What is SKAdNetwork (SKAN)?

In the past, advertisers used to rely on the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) to track users.

But, with the introduction of iOS 14, Apple has implemented new privacy measures that can limit the access of apps to user data. One of the solutions offered by Apple is SKAdNetwork, or SKAN for short.

It is a framework used for measuring ad campaign success. It tracks the performance of its ad campaigns while preserving user privacy.

This framework enables advertisers to track in-app events without linking to specific users. With the introduction of SKAN advertisers can track app installs without revealing the user’s identity. 

How does SKAdNetwork work?

SKAdNetwork works by using a unique advertising identifier called the SKAdNetwork ID. Apple gives each mobile app advertiser an identifier for measuring performance. To use SKAN, an advertiser needs to register with Apple to get a unique SKAdNetwork ID. They can configure their ad campaigns using their ad network or ad platform. 

It uses a private click measurement(PCM) method to attribute installations of campaigns. PCM works by using cryptographic techniques to encode shared attribution parameters.

This includes data such as the campaign ID, the ad network ID, the publisher ID, and the conversion value. It is passed to the publisher, who forwards them to the app store. The app store then matches the parameters with the corresponding app installation. 

SKAN ensures that user data is anonymous and not shared with advertisers. It also limits the amount of data advertisers can access, without compromising privacy. It only provides advertisers with the information for optimizing their ad campaigns.

What are the benefits of SKAdNetwork?

SKAN preserves and protects user privacy by anonymizing user data. It also prevents advertisers from accessing personal information.

SKAN limits the amount of tracking ensuring that users are not targeted more. This leads to efficient ad campaigns and better targeting of users by advertising

SKAN measures the effectiveness of its ad campaigns without compromising user privacy. This means that advertisers can still deliver targeted ads to their desired audience.

Without infringing on their privacy rights, advertisers target users with this goal. SKAdNetwork provides a way to monetize their apps for app developers. This can lead to better user retention and increased app revenue.

Why is SKAN important?

SKAdNetwork respects user privacy by requiring user consent before sharing data with advertisers.

Users can prompt to opt-in to ad tracking when they first open an app or when an app attempts to access their IDFA. This gives users control over their data and helps build trust for users.

They should follow privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). By using SKAdNetwork, can collect attribution data without collecting sensitive data of users. This makes it easier for app developers and advertisers to work with many partners.

By this, we can compare the performance of different ad campaigns. It measures the effectiveness of its advertising campaigns without relying on the IDFA. This allows them to optimize their campaigns and divide their ad cost according to them.

What are the challenges of SKAN, and how to overcome them? 

1. Granularity

SKAN only provides data for a specific period of time, such as a day or a week. This means that advertisers may not have access to detailed information about users. This means that users’ demographic data or engagement metrics.

To overcome this, advertisers can use other sources of data to gain insights from users. For example, they can leverage app analytics platforms like Google Analytics. They can also conduct user surveys or gather feedback from their target audience.

2. Ad campaign optimization

SKAN does not provide real-time data on ad performance, that’s difficult for advertisers. If it is real-time so they can adjust their campaigns in real-time. This can result in wasted ad spend and lost opportunities for campaign effectiveness.

To overcome this, use predictive analytics to forecast the performance of their campaigns. They can also conduct A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different ad creatives. Besides, they can use programmatic advertising platforms. This is for automating ad buying and optimizing campaigns based on performance data.

3. Limited attribution window

SKAN provides attribution data for app installs that occur within 24 hours of an ad click. This means that app installs that happen after the window has closed are not counted. This can lead to underreporting of campaign performance.

To overcome this, advertisers can use deep linking to track post-install activity. It can be such as in-app purchases or engagement metrics. They can also use retargeting campaigns to re-engage users who clicked on an ad. But they didn’t install the app within the specific attribution window period.

4. Limited inventory 

SKAN only works with a limited number of ad networks and publishers that integrates.  This means that advertisers may have limited options for reaching their target audience. They may also have fewer opportunities for optimizing their ad campaigns.

To overcome this, advertisers can work with ad networks and publishers. That has integrated SKAdNetwork and has a large user base. They can also target to reach users based on their interests, behaviors, or location.

Advertisers can overcome these challenges and optimize their ad campaigns to increase ROI.


Ques 1: Does Firebase support SKAdnetwork?

Ans. Yes, Firebase supports SKAdNetwork. Firebase can track app installs and postbacks using SKAdNetwork for iOS app campaigns. 

Ques 2: What is the difference between Skad and Skan?

Ans. SKAD, SKAN, and SKAdNetwork are all interchangeable and refer to the same concept. That means they refer to Apple’s StoreKit AdNetwork.

Ques 3: What is a skan postback?

Ans. A Skan postback is a tracking pixel or URL that reports conversion data back to the Skan platform.

Ques 4: What is a SKAN conversion value?

Ans. The conversion value is a single number that gets by an installed app to let the relevant ad network knows. It has an install attributed to it so that value can encode extra data.

Ques 5: Do Apple search ads use Skan?

Ans. Apple doesn’t use Apple Search Ads to use the SKan framework. But, they are moving to a new API called AdServices, which provides user privacy.

Orvill Samanta
Orvill Samanta

An app marketer with over 6 years of experience in the tech industry. I have developed a strong passion for apps and love to create engaging and informative content around it. When not talking about marketing, I binge-watch anime series and read comic books. My keen eye for technology has helped me captivate my audience and increase engagement with my work.