SKAN 4 transition early days: not even 1% of iOS installs using SKAN 4 measurement right now

By John Koetsier April 19, 2023

The SKAN 4.0 transition is definitely starting, but perhaps not yet at Formula 1 pace. Fewer than 1% of all iOS postbacks are SKAN 4 postbacks right now. And only 7 of the thousands of ad networks and platforms that Singular measures are actively adopting SKAN 4 at this point in time. 

Still, now is the time to get your SKAN 4 conversion models set up, for a number of reasons:

  1. SKAN 4 is completely backwards compatible with SKAN 3
  2. SKAN 4 is incredibly easy to set up
  3. SKAN 4 is going to only see increased adoption: bid requests are hitting almost 20% and growing fast

Let’s see what’s happening on the technical side …

SKAN 4 transition: what’s happening

Most ad networks and platforms are testing the last version of SKAdNetwork for their ad inventory. That’s why Inmobi’s DSP  is seeing over 19% of bid requests come in as SKAN 4 compatible as of April 2023 … a massive change from less than 2% just 4 months ago.

Some data that Sara Camden, InMobi’s head of product marketing, shared with me:

SKAN 4 transition

But it’s worth reminding ourselves what’s required to get a SKAN 4 conversion.

SKAN 4 conversion

You need:

  1. A SKAN 4 ready device running iOS 16.1+
  2. A SKAN 4 capable SDK from Singular or another MMP
  3. A SKAN 4 conversion model set up and running
  4. A SKAN 4 click, which requires the ad network’s set-up

Miss one of the required elements, and you get SKAN 3 postbacks. (Note: you can get SKAN 4 postbacks without having set up a SKAN 4 conversion model, but you’ll only see the first postback because SKAN 4’s second and third postback won’t have been set up.)

So the ad networks are (mostly) setting up, testing, and preparing. But now we need advertisers to also start setting up, testing, and preparing … which of course they haven’t been able to do until very, very recently.

Low numbers of SKAN 4 postbacks so far …

The result is predictable: very low numbers of SKAN 4 postbacks, with a few spikes as ad networks ramp, evaluate, and then pause testing efforts.

This is Singular data from January to the first week of April:

SKAN 4 adoption pace

Currently, SKAN 4 is seeing a .2% adoption rate when we look at all the variables: a SKAN 4 capable device with a recent iOS version, a SKAN 4 click from an ad network, and an active SKAN 4 conversion model from an advertiser. The spike in the graph above drives the percentage temporarily to almost 2% as one large ad network ramped up testing.

SKAN 4 transition: Time to pick up steam?

What we essentially see now is that many ad networks are starting to get ready. Ad networks that we see testing SKAN 4 recently include ironSource, Moloco, Smadex, Unity Ads, Appier, and Google AdWords. We’re also seeing “ad networks” that are essentially large publishers’ internal cross-promotion efforts testing SKAN 4 capability, boosting the SKAN 4 transition numbers.

Interestingly, the ad network that caused the spike in the chart above ran 86% SKAN 3 clicks and 11% SKAN 4 clicks in the second week of March (plus a few SKAN 2 and some null SKAN models to make up the 100%). By the beginning of April, that ad network was 97% SKAN 3.

In other words: there’s testing, evaluation of results, and then a pause. But also, ad networks need advertisers to jump on the SKAN 4 train and get conversion models set up so that they can evaluate the entire loop and advertisers can provide feedback on the results.

One reason to set up your SKAN 4 conversion model today is that it doesn’t impact any active SKAN 3 campaigns, as long as your SKAN 4 first postback conversion model is aligned with your only SKAN 3 postback conversion model. Additionally, as there’s increased ad network adoption of SKAN 4, you’ll start seeing the extra data from postbacks 2 and 3 show up in your dashboard … data that you’ll miss out on if you only have a SKAN 3 conversion model active.

Need some help getting up to speed?

You’re in luck. We’ve put together a complete SKAN 4 transition guide that highlights the changes, lists the strategic decisions you’ll need to make, and gives you a suggested plan for how to set up your SKAN 4 conversion models.

Get it for free here.

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