Best practices for iOS App campaigns

How to work within Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy requires developers to ask for permission when they use certain information from other companies’ apps and websites for advertising purposes, even if they already have user consent. These changes impact iOS App campaigns, so we’re sharing best practices with ATT in mind.

  • Review Apple’s documentation and applicable laws and regulations. If the ATT framework is right for your app, you may decide to create and display a warm-up, or explainer, screen before asking for consent with the ATT consent prompt. The explainer screen allows you to give users more context on how your app uses information for advertising purposes. Learn more about creating and displaying an explainer screen by using the Firebase SDK.
  • Integrate with SKAdNetwork, Apple’s solution for install conversion measurement. The latest version of the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK provides automatic integration with SKAdNetwork. It automatically registers your apps for SKAdNetwork attribution so that you can measure “first open” conversions. If you aren’t using Firebase, ensure you have configured SKAdNetwork install measurement either with Google Analytics for Firebase, with another measurement SDK (like an App Attribution Partner), or manually. Read below for more details about SKAdNetwork integration.
  • Adopt Google’s on-device conversion measurement to more precisely measure app installs and in-app actions from your iOS App campaigns. This feature improves conversion modeling and reporting accuracy while keeping user data private. Learn more about on-device conversion measurement.
  • If you’re an ads publisher, visit the AdMob Help Center to learn ways you can protect ad revenue as a result of Apple’s new privacy measures. Read how to better prepare your app campaigns for App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update with our recommendations. Understand how you can deliver more relevant and personalized ads, and help protect your ad revenue.
  • Consolidate your iOS App campaigns for installs to run 8 or fewer campaigns. This will ensure optimal campaign performance while adhering to SKAdNetwork campaign limitations.
  • Use target cost per install (tCPI) and target cost per action (tCPA) instead of target return on ad spend (tROAS) bidding to ensure optimal performance. For more stable performance, tCPI and tCPA bidding will yield less fluctuations than tROAS bidding.
  • Closely monitor the performance of all your iOS App campaigns. If you ran iOS App campaigns for installs prior to the iOS 14 changes, you may notice fluctuations or drops in performance as a result of the changes. For App campaigns for engagement, you'll notice a significant decrease in reach. Make applicable adjustments to budgets and bidding as needed to ensure that you get the most out of your App campaigns.

Get started with SKAdNetwork

If you’re measuring SKAdNetwork installs, you'll be able to view reporting data for SKAdNetwork (SKAN) by following the instructions below:

  1. Sign into your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Campaigns in the page menu.
  3. Click the Reports icon in the campaigns navigation menu.
  4. Click Other.
  5. Click SKAN conversions.
  • Google Ads is planning to add support for SKAdNetwork Value configuration over time. In order to get started, we highly recommend the following:
    • Review how SKAdNetwork value is implemented on Apple’s documentation.
    • Understand what’s most important for you to measure with the SKAdNetwork value field in order to determine what Conversion Value schema setup might be a fit for your business goals. This includes any post-install activity you want to measure to make sure your ad performance is helping meet your goals.
      • For Google iOS app campaigns specifically, it’s important to measure the in-app actions and conversion value that you want to optimize your campaigns to. Make sure all relevant events and their conversion value are included in the SKAdNetwork value field.
      • For other ad networks, work with them to understand what’s important. Here are some examples to get you started:
        • If you optimize your ad campaigns towards new registrations, make sure to include whether or not each user registers in your SKAdNetwork value.
        • If you optimize your ad campaigns towards in-app purchases, make sure to include the number of in-app purchases each user makes in your SKAdNetwork value.
        • If you optimize your ad campaigns towards return on ad spend, make sure to include the value each user contributes in your SKAdNetwork value.
  • Either set the SKAdNetwork value yourself, or work with a measurement partner to help set the value for you. Measurement partners, such as App Attribution Partners (AAP), must ensure value-setting instructions can be shared with ad networks. Note that GA4F support will be coming in 2023.
    • Additionally, if you plan to use an AAP to set the SKAdNetwork value while using GA4F for optimization, you’ll need to provide us with a mapping between AAP and GA4F event names.

Note: There are several nuances in the way SKAdNetwork functions that impact reporting for Google App campaigns on iOS. We’re working with the industry to give Apple feedback on how to further improve SKAdNetwork so advertisers can measure their campaign results accurately on iOS 14, including features like web-to-app attribution, video traffic, multi-touch attribution, custom conversion windows, and how to account for reinstalls.

Conversion reporting for your App campaigns will include modeled conversions for all channels to reflect conversions that may not be observed due to the ATT framework. Over time, we are planning to more closely align modeled conversions and SKAdNetwork conversions where applicable.

General best practices

Note: You can review FAQs about iOS 14 changes for more information.
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