• July 15, 2022
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Apple’s Ad Performance Tracking Additions Fall Flat

Article Featured Image

At its annual worldwide developer conference in early June, Apple announced improvements to its SKAdNetwork application programming interface (API), giving ad networks and developers the ability to better measure how ads perform in apps or on the internet while still preserving user privacy.

The SKAdNetwork API now includes hierarchical source IDs that allow developers and advertisers to optimize their campaigns without increasing the risk of cross-app tracking of individuals. SKAdNetwork also features hierarchical conversion values to allow developers to receive more information about conversions for smaller campaigns, and developers can better calculate return on ad spend by offering multiple conversions at defined time windows.

But what’s the impact for advertisers? Are these continuous SKAdNetwork updates bringing enough value? Some ad industry leaders don’t think so.

Mike Woosley, chief operating officer of Lotame, a marketing data solutions provider, calls the changes “a diet of deep fake.”

Apple’s new hierarchical source IDs and hierarchical conversion values should come with “the admonition that Apple’s paternalistic oversight will eliminate cross-app tracking,” Woosley says.

“Apple is going to give developers more information, but unfortunately, no tools to do anything about it,” he adds. “Those are reserved for Apple.”

Jake Moskowitz, vice president of data strategy at Emodo and head of Emodo Institute, shares Woosley’s skepticism.

On its surface, the changes “appear to be an effort to try to enable another level of detail to performance marketers and make up for some of the limitations of the initial version of SKAdNetwork,” Moskowitz says,

But, under the covers, “SKAdNetwork is only relevant to mobile in-app performance marketing campaigns, such as app downloads, such as for mobile gaming. It does not help brand marketers measure traditional metrics, such as brand lift, offline sales lift, and in-store traffic,” he continues. “This change by Apple does nothing to make up for the significant loss of measurement capabilities for marketers that don’t fit this narrow segment.”

Still, others applaud Apple for the expansion. Matthew Sotebeer, chief strategy officer of Digital Remedy, a digital media execution company, says Apple’s hierarchical source ID is “a step in the right direction to enable greater insight and measurement that can lead to more effective campaign optimizations. As of now, many marketers are only utilizing authenticated first-party datasets to access Apple inventory. I’m optimistic that Apple will continue to improve their data availability in a privacy-compliant way. 

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues