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Exploring SKADNetwork Limitations and Workarounds for App Marketers

While Apple's SKAdNetwork (SKAN) provides a privacy-focused solution for app attribution, it comes with certain limitations that app marketers should be aware of. Understanding these limitations and exploring potential workarounds can help marketers navigate the challenges and optimize their app marketing strategies effectively. In this article, we will explore some of the limitations of SKAN and suggest workarounds to mitigate their impact.

  • Limited Data Visibility:

One of the primary limitations of SKAN is the limited visibility into user-level data. SKAN provides aggregated attribution insights rather than individual-level data, making it challenging to perform granular analysis and segmentation. To overcome this limitation, marketers can combine SKAN data with other analytics tools or leverage cohort analysis techniques to gain deeper insights into user behavior and performance.

  • Attribution Window:

SKAN operates within a predefined attribution window set by Apple, typically 24-48 hours. If a user installs an app outside the attribution window, the install may not be attributed to the specific campaign. Marketers should be mindful of this limitation when analyzing campaign performance and ensure that their campaigns have a sufficient window to capture installs. Additionally, implementing strategies to drive immediate user engagement after installation can help mitigate delayed attribution's impact.

  • Limited Cross-Channel Attribution:

SKAN primarily focuses on attribution within the Apple ecosystem, which means it may not provide comprehensive cross-channel attribution for campaigns that span multiple platforms. Marketers can leverage third-party mobile measurement partners (MMPs) that offer cross-platform attribution capabilities to work around this limitation. By combining SKAN with MMPs, marketers can gain a more holistic view of their campaign performance across different channels and platforms.

  • Delayed Attribution Data:

SKAN attribution data can have delays of up to 24-48 hours, impacting real-time optimization strategies and decision-making. To address this limitation, marketers can employ a blended approach that combines SKAN data with real-time metrics from other attribution sources. This allows for more timely optimization decisions based on up-to-date information while still benefiting from SKAN's privacy-focused attribution.

  • Limited Post-Install Event Tracking:

While SKAN allows tracking and optimizing specific post-install events through conversion value, it has a limited capacity for tracking multiple events. Marketers need to prioritize and carefully choose which post-install events to track and optimize. To overcome this limitation, marketers can assign conversion values to events that represent the most significant user actions or revenue drivers within their apps.

  • Limited Retargeting Capabilities:

SKAN has limitations when it comes to retargeting campaigns. It doesn't provide user-level data necessary for effective retargeting, as it focuses on privacy protection. Marketers can explore alternative strategies, such as leveraging contextual targeting, lookalike audiences, or integrating with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to retarget users based on first-party data.

While SKAdNetwork (SKAN) provides a privacy-conscious solution for app attribution, app marketers need to be aware of its limitations and explore workarounds to optimize their marketing strategies. By combining SKAN with other analytics tools, leveraging cross-platform attribution solutions, considering delayed attribution, prioritizing post-install events, and exploring alternative retargeting approaches, app marketers can navigate the limitations of SKAN and achieve effective campaign optimization while respecting user privacy.

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