iOS 14.5 campaign management best practices
Apples App Tracking Transparency (ATT) enforcement is just around the corner and with it comes several changes that impact how advertisers operate in this new environment. For many, the impact on user acquisition campaigns remains unknown and has led to advertisers looking for ways to mitigate any changes to campaign performance.
To help advertisers thrive in this new environment, our user acquisition experts have put together this list of best practices and recommendations to consider implementing in their Unity campaigns over the next while. Check them out below.
1. Be patient and give it time
Give new campaigns and creatives time for exploration. Algorithms that predict conversion rates work fast but generally need 1 to 3 days (or more) for them to digest and optimize campaigns and creatives effectively.
The same cold start challenges that existed for former cost per install (CPI) campaigns will also apply to target cost per install (tCPI) campaigns, and being patient for a few days will help give campaigns their best chance at success. To learn more about CPI and tCPI changes check out our App Readiness Guide in the resource center.
2. Use lower daily budget caps to manage risk
Start with a daily budget cap of $50 to mitigate the risk of overspending. CPM billing with Unity enables lower daily budget caps than had previously been available and using such lower daily caps in the beginning of new campaigns will help advertisers avoid overspending on high eCPIs before real performance can be observed.
After several days, advertisers can increase daily budget caps to allow more scale to be achieved after the initial exploration.
3. Test creatives on Android
Mitigate the risk of spending to test creatives on iOS by testing them on Android instead. User acquisition on Android is still business as usual so using it to test the effectiveness of ad creatives is a simple way to find out what works and what doesn’t before committing new creatives to campaigns in iOS. Read more about ad creative best practices.
4. Focus on app, campaign level, and creative packs-based reporting
On iOS 14.5 reporting on creative and source level will be somewhat limited. Although source level bidding is still available in iOS, it will be challenging to understand performance per source due to Apple’s privacy threshold that prevents source information to be available for all SKAd installs. By focusing on app, and campaign level or creative packs-based reporting, advertisers will give themselves the most complete view of performance with the data that is available.
5. Limit campaigns to 50 per app
Due to new limitations in the SKAdNetwork framework around the removal of country information, advertisers are required to limit their combinations of live campaigns and creative packs to 50 per app. This will help you obtain more accurate SKAdNetwork reporting by supporting the correct association of installs to campaigns and creative packs.
Clicks and starts reporting will still contain country information, however installs will not.
For better performance and reporting accuracy, we recommend targeting your most important countries and regions in their own campaigns. In addition, we do not recommend setting up separate campaigns for iOS 14.5 and above, but instead, target them together with lower OS versions.
For iOS campaigns, you can have a maximum of 50 combinations of campaigns and creative packs. These could include sets ups such as:
- 50 campaigns that have 1 creative pack each
- 5 campaigns that have 10 creative packs each
- 25 campaigns that have 2 creative packs each
- 1 campaign that has 50 creative packs
For better performance and reporting accuracy, we recommend targeting your most important countries and regions in their own campaigns. For many advertisers, the US is a major market, so it may make sense to set up a separate campaign for this market. If you target multiple countries with very different conversion rates in the same campaign, it may lead to misleading reporting insights and decreased campaign effectiveness.
You see an average conversion rate of 0.3% in the US, a player value of X and 1000 installs. For India, you see a conversion rate of 2.2%, player value Y, and 9000 installs. This gives you a total of 10000 installs. However, since the country is no longer included in the SKA postbacks, you would not necessarily understand which geography they came from if you have them both in the same campaign. Therefore, it is advisable to create separate campaigns for important geos. Doing this will ensure campaigns perform optimally in their respective geographies.
Because it is your most important market, you target CN with 4 campaigns with different allow-lists and device targeting. The campaigns also use 5 different creative packs each. Your second most important geos (e.g. UK, KR, JP, US) are grouped into 4 other campaigns that also have 5 creative packs each. You could then have 2 campaigns with 5 creative packs each targeting your Tier 3 countries and all remaining countries. In total you then have 50 combinations of campaigns and creative packs.
When adjusting your campaign setup to reflect the new changes within SKAdNetwork, we recommend adjusting existing campaigns instead of creating new ones wherever possible. This helps to retain as much historical performance data as possible.
If you have reached the maximum number of allowed combinations of campaigns and creative packs and want to add more, you need to first unassign creative packs or pause campaigns. After a cool down period of 72 hours, you can assign new creative packs or start new campaigns. To ensure you have flexibility to add new creative packs or start new campaigns without having to wait 72 hours, we recommend to keep at least 1 of the 50 available combinations unused.
6. Setting conversion value
If you are not actively using conversion values for anything, then we recommend not setting them. Conversion values can delay when your postbacks are sent to Unity, so setting them without any additional value may adversely affect your campaigns. Also, Unity does not currently optimize user acquisition based on the conversion value. For more information, see best practice 8 “Integrate a Unity SDK for value-based user acquisition”.
If you are using them to connect player value to user acquisition cost across your various campaigns and channels, then we have a few recommendations:
- Keep it simple: don’t use too many different conversion values because it may degrade the availability of source-app-id due to Apple’s privacy threshold. Try to balance between granularity of post-install value reporting and visibility.
- Limit updates: limit conversion value updates to the 48 hours after install. Typically by this time your retention curve is already flattening, and 50-70% of your paying users have made their first purchase. This should be enough to rank ad network and campaign performance, and identify the most valuable sources.
- Make it incremental: events associated with each conversion value should be ordered from lowest to highest according to some key metric. For example, if tracking player value, then an in-app purchase is usually associated with higher average value than watching a rewarded ad. So in-app purchases should be associated with higher conversion values than the rewarded ad events.
7. Video and video + playable end card
If you’re currently using playable only creative packs, our user acquisition team recommends updating them to video and video+playable end cards due to temporary iOS related reporting issues.
Call to action
For a positive and honest ad experience, we also strongly recommend using a clearly stated call to action in playables or video+playable end cards such as ‘download now’ or ‘install now’ buttons so that users understand when they will be taken to the app store and make a decision to do so themselves. Playables that don’t use clear call to action buttons and instead auto-redirect to the app store without the user expecting it can be misleading and importantly cause a higher click rate, often with lower install-rates, which can be more costly for advertisers. In addition, this could lead to a violation of Unity's Invalid Activity Policy.
Playables or playable end cards that auto-redirect the user to the app store without any user action will also not pass moderation, adding unnecessary time to the process of developing and submitting creative. It’s also important to know that so-called “tap” playables, that take the user to the app store upon a tap anywhere on the screen, are only allowed if there was at least one user-initiated tap before the tap that opens the app store. A clear call to action will help make it clear to the user that a second tap is intended to send them to the app store.
Due to reporting issues with iOS 14.5 this is a temporary recommendation until we further develop our system to better accommodate different variants of playable creatives. We will continue updating our recommendations as new solutions become available. Bookmark this article for future reference.
8. Integrate the Unity Ads SDK for value-based user acquisition
If your game monetizes on ad revenue and you would like to run value-based user acquisition campaigns, we recommend integrating the Unity Ads SDK and enabling the acquire optimization setting from the Monetization dashboard. This will enable you to create Audience Pinpointer user acquisition campaigns on the Acquire dashboard, independently of your MMP integration, and allows Unity to optimize user value better than with MMP postbacks.
Your user acquisition will be more effective if you ask your users to give their consent for tracking by showing the ATT prompt as early as possible in your app. This will enable ad networks to better understand what kind of users are most valuable to you.
9. Avoid null values for SKAd post-backs
SKAd post-backs play an important role in conversion attribution. When a user installs and launches an app after viewing an ad, the device notifies the ad network to validate the install.
Apple has said the post-back conversion may include a conversion value and the source app’s ID if Apple determines that providing the values meets their privacy threshold.
Apple’s privacy threshold helps prevent advertisers from identifying a unique user. When Apple believes there’s a risk of identifying a user, it will mark all daily post-backs from that publisher as null.
To avoid null values for SKAd post-backs, you need to ensure that you get a minimum number of installs above Apple’s privacy threshold. The Unity team recommends aiming for a minimum of 30 installs per day.
If you are seeing a lot of null values, we recommend reducing the number of campaigns and/or creatives per campaign. While you have a limit of 50 live campaigns and/or creative packs per app, using all of these may cause you to be below the minimum of 30 installs per day for the privacy threshold.
Our iOS 14 Resource Center is full of content and new features to support both advertisers and publishers during this transition. Check out App Readiness Guide, Advertisers Guide, and Publishers Guide to help prepare for a new iOS environment.