Apple’s SKAdNetwork Has Major Bugs

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October 27, 2020
Apple's SKAdNetwork Has Major Bugs
What the FLoC?
Apple's SKAdNetwork Has Major Bugs
Image sourced from Apple
It turns out that Apple may have been a little dishonest with their reasoning behind delaying IDFA changes until 2021. They originally said it was because developers weren't ready for the changes, but now Apple is admitting that SKAdNetwork has major flaws.

John Koetsier over at Forbes says he's been hearing for weeks that major mobile ad networks have been processing hundreds of thousands of SKAdNetwork postbacks that don’t appear to have all required information.

There are two crucial elements missing from the IDFA alternative. One is the "source-app-id," which helps marketers optimize ads by knowing which ads performed well. The other bug is that the conversion-value parameters are missing. These help marketers know what people are actually doing in their apps.
Why This Matters
While Apple initially blamed delaying privacy changes in iOS 14 on the ad tech ecosystem not being ready, it turns out that the privacy-forward alternative, SKAdNetwork actually was not quite ready for primetime. And we thought Apple was growing a soft spot for devs. Nope. Not. Hold your breath.

Meanwhile, Facebook will continue to be big mad, decrying Apple's attack on personalized advertising. But trust, Apple will fix the bugs come 2021. And change will come. Are you ready?
What the FLoC?
Google says they've been experimenting with how Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox Proposal, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), will work in the real world. FloC is a privacy-focused method for creating segments of users based on browsing behaviors without cookies.

The results of the experiments were published to GitHub and early signs prove that the methodology could work, but not everybody is buying it.

As we've discussed many times before, smaller companies and some pubs attending W3C meetings, where the future of advertising as shaped by Google's Privacy Sandbox are being sorted out, feel that the Chrome team has the dominant voice in these proceedings. If Google controls whatever alternative to third-party cookies the W3C group decides, they'll continue to maintain a larger share of the advertising market.

So far, FLoC has not passed the minimum bar for incubation within W3C, according to Digiday.
Why This Matters
Sure, the data looks good. But some questions remain. AdExchanger's Big Story on Thursday questioned how the results would fare compared to targeting with third-party cookies?

Also, despite Google calling on others to test their algorithm on their own datasets, many critics believe that the big G isn't really looking out for the ad tech ecosystem at large. If there's ever a time for pubs voice to be heard, the time is now.
Sweet Tweet

How can privacy & modern advertising coexist? Good news: Advertisers care about audiences not individuals. Bad news: Privacy implies some hard tradeoffs

Worth a Listen
The Power of Marketers To Shape Media Products - With Vox Co-Founder Matthew Yglesias
Matthew joins The Divided States of Media to discuss how we can engage our differences across the political divide and find common points of agreement — which he has successfully achieved in the marketing of his book. He also describes the influence that advertisers have on the media products our nation has gone from devouring to choking on: “The advertising business fundamentally decides what kinds of media are worth creating.”
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