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Ever been presented with a problem so convoluted that each component seems to be even more complex than the last? That’s what understanding SKAdNetwork 4.0 feels like to most people.

On October 24th, 2022 Apple presented us with a new challenge to tackle – the SKAdNetwork 4.0 update. 

Imagine having the ability to get more flexible campaign structures and dive deep into variable testing thanks to something called hierarchical source identifiers – wouldn’t that be awesome?

We all love a good update though, right? 

Buckle up, because we’re about to guide you on this exciting journey, ready to offer a different perspective on SKAdNetwork 4.0! 

Understanding SKAdNetwork 4.0 and Its Impact on Advertising

Apple’s introduction of SKAdNetwork 4.0, together with iOS 16.1, has created waves in the mobile advertising industry. This significant update, released on Oct 24, 2022, offers more flexibility for advertisers. 

Together we dive into those new updates: 

Main Differences of SKAN 4.0 vs. SKAN 3.0

Main Differences of SKAN 4.0 vs. SKAN 3.0

The Introduction of Hierarchical Source Identifiers

The main attraction is the hierarchical source identifiers feature that promises to transform campaign structure and variable testing methodology. Imagine your ad campaigns as a bustling city highway system; now you have an extra lane just for trucks (or specific types of ads).

This level of customization helps make sure that each part gets what it needs – much like assigning different lanes based on vehicle type increases efficiency on roads.

Luke Leben on SKAN 4.0

Beyond making traffic management easier, these hierarchical source identifiers are similar to getting an upgraded toolbox.

Diving into Campaign Structure Flexibility

Campaign structures can be tailored using hierarchical source identifiers according to specific requirements. It’s like having custom-fitted clothes instead of off-the-rack ones.

This not only makes campaigns feel comfortable but also ensures they look good too (i.e., perform optimally). 

Wouldn’t you prefer clothing specifically designed to fit your unique body shape? That’s precisely what expect here. A custom-fit marketing strategy thanks to SKAdNetwork 4.0.

Taking Variable Testing Up A Notch

A/B tests will get new wings with this release because SKAdNetwork now allows you to conduct variable testing at a granular level. Imagine being able to test some ingredients of your secret sauce individually. This ability can significantly enhance ad performance and overall ROI.

Diving into the Intricacies of Source Identifiers

The SKAdNetwork 4.0 update from Apple brought along some fascinating changes, one of which is tied to source identifiers.

Source identifiers now have a 4 number of digits attached. But it’s not as simple as you might think, there’s more than meets the eye here.

In essence, these digits are connected to how many installs an app has under its belt. More installs? That means more digits in your source identifier. 

The Connection with Apple’s Privacy Threshold

You’re probably wondering..why does this matter? Let us explain, these numbers aren’t just random or cosmetic, they play a critical role in maintaining user privacy.

This system operates within what is known as Apple’s privacy threshold. Basically, if your install count dips below this so-called ‘threshold’, some restrictions kick in that help maintain users’ anonymity.

An Example Scenario Explaining How This Works:

  • If an app doesn’t get enough downloads (i.e., falls below the privacy threshold), fewer post-install conversion events will be available to track.
  • In other words, less information gets shared back with advertisers about what users do after installing their apps.
  • This acts as a safeguarding measure by Apple designed to protect user data and uphold its strong commitment to respecting individual privacy rights online.

There you have it. A seemingly simple change with a lot of depth to it and crucial implications for mobile advertisers.

Unpacking Conversion Values in SKAdNetwork 4.0

If you’re familiar with the mobile advertising landscape, you know how important conversion values are for tracking user interactions. But what happens when Apple shakes things up with their release of SKAdNetwork 4.0? 

Well.. Apple introduced two types of conversion values: coarse-grained and fine-grained.

Let’s break it down a bit more:

  • Coarse-Grained Conversion: Coarse-grained values represent a novel form of conversion values, resulting in one of three distinct outcomes: “low,” “medium,” or “high.” These outcomes are determined by the user’s completed event type and the conversion value mapping defined by the advertiser.
  • Fine-Grained Conversion: Fine-grained values refer to conversion values as they exist currently—a 6-bit value permitting up to 64 possible combinations (ranging from 0 to 63). These values can be configured to gather user behavioral data for optimizing campaign performance.

Conversion Values in SKAdNetwork 4.0

The shift to include both coarse and fine-grained conversions allows advertisers to have greater visibility over their campaigns’ performance.

The SKAN 4.0 Implications for Mobile Advertisers

Incorporating these new forms of conversion value could mean a significant upgrade in campaign optimization capabilities for advertisers using SKAdNetwork 4.0. Imagine being able to tailor ad delivery based not only on broad categories but also on specific user actions within those categories.

I should note that while we get excited by any advancements allowing us better insights into our ads’ performances, always remember privacy considerations need to be taken seriously.

A Balance Between Data Detail And User Privacy

Critical here is ensuring the balance between gathering detailed insight and respecting user privacy. This is no small feat given increasing regulations worldwide.

SKAdNetwork 4.0 offers a promising path forward for mobile advertisers, enabling us to glean more from our data while still prioritizing user privacy.

PS: If SKAN 4.0 is still difficult for you and your team, you can request an Admiral SKAN 4.0 audit, right here.

Privacy Thresholds and Their Influence on Conversion Values Availability

The realm of digital advertising has been disrupted with the introduction of Apple’s SKAdNetwork 4.0, where user privacy regulations have a significant role to play. In this landscape, advertisers need to understand how these changes impact conversion value availability.

To give you some perspective, SKAdNetwork 4.0 now determines the availability of conversion values based on two key factors: download numbers and user privacy thresholds.

Let’s imagine an advertiser running a campaign for their mobile app that is downloaded by thousands daily. The more downloads it gets, the higher visibility into conversions it gains through access to more digits in source identifiers.

However, if they fail to meet Apple’s stringent privacy threshold..things start looking grim fast.

A simple way to think about it is like being at a party; if there are fewer people around (low download numbers), your actions are easily noticed and remembered (high visibility). But when the crowd swells up (high download numbers) without adhering strictly to party rules set by our host Apple (user privacy regulations), finding who did what becomes trickier. 

That’s why we see less available conversion data as we increase ad scale while falling short of meeting user privacy standards.

In conclusion, understanding these nuances not only helps marketers stay compliant but also equips them with actionable insights for optimizing campaigns effectively under new privacy-centric rules.

Exploring Multiple Postbacks in SKAdNetwork 4.0

SKAdNetwork 4.0 has opened up new opportunities for advertisers to better understand user behavior.

A standout feature is the ability to send multiple postbacks based on specific conversion windows. This offers an unprecedented level of detail about user interactions with advertisements and apps over time.

In simple terms, a ‘postback’ is like getting a receipt confirming that your ad was not just viewed but interacted with by users in some way. Now imagine having three such receipts or even more – each representing different interaction stages within specified conversion windows.

Apple’s documentation reveals that SKAdNetwork 4.0 allows for up to three postbacks depending on certain conditions met during those periods.

The Power of Three: Unpacking Multiple Postbacks

This triple postback system brings robustness into tracking conversions and measuring campaign effectiveness.

To illustrate this concept, let’s say you’ve launched an app advertising campaign aimed at encouraging downloads and subsequent purchases within the app itself (in-app purchases).

  • Your first postback could be sent when a download occurs as a result of seeing your advertisement. Validating the initial engagement stage.
  • The second might arrive when that same user makes their first purchase. Verifying transactional activity from your ad viewership.
  • A third one may come through if they make another purchase after some days or weeks. This gives insight into sustained customer loyalty stemming from the original ad impression.

This multi-tiered feedback mechanism helps marketers adjust campaigns mid-flight based on real-time data, leading to more effective and efficient advertising strategies.

Understanding LockWindow

Apple has also introduced a novel concept known as a ‘LockWindow.’ This provides app developers with the choice to suspend user activity tracking to expedite the postback delivery. This option can be applied individually to each postback within its activity window.

How can I use the LockWindow? 

LockWindow offers a crucial advantage by reducing postback waiting times. However, it limits data extraction within each measurement window due to its shorter measurement duration. 

Inactive users are not affected by the lock, potentially skewing datasets toward more active users. To maximize its benefits, consider locking conversions when the majority of users perform key events shortly after installation, especially in the first measurement window. 

Prioritize collecting comprehensive data over time. Until SKAdNetwork 4.0 gains more adoption, it’s advisable to keep SKAN 4 measurement and testing straightforward. Implementing lockWindow can be explored in a later testing phase, once fine and coarse conversion value strategies are established.

Understanding LockWindow in SKAN 4.0

The Role of User Engagement in Ad Campaigns

You can have the flashiest ads as an advertiser, but if no one interacts with them you’re just wasting money. 

This is where user engagement comes into play.

User engagement measures how much users interact with your ad campaign and it’s a powerful tool for gaining visibility. When people share, comment on, or like your content – you gain exposure to their network as well.

In terms of mobile advertising, SKAdNetwork 4.0 can potentially revolutionize the way we approach user engagement. We say potentially, as it still has not been rolled out to the major advertising platforms yet (as of September, 2023).

A New Era of User Engagement Metrics

SKAdNetwork 4.0 brings new features that make tracking these interactions easier and more accurate than ever before.

This version allows advertisers to receive multiple postbacks based on specific conversion windows. Think immediate interaction versus longer-term engagement, which gives you a fuller picture of how users are interacting with your campaigns over time.

FAQs on SKAdNetwork 4.0 Updates

  • When was SKAN 4.0 released?
    The SKAN 4.0 rolled out on October 24, 2022, alongside iOS 16.1.
  • What’s new with the SKAN 4.0 release?
    The latest SKAN 4.0 update brings hierarchical source identifiers, flexible campaign structures, and multiple postbacks to the table.
  • What is the difference between SKAN 3 and SKAN 4?
    SKAN 4.0 has upped its game by adding more granular conversion values and providing a higher level of user privacy than SKAdNetwork 3.0.
  • How many conversion postbacks will be available with SKAN 4.0?
    In SKAN 4.0, you can expect up to three different postbacks based on distinct conversion windows.


Together with Lukasz Lebensztejn, we’ve delved into the intricacies of SKAdNetwork 4.0. You can view his exclusive blog for valuable insights and strategies to navigate the mobile advertising landscape.

We’ve explored hierarchical source identifiers and their impact on campaign structures. We’ve decoded mysterious digits linked to privacy thresholds. And we’ve unlocked secrets of coarse-grained and fine-grained conversion values!

Remember that your campaigns need not be limited by one-time postback. SKAdNetwork 4.0 allows for multiple ones based on specific conversion windows.

Mastering these elements will help you better navigate the ever-evolving advertising landscape shaped by Apple’s updates.

Your next ad campaign could very well ride this wave with ease, reaching new heights in user engagement! Get in touch with us, right here.

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