66% of iOS marketers now working on SKAN 4; 5.4% say SKAN 3 is ‘going great’

By John Koetsier December 7, 2023

SKANATHON is over but it’s not done. We recently hosted a 2-day, 4-session, 17-speaker event we called SKANATHON. Almost 2,000 iOS mobile marketers signed up, and they gave us a ton of data on what the ecosystem is doing right now. Among the insights: 66% of iOS marketers are working on or testing SKAN 4 right now.

Testing SKAN 4

Over a third are actively testing SKAdNetwork 4, while the plurality is working on it, thinking about it, or planning on it. Almost a quarter are not even considering it yet.

That said, getting ready for SKAN 4 makes a lot of sense. 

The percentage of SKAdNetwork postbacks that is SKAN 4 is trending up again, it’s easy to configure SKAN 4 conversion models in Singular, and it’s completely backwards compatible. But it’s also understandable that some are reluctant. After all, only 1 in 20 mobile marketers says that measurement, attribution, and growth under SKAN 3 is “going great.”

how is SKAN working

A solid 60.5% are doing OK, of course, but 10% tried SKAN and gave up, while almost a full quarter of iOS marketers are still looking to get started on SKAdNetwork.

The only positive for that 24% is that while SKAN 3 prepares you in many ways for SKAN 4, many of the experts speaking at SKANATHON said that SKAN 4 is a whole new ball game, with some going as far as to say it’s a complete re-start. That’s probably vertical-specific: if you reinvented your app for getting D1 conversion data in SKAN 3 and now you can get 3 postbacks over the course of a month or less, it’s a big change. But if you were already getting D1 data because you had a hybrid ad mon and iAP monetization strategy, plus you were using Singular’s SKAN Advanced Analytics to get modeled cohort and D7 data, maybe not so much.

Speaking of cohorts: that’s another big problem in SKAN 3, which SKAN 4 will solve to a certain extent.

Most mobile marketers can’t do cohort reporting under SKAN today: almost 80%.

That makes sense: out of the box SKAdNetwork doesn’t provide any functionality for cohorts, and if app installs happen without IDFA permission under ATT, there’s zero built-in capability for cohorts. That said: modeling can rebuild them, thanks to first-party data and insight into what is actually happening in your app, and Singular clients have that capability.

Losing that ability was one of the things that panicked the mobile marketing ecosystem 2 years ago when ATT started to be enforced.

While 20% ignored it and 55% started learning about it or otherwise decided ATT and SKAdNetwork was something the industry could handle, more than a quarter self-describe as panicking. Which makes some sense: the entire architecture of mobile growth was built on IDFA, and in a few short months the IDFA largely disappeared as an effective mode of measurement.

Those who are working with SKAdNetwork, however, whether SKAN 3 or SKAN 4, are fairly diverse in terms of the conversion models they’re using.

  • 31% are using a revenue model in SKAN
  • 30% aren’t sure, which indicates that they’re either not front-line UA managers, or they’re extremely non-technical
  • 22% are using mixed models (largely revenue and events)
  • 17.6% are using engagement models (events)
skan model

SKAN 4 is growing in adoption right now, but it probably won’t hit a majority of SKAdNetwork postbacks until some time in Q1 2024. At that point, it will interesting to see if SKAN 4 changes the conversion models people use, given that SKAN 4 has some significant benefits:

  • More postbacks
  • More data in the first postback
  • Crowd anonymity is easier to achieve than Privacy Thresholds
  • Web to app support (minimal, but some)
  • Conversion value changes

If you’re working on that transition, check out our SKAN 4 transition guide. It’s also a very good idea to get the on-demand videos from SKANATHON so that you can use the insights from 17 experts to fine-tune your thinking and stimulate your creativity in terms of how you’ll set up SKAN 4 for your specific app and users/customers.

All 4 sessions are available now. Sign up here for all of them:

  1. SKAN 3 adoption and best practices
  2. ASA and ASO in the era of SKAdNetwork
  3. Singular’s SKAN solution
  4. SKAN 4 deep dive

If I could put in a personal recommendation: all are good, but Session 3 is particularly practical for the how and the why and the what of SKAdNetwork. Session 1 is a good recap or starting place if you’re not really using SKAdNetwork right now. Session 4 is great if you need to know about SKAN 4, and Session 2 is most useful for those who are using Apple Search Ads.

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