A major update for Apple’s iOS 14.5 poses a big challenge for the mobile advertising industry, limiting and dramatically reducing access to tracking the IDFA value. With Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) implementation now here, SKAdNetwork implementation is key for mobile user acquisition. On this page, we offer you an overview of what to look out for with SKAdNetwork.



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Our team has studied all changes and technical details and prepared for the new realities of SKAdNetwork. This could be your advantage. We also offer our own, self-developed DSP solution that offers advantages for buying traffic such as better targeting, more transparency and minimized fees. With Spyke’s SKAdNetwork AdServer, we’re fully integrated in the new framework and able to sign Ads and receive Postbacks directly. We’re glad to help you prepare for the new reality of mobile user acquisition. Find out how Spyke Media assists you to realize a smooth transition.



Here, we offer you an overview of the changes in iOS 14. Find out more about:
What is app tracking transparency?

What is app tracking transparency?

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) specifies that each app “will be required to receive user permission to track users across apps or websites owned by other companies, or to access the device’s advertising identifier.” With low opt-in rates anticipated by industry analysts, IDFA access is about to become severely limited to advertisers. If users don’t allow tracking, Apple offers its SKAdNetwork framework to track App-to-App installs, at least on a campaign (publisher) level. The identifier for advertisers (IDFA) is no longer widely available for publishers.

What is SKAdNetwork?

What is SKAdNetwork?

 SKAdNetwork is Apple’s version of a privacy-centred measurement option for impressions or app installs in apps for iOS. The nature of SKAdNetwork is data sharing with advertisers without passing through user-level or device-level information. SK is short for StoreKit, Apple’s framework for developers to interact with the AppStore and in-app purchases. This framework involves three entities for attribution: ad network, publishing app and the advertised app. Attribution data is passed on only when all three players deliver confirmation.

The Limitations of SKAdNetwork?
The Limitations of SKAdNetwork

SKAdNetwork has a variety of limitations and calls for new tracking concepts. Only the Ad Network will receive postbacks from Apple. To achieve a successful transaction, the Advertiser and even MMPs like AppsFlyer or Adjust need to be involved (see solutions below).

With SKAdNetwork, there’s a missing direct link between Impression/Click and Event/Postback. When measured anonymously by MMP SDKs, all installs and events will show as organic traffic. It is impossible to contextualize this information. When SKAdNetwork numbers are released, corrections are needed. Obviously, keeping track of the data in dashboards is a challenge.

A major issue is the limitation to 100 campaigns per advertised app at a specific AdNetwork. Each of these campaigns represents a specific targeting, e.g. publisher sub id, specific creative-set, or similar. A campaign, therefore, will also reference to basic indicators such as GEO or Publisher.

We also found a pretty awkward flaw in Apple’s SKAdNetwork setup. GEO information doesn’t flow with the Postback from Apple, even if we look at the desired geographical targeting. However, we have found ways to mitigate this, validating the GEO derived from the IP-address of Apple’s postback.

Measurement with a conversion value
Measurement with a conversion value

One of SKAdNetwork’s cornerstones is the CONVERSION VALUE, used for reporting post-install engagements from the advertised app. This conversion values offers an early indication of in-app revenue, engagement, or retention. This is crucial data to judge and manage app campaigns. The conversion value can be anything between 0 and 63. The conversion value is offered in binary, meaning it is expressed in 6-bit values. The conversion value of 0 would be reported as 000000, 63 would be 111111 = 63.

Marketers use this value to gain insights in SKAdNetwork. It is possible to assign up to 64 possible values (registrations, purchases, user experiences etc.) to each of those combinations based on in-app events to begin understanding what the value of an install is. Rather than simply mapping individual post-install events to conversion values, the conversion model applies a framework around each distinct conversion value. When a user clicks on your ad and installs your app, ConversionValue is set to 000000 and a 24-hour postback timer starts. Each time a user then completes an in-app action of a higher Conversion Value than the last, the timer resets to 24 hours. When the timer reaches 0, a postback containing the install and the highest conversion value completed is sent to the converting ad network.

Limitations of the conversion value
The Limitations of Conversion Value

Single Post Back
There’s only one postback, so you need to decide whether to wait for richer data or go for quick insights. The minimum wait is 24 hours, and then you still wait for Apple’s random 0-24 hour timer. If you work with an MMP to manage the Conversion Value, a processing time is also likely. This will mean 48+ hours of wait.

Day of install
Apple’s random timer makes cohorting all behaviour back to the exact install day impossible. This makes it hard to cohort installs back to a day of advertising spending, which is challenging given the importance of cohorts to understand the impact of changes in mobile advertising.

Privacy threshold
The Conversion Value also comes with a privacy threshold, even though details are uncertain. Most observers expect Apple to demand a minimum level for each of the 64 conversion values before data is passed on. Apple is dedicated to protecting individual users. Yet the exact threshold has not been disclosed.



For our advertisers

Advertisers will gain the maximum level of information from the conversion value by working with MMPs that offer configurable conversion models. As an Advertiser of Spyke Media, you can choose to use the data we share with your MMP, or you let us know your requirements for an additional postback into your own systems.

Spyke integrated MMP’s:

For our Publishers

SKAdNetwork may soon be the only thing that media buyers bid on. There may not be any other identifiers left to go for. Publishers better be prepared for this reality to keep monetizing their traffic adequately.

The publisher app should implement ad networks SKAdNetwork IDs in its info.plist file. Therefore we encourage publishers to add all SKAN-IDs to be prepared to sell traffic to all companies supporting SKAdNetwork. To make use of this alternative tracking, several preparations need to be made.

Implementation with Spyke’s SKAdNetwork:

To implement with Spyke’s SKAdNetwork, please follow these steps:

Contact your Spyke Media Account Manager today.
Implement our SKAdNetwork ID 44n7hlldy6.skadnetwork in your plist-file(s).

Start your implementation with Spyke Media’s SKAdNetwork Ad Server (Staging URL). Please use version 1.0-2.1 for everything below iOS 14.5 and 2.2 for iOS 14.5 and above. In case ad server modifications are needed for your setup, please let us know.

When this has been tested successfully, you’re good to go. We’re glad to host a quick session, guiding you through our SKAd UI for offer management and reporting.

For Web-to-App installs we need to rely on probabilistic fingerprint matching whenever users opt in for Tracking (ATT). For all other users, there will be no chance to track accordingly.


to reach out to our team

For a more engaged discussion or questions: