SKAN 4 network adoption update: Meta blasts off (again)

By John Koetsier February 20, 2024

When will the mobile adtech ecosystem fully support SKAN 4? It might just be sooner than we’ve come to think, as SKAN 4 network adoption came within kissing distance of 50% last week. The big news: Meta is back to play.

Appropriately enough, the SKAN 4 high-water mark was on Valentine’s Day.

skan 4 network adoption

It has been so long since SKAN 4 was released on October 24, 2022. That’s 484 days ago, and we still haven’t seen SKAN 4 network adoption hit the 50% mark and keep growing. But we came close on February 14, 2024, when 43% of the SKAdNetwork postbacks received by Singular were SKAN 4, and 57% were SKAN 3.

SKAdNetwork postbacks 2/14/2024: 43% SKAN 4, 57% SKAN 3

That’s kind of a big deal. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen SKAN 4 get to a majority of iOS postbacks. Plus, there was yet another pleasant surprise when I checked the SKAN 4 adoption dashboard this morning: a Meta explosion.

SKAN 4 network adoption: steady progress

I’ll get to the Meta explosion in a second, but first we nearly have a SKAN 4 record in Reddit: almost 100% percent SKAN 4 postbacks. Over the past 7 days, the postbacks from Reddit hit the 98% mark: extremely impressive.

skan 4 network adoption - meta

As of this week, the leading networks for SKAN 4 adoption are:

  1. Reddit: 98%
  2. The Trade Desk: 87%
  3. Dataseat: 84%
  4. Unity: 81%
  5. Jampp: 78%
  6. Twitter: 76%
  7. Smadex: 68%
  8. Mintegral: 68%
  9. 67%
  10. Remerge: 62%
  11. Appier: 59%
  12. AppLovin: 50%
  13. Moloco: 46%
  14. Liftoff: 45%
  15. Meta: 42%
  16. Google: 22%

Getting a SKAN 4 postback: device matters

As a reminder, here’s what it takes to get a SKAN 4 postback: you need an iOS device running 16.1 or higher, and the relevant ad network needs to encode a SKAN 4 click. What that means is that getting to 100% SKAN 4 is probably not going to happen for a long time.

One big reason has nothing to do with SKAN 4 network adoption and everything to do with iOS system updates on older devices. According to data I downloaded from Statcounter, 18.43% of iOS devices are running pre iOS 16.1 operating systems as of January 2024.

SKAN 4 iOS versions

In 2021 Apple said there were more than 1 billion iPhones in use. In February of 2023, Apple said it has more than 2 billion active devices globally, which includes products such as Apple Watches and Macs. And on February 1 of this year, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple’s “installed base of active devices has now surpassed 2.2 billion.”

Most of those are likely to be iPhones. If 1.5 billion of them actually are, then 276 million iPhones are not eligible to issue SKAN 4 postbacks.

Of course, we can debate how much that matters: most people with old devices might not be actively adding new apps. That’s true, but while many with older phones are likely to be adults or seniors, some of the older devices are hand-me-downs in the pockets of kids and teens. And young people are avid downloaders of new apps.

SKAN 4 network adoption and Meta

Meta has been a big part of the SKAN 4 network adoption story. 

SKAN 4 adoption hit a high-water mark of 32% in August of 2023 before the SKAN 4 CV reset bug hit. That had a MAJOR impact on Meta, which had jumped from a tiny percentage of SKAN 4 postbacks all the way to majority SKAN 4: 52% SKAN 4 postbacks in July of 2023. After the bug, all that SKAN 4 exuberance evaporated, and Meta dropped back down to single digit of SKAN 4 postback percentages.

Now it’s February 2024. That traumatic experience behind Meta, it looks like the company could be prepped to dive in again.

Right now, Meta is at 42% SKAN 4 postbacks: a huge surge from the sub-10% range it had been in for months.

The big jump actually started very quickly in late January:

skan 4 network adoption meta jumped

On January 24, someone flipped a switch at Meta. On January 27, SKAN 4 postbacks hit the 41% mark. On January 31, they peaked at 49%, after which they’ve jumped around a little, settling at 42% yesterday.

This is a major move, given that Meta is a major platform: one of the 3 most important companies globally for the mobile app install ads market. It’s a sign of renewed confidence in SKAN 4, and a willingness to adopt Apple’s technology for attribution despite the fact that Meta has developed its own new modeled measurement capabilities.

SKAN 4 adoption: good for marketers

Ultimately, more networks adopting SKAN 4 is good for marketers. It’s more data for longer periods than SKAN 3, and it’s more privacy-safe than former alternatives.

In addition, seeing more SKAN 4 network adoption will hopefully simplify attribution for app install campaigns. While the world is never going to get as simple as it was in pre-ATT days for iOS attribution, forever muddling between SKAN 3 and SKAN 4 worlds is not an ideal state.

If you’re looking to make the jump, there’s help available. Check out the Singular SKAN 4 strategy guide, which is all about how to transition from SKAN 3 to SKAN 4.

Plus, you can always check industry SKAN 4 adoption right here.

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