’s what you need to know now

By John Koetsier September 14, 2023

SKAN 4 has been coming for a long time. Over a year in fact, since June of 2022. And while we saw a brief spike in SKAN 4 postbacks when Meta switched over from SKAN 3, SKAN 4 as a percentage of all postbacks tumbled way back down to the 10% mark when the SKAN 4 CV reset bug reared its ugly head. 

We’re now actually seeing numbers trend up again.

Don’t get too excited, we’re talking 17%, not 30% or 50% or 80% … but it’s the highest percentage since the SKAN 4 CV reset bug, and maybe, just maybe, the growth rate we’re seeing live on the Singular SKAdNetwork adoption tracker will continue.

So the big question is: are you ready?

SKAN 4 is coming insights: available on-demand

We just held the SKAN 4 is coming webinar to help marketers prepare. As usual, we assembled an all-star cast of experts to share what’s going on and what you need to know to get ready.

Check it out on-demand right now for all the insights, including:

  • The current state of SKAN 3 and trending adoption of SKAN 4
  • What’s changing between SKAN 3 and SKAN 4
  • Actionable tactics to become an early adopter
  • Predictions on when SKAN 4 will be the majority model

Here’s a few of the goodies and top tips from the webinar to get you started …

Using SKAN 4’s second and third postbacks

As everyone in mobile marketing knows, SKAN 4 brings multiple postbacks where SKAN 3 only had 1. What no-one really knows yet is just how useful they’ll be and what they’ll enable.

One thing they probably won’t bring is extra ad network optimization. But they will offer a deeper sense of the long-term value of the users, players, and customers you get from different campaigns and sources.

From DraftKings digital marketing automation specialist Richard Eiseman:

“With those longer delays, we’re probably not gonna get any platforms optimizing to those second and third postbacks, or at least that’s what we’ve heard so far. But it’s really gonna just be a good tool to further differentiate users and understand what they’re doing after that single post-install data point.”

What we’re likely going to see is much great diversification of how marketers and advertisers use SKAN across different verticals and for different monetization schemes, thanks to these extra postbacks. Longer funnels are now more measurable for higher-value subscription apps, and casual/hypercasual game makers might be able to track ad monetization levels beyond just the first week.

More data is more data

SKAN 4 is more complex, which is the downside, but it provides more data. That’s not just more as in going from 50 to 100 (which is nice) but more as in going from nothing to something (which is essential).

From Liftoff director of product management Matthew Ellinwood:

“We used to have a little bit of data or no data, and now we have a chance at three different tiers of data. One thing that I call out with this multiple postback approach and the addition of a coarse and fine values is what I think is actually gonna be the most impactful, which is the increase in certainty of just getting the lowest level of detail, the coarsest data within a specific amount of time, and being able to count on getting that data and that signal quickly. Whereas in the old version, before we had these coarse and fine grain signals, we really didn’t have that option at all.”

This is very good news for indies and smaller publishers because SKAN 3’s all or nothing approach often left advertisers who were not spending huge amounts of money extremely data-poor. In that sense, SKAN 4 levels the playing field a bit.

From Eran Friedman, Singular’s CTO and “chief SKAN whisperer:”

“The smaller advertisers are gonna get something instead of nothing as they had before.”

Democratization of marketing data via SKAdNetwork might be overstating the case, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Of course, there’s also goodies for the titans of mobile: more than more is … more. Even if you got a decent amount of data — no-one is really happy with the amount of data available via SKAN 3 — you’ll get more data and better data under SKAN 4.

The lower null rate will be a big boost to ad network optimization, says Matthew, saying it will “inch us a little bit closer to that pre-ATT era that was a lot easier.”

SKAN 3 vs SKAN 4: where the ecosystem is

SKAN 3 is not working well for 10% of the marketers in our webinar, which is to be expected. And it’s just OK for most: 72%. But the majority aren’t jumping all over SKAN 4 just yet. Only 3% feel ready, while 43% are working on it and 37% are thinking about it.

Another 16% are more along the lines of “come back and talk to me in 2 months when the SKAN bug fixes are on more devices.”

That might not be too far away. 

iOS 17’s release date is September 18, and there’s already a massive uptick in new versions of iOS being captured on StatCounter’s reporting. Both suggest October could be an interesting month for mass iOS updating.

The uptick in SKAN 4 postback percentage that Singular is seeing suggests ad networks and platforms are getting more comfortable with SKAN 4 and could soon be upping their use. At least some platforms definitely are. From InMobi product marketing and app performance lead Sara Camden:

“90% of the iOS spend across our performance clients is SKAN compatible at this point, and then 90% of that is SKAN 3 or above.”

I would like to be optimistic here, but most of our panelists think SKAN 4 will only really be in a majority position in the ecosystem in 2024. Complexity, ecosystem challenges, and slowdowns from some of the bugs we’ve seen are the key issues.

From Eran Friedman:

“I hope that Q1 of 2024 would be the mass adoption stage, but I think networks are gonna maybe go a bit more carefully now after kind of the recent bugs and issues that were found. 

Matthew Ellinwood:

“If you would have asked me six to eight months ago, I probably would’ve been bullish. But … the enabled inventory of percentage growth over time has just been lagging. And I don’t think that that’s gonna flip extremely quickly.”

Sara Camden:

“There’s so many different things that have to come together. It’s the adtech players that I mentioned but then also the advertisers … it’s turned out to be a lot more complicated and a different shift in mindset than even earlier versions of SKAN. So it’s taking a little while to get that to that comfortable place, but then the users have to have the right version of iOS too.”

Richard Eiseman

“We’re mostly just in the testing phase … thankfully, Singular has the transitional model. So even on those channels where we are getting some SKAN 4 and some SKAN 3, we can get both reads and kind of maximize what’s available now.”

Get all the insights from the full webinar

As always, click through to the full webinar to get all the insights.

It’ll be worth your time.

And, keep an eye out for Singular’s next webinar.

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