Meet AdAttributionKit: Are We Saying Goodbye SKAdNetwork?


WWDC 2024 brought many exciting updates within the Apple ecosystem, and for those in AdTech, AdAttributionKit was the star of the show. The successor to SKAdNetwork, AdAttributionKit is a new iOS framework designed to enhance ad attribution while prioritizing user privacy and providing developers with substantial updates and improvements. Let’s dive into it!

First of all, let’s make it clear that SKAdNetwork is still here. Apple announced that AdAttributionKit has “full interoperability with SKAdNetwork”, meaning that it is built upon SKAdNetwork’s foundation with enhancements that address limitations and expand its capabilities. 

Why the change?

There’s been a lot of talk about why Apple introduced AdAttributionKit to replace SKAdNetwork. Reasons such as the low adoption rate could be responsible for this shift. Based on the information provided by Apple and industry analyses, we could say that there won’t be any changes to SKAdNetwork, but it’s unlikely to get any better.

So, it’s safe to say that Apple wants to create a unified and efficient system by standardizing ad attribution across the App Store and alternative app markets. The move is partly driven by new regulations, like the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which mandates multiple app stores. 

Let’s Explore the Key Features of AdAttributionKit

1. Encompasses Alternative App Stores

One of the most significant changes is that AdAttributionKit is designed for multiple app stores. It has a “marketplace identifier” to show where an app was installed from, which SKAdNetwork doesn’t have.

2. Most-awaited Re-Engagement Support

Re-engagement support, a much-requested feature, is now available. The goal is to bring users back to the advertised app, meaning directing users to a a specific screen in the app via a universal link. To do this, app developers need to opt in for re-engagement using the ”eligible-for-re-engagement” property. An impression configured with this property is considered for re-engagement or install, unlike a normal ad impression, which only considers installs. 

What about postbacks for re-engagement conversions? They will have a ”conversion-type” field with the ”re-engagement ‘’ value. Keep in mind that the re-engagement framework is only compatible with click interactions, not view-through interactions. Also, developers can update re-engagement and install postbacks separately.

3. Multi-type creative support

The AdAttributionKit supports different types of ads

  • Clickable Custom Creatives: Ads specifically designed to encourage engagement and clicks.
  • View-Through Ads: These include video ads that users can watch, which offer a different engagement metric.
  • In-ad App Store Features (Recommendations): With integrations like SKOverlay and SKStoreProductViewController, ads can show app listings directly within the ad. With SKOverlay, you get a small preview of an app listing, while with SKStoreProductViewController, you get a full-screen view.

Beyond traditional static image ads, AdAttributionKit supports video ads, audio ads, and interactive ads, enhancing how advertisers can engage with users.

4. Conversion Values

Advertisers can configure up to 64 conversion values to capture various user engagements, such as account creation or making a purchase. These values help advertisers make data-driven decisions and understand how their campaigns are doing. Conversion values can be fine or coarse.

5. Interoperability between web and app

Developers and marketers can use AdAttributionKit for web and app attribution. Web AdAttributionKit (formerly Private Click Measurement), a proposed standard, allows external websites to measure when an external link results in a conversion. AdAttributionKit doesn’t send any personally identifiable information to the remote server, so it protects user privacy and lets websites measure their ad campaigns’ effectiveness. You can read more about it in this UIKit. 

AdAttributionKit vs SKAdNetwork

It was highlighted at the WWDC session that AdAttributionKit is fully interoperable with SKAdNetwork. This means everything you know about SKAN, but with a few improvements:

  • Advertised Item ID: The App ID in SKAN is now referred to as the Advertised Item ID in AdAttributionKit.
  • Coarse and Fine Conversion Values: Similar to SKAN, AdAttributionKit supports detailed conversion tracking for deeper insights.
  • Crowd Anonymity: Both frameworks use crowd anonymity to determine the level of detail in postbacks, ensuring user privacy.
  • Conversion Value Locking: AdAttributionKit continues SKAN’s practice of conversion value locking for consistency and accuracy.
  • Multiple Postbacks: AdAttributionKit retains SKAN 4’s three postbacks, providing several opportunities to track user actions.
  • Random Delays: Both frameworks introduce random delays before postbacks are sent, adding an extra layer of privacy protection.
  • Source Identifiers: AdAttributionKit retains the use of source identifiers to track the origin of app installs and user actions.

Getting used to SKAN 4.0 was challenging enough, so which framework should developers use? Well, Apple says that you can use both, even though the system will pick the most recently tapped ad for the attribution.

At the end of the day, we’re guessing that most developers prefer working with one framework. SinceAdAttributionKithas has wider functionality, it’ll be the primary choice. 

Next Steps for App Developers and Marketers

1. Update Your Attribution Strategies

Start revising your strategies to incorporate AdAttributionKit’s capabilities, configure conversion values, and utilize re-engagement data to optimize campaigns.

2. Stay Informed

Make sure you stay on top of the latest updates and best practices by checking Apple’s resources and watching WWDC sessions. 

3. Collaborate with Ad Networks and Leverage MMPs

For maximum benefit, ensure that your ad networks are getting familiar and/or integrated with AdAttributionKit. Also, leverage MMPs to streamline your attribution process,  and ensure that data from various ad sources is captured and analyzed in a unified and consistent way.

Final Thoughts

AdAttributionKit is a major advancement in ad attribution technology, addressing some limitations of the SKAdNetwork and adding new features based on changes such as the EU’s Digital Markets Act. While SKAdNetwork will remain, it’s clear that AdAttributionKit is the future of Apple’s ad attribution framework, designed to be more flexible and comprehensive. 

As the digital advertising landscape continues to evolve, embracing AdAttributionKit will enable developers and marketers to optimize their campaigns more effectively while maintaining a strong focus on user privacy.

To get into the details, you can watch Apple’s introductory ”Meet AdAttribution Kit” video and check out the Apple Developer Documentation on AdAttributionKit.



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Umay Özde

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