During its WWDC24 event Apple rolled out AdAttributionKit, a new privacy-preserving ad measurement framework largely built on top of SKAdNetwork (SKAN).

Marketers were expecting SKAN 5, which Apple promised at the previous WWDC event in 2023. However, one year later, Apple announced a new attribution framework called AdAttributionKit as a new, better successor of SKAN — that now comes with much-awaited re-engagement support.

This FAQ article offers a quick overview of the new framework, explains the interoperability of AdAttributionKit vs. SKAdNetwork, and helps app marketers quickly get up to speed on all the changes.

What is AdAttributionKit? 

Apple summarizes it as a “new ad attribution framework built on top of SKAdNetwork fundamentals”. In addition to taking over from SKAN, it also adds a few new features and changes, described below.

What’s new since SKAN?

App AdAttributionKit covers all existing SKAN functionality, but now adds additional capabilities for tracking re-engagement and alternative app stores.

SKAN 4.0 functionality remains unchanged in AdAttributionKit:

  • Source identifiers: still 4 digits, same crowd anonymity constraints
  • Postback windows: still 3 of them – but now they can also apply to re-engagements (not just installs)
  • Conversion values: still fine-grained and coarse, again with the existing crowd anonymity constraints

AdAttributionKit vs SKAN | Dataseat

Are the two frameworks interoperable?

According to Apple’s documentation, AdAttributionKit is interoperable with SKAN 4.0, but publishers, advertisers, exchanges, and ad networks will need to update to AdAttributionKit to benefit from the new features.

Can we use AdAttributionKit and SKAN at the same time?

Yes. Marketing campaigns can be tracked by both SKAdNetwork and AdAttributionKit in much the same way that we currently use different versions of SKAN concurrently.

How are re-engagement conversions tracked?

Advertisers can now track conversions for up to 35 days when a user returns to the app via a re-engagement click, as long as a Universal Link is used to open the app. Advertised apps are free to re-use their existing Conversion Value setup from SKAN – or they can set different conversions for re-engagements if preferred.

What creative types (or ad types) does AdAttributionKit support?

AddAttributionKit adds support for ads driving users to third-party marketplaces, as well as ads driving users to the App Store via view-through (including banners and video), SKOverlay, and StoreKit Product View.

AdAttributionKit - supported creative types | Dataseat

What is Web AdAttributionKit?

At the time of writing (June 2024), AdAttributionKit documentation does not mention the ability to track websites. However, some technical documentation has surfaced which mentions a proposed “Web AdAttributionKit,” formerly known as Private Click Measurement (or PCM).

We will need to wait to hear more from Apple on this to find out if/when marketers can use the new framework for privacy-compliant web attribution.

Should we update to AdAttributionKit?

Yes — it makes a lot of sense for both advertisers and publishers alike to update to the most recent version of the measurement framework. If you are on SKAdNetwork, AdAttributionKit offers extended functionality on top of SKAN 4, including valuable re-engagement tracking and allows differentiating between a few different creative types.  

SKAN 3 or lower offers very limited functionality, therefore making an update to AdAttributionKit even more necessary.

Will Apple end fingerprinting now that it releases AdAttributionKit?

Despite significant delays, there are strong indicators that Apple is not dropping its intention to end fingerprinting. Although not technically enforcing yet, in its documentation Apple prohibits using any device data for the purpose of identifying the device in question.

During the deep-dive session for AdAttributionKit, Apple acknowledged that its attribution framework is not perfect yet, mentioning that measuring ROAS is still a problem for marketers. However, AdAttributionKit will be further updated and will likely become more widely adopted, making a full transition to Apple’s privacy-first measurement framework easier. 

Closing thoughts

Apple seems determined to continue developing its privacy-preserving attribution system. AdAttributionKit offers an improvement from SKAN4, and we look forward to seeing app marketers (and publishers) get on board with AdAttributionKit and take advantage of its new features to drive better results sooner.

We hope this FAQ was helpful — as more information and questions emerge around App AdAttributionKit, we’ll keep providing resources to help app marketers and developers make the most of this new evolution of attribution and privacy on iOS. 

As always, our team of mobile privacy experts are here to help app marketers with UA campaigns, retargeting, and optimization — don’t hesitate to reach out.