To scale campaigns on iOS devices after iOS 14, marketers are forced to learn how to deal with the limitations of Apple’s SKAdNetwork and its conversion values. Here’s how we helped our client Actio set it up and enabled them to scale.
Actio is an innovative live streaming app that connects users with experts in the areas of personal development, finance, career, fitness, and more. Actio provides experts with engagement, monetization, and social features that allow them to scale their businesses and build their communities.
With iOS 14 in effect, optimizing iOS marketing and scaling campaigns became more complicated because of the limitations of Apple’s privacy-centered SKAdNetwork (SKAN) which doesn’t allow optimization of user-level data.
In order to be successful after iOS 14’s update, SKAdNetwork conversion values need to be set up strategically to gain relevant in-app insights to spend budget and scale campaigns. Conversion values are Apple’s way of allowing developers to measure specific in-app goals and optimize towards said goals – without compromising user privacy.
When working with a mobile measurement partner, this can be done in the MMP’s dashboard. Several advanced settings and models are available, but to start, we recommended using the conversion events option to track in the app.
Setting up 6 events may sound simple enough, but there are challenges and intricacies due to SKAN limitations, most importantly:
- Only one postback per install: Once the app is installed, Apple sends just one single postback, even if a user completes several conversion events. As soon as a higher priority event is triggered, it will overwrite the previous one. (From SKAdNetwork 3.0 onwards and users on iOS 14.6 or higher, more events can be seen. In iOS 15, devices also send a copy of the winning postback to the advertised app’s developer, if the developer opts-in.)
- The timer mechanism: A timer was introduced by Apple to make it harder to draw conclusions about individual users; the default timer is set to 24 hours. The timer resets back to 24 hours each time a higher conversion value in the app is successfully updated.
To use conversion events optimally for our client, we helped Actio by:
- Analyzing all of their regular events that could be suitable for conversion events.
- Assessing the typical time between these events.
- Selecting the events that are the most important for optimization and which users complete in less than 24 hours between events.
The conversions resulted in the following three events:
This is a fixed event by SKAdNetwork.
We then selected the signup event, defined as when users create an account for the app.
The third event is “user_first_participation” – it’s triggered when a user books a class with a coach and then attends the class. This event allows us to track how interactive users are with the app and let us see if users are interested in classes presented to them after the signup. More than 90% of users book and join a class within 24 hours of Signup, which enables Actio to track these conversions.
Actio came to us looking for help with their conversion event strategy, and we were more than happy to oblige. We helped them figure out which conversion events to track and how to set up event mapping, and as a result, their SKAdNetwork performance surged. From November onward, they hit their desired KPIs for installs, sign-ups, and first participation, and they continue to perform well.