Apple Search Ads Attribution Integration

Starting with iOS 14.3, Apple Search Ads campaigns are measured through a new self-attributing integration based on the AdServices framework. Apple plans to deprecate the iAd framework.  

  • Singular's latest SDK and S2S integrations support both the current iAd and new AdServices framework.
  • If you use the Singular SDK, update to the latest Singular iOS SDK 10.2.0+, which supports both the existing iAd and new AdServices framework.
  • If you have an S2S integration, update it using the S2S implementation guide for Apple Search Ads.

Integration Summary

Apple Search Ads is integrated with Singular via a "self-attributing" integration, where Singular relies on reported attributions on Apple's side, processing them through a last-click attribution model.

Up until iOS 14.3, Apple Search Ads reported attributions via the iAd attribution framework. Starting with iOS 14.3, Apple Seach Ads uses the new AdServices framework. Singular's Apple Search Ads attribution integration uses both frameworks:

  • For devices running iOS 14.3 and above, Singular supports the AdServices framework to attribute Apple Search Ads conversions.
  • For devices running iOS 14.2 and below, Singular uses the older iAd framework. Technically, this framework can also be used to attribute iOS 14.3 and above until Apple deprecates it (at an unknown date in the future).

Note that the two frameworks have different features:

Partner Apple Search Ads (AdServices) Apple Search Ads (iAd)
Partner Type Self-attributing Ad Network (iOS Only)  
Creatives Supported Supported
Publisher Not Supported Not Supported
View-Through Supported Supported
Re-engagement Supported Supported by request
S2S N/A N/A
Click Tag No (Self-attributing) No (Self-attributing)
Receiving All Installs Yes (Self-attributing) N/A
Receiving All Events N/A N/A

Setup Instructions

1. Integrate the Singular iOS SDK/S2S

Integrate the Singular iOS SDK (see the developer's documentation) or implement an S2S integration.

Warning: Make sure the iAd and AdServices frameworks are included! Singular's iOS SDK supports both AdServices and iAd.

Note: After this step, the "Apple Search Ads (iAd)" integration is fully configured.

2. Configure Apple Search Ads as a Partner

To enable the "Apple Search Ads (AdServices)" integration:

  1. In Singular, go to Attribution > Partner Configuration and type "Apple Search Ads" in the search box.
  2. Click to edit the partner.
  3. Click "Save". The "Apple Search Ads (AdServices)" integration is fully configured.

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Note: Apple Seach Ads (AdServices) does not support reporting post-install event postbacks. 

Reporting on Apple Search Ads Installs

Singular uses a 30-day click-to-install attribution window for Apple Search Ads, which aligns with Apple Search Ads' own attribution window. Additionally, Singular reports using the values as named in your Apple Search Ads campaigns. You can use special keywords in your Apple Search Ads campaigns to provide even more insights into how your users are acquired.

Note that "Apple Search Ads (AdServices)" and "Apple Search Ads (iAd)" support different campaign fields. For example, the AdServices integration only supports "ID" fields, not "name" fields).
Apple Search Ad reporting values are mapped to Singular reporting dimensions as follows:

Singular Value Apple Search Ads  (AdServices) Value Apple Search Ads (iAd) Value Example
Tracker Campaign Name (deprecated) Campaign Name “MyCampaign”
Tracker Campaign ID Campaign ID Campaign ID 12345678
Tracker AdGroup Name (deprecated) AdGroup Name “MyAdGroup”
Tracker AdGroup ID AdGroup ID AdGroup ID 98123747
Source Apple Search Ads Apple Search Ads “Apple Search Ads”
Keyword (deprecated) Keyword “bubbles”
Keyword ID Keyword ID  

12345678

Creative ID Creative ID (when available)  

12345678

When you run a report in Singular, Apple Search Ads will also match the SDK data with the spend data provided by Apple Search Ads API, including:

  • Spend by Campaign
  • Spend by Keyword

To start pulling marketing data from Apple Search Ads, add a data connector for Apple Search Ads in the Data Connectors page. See the Data Connectors FAQ for more information.

Downloads and Re-Downloads

Apple Search Ads supports reporting attributions for both "downloads" and "re-downloads". Both downloads and re-downloads are bucketed into the "Install" and "Re-engagement" metrics in Singular reporting, according to Singular's definition of an install and re-engagement.

Install and re-engagement attribution for Apple Search Ads is enabled automatically.

App Tracking Transparency and Reporting

Apple Search Ads (AdServices) attribution reporting includes attribution for users regardless of their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) status. 

  • For ATT opt-out users, Apple Search Ads (AdServices) claims an attribution via a "standard response" where the "click time" is not available. In these cases, Singular defaults the click time to 30 days (Apple Search Ads attribution window) before the install, for attribution. Singular records the attribution via the IDFV.
  • For ATT opt-in users, Apple Search Ads (AdServices) claims an attribution via a "detailed response", where the "click time" is available for attribution. Singular records the attribution via the IDFA.
  • All Apple Search Ads reporting dimensions are available regardless of ATT opt-in status.

Read more about Apple Search Ads AdServices' "standard" and "detailed" responses.

Possible Causes for Data Discrepancies

Discrepancies with Apple Search Ads may be due to various reasons:

  • Apple records a download when the user clicks "Download", whereas Singular records an install when the user first opens the app (which may occur on a later date).
  • For opt-out users measured via the IDFV, "re-downloads" in Apple may be counted as "Installs" in Singular. This is because the IDFV is reset on each re-install of the app, unless another app from the vendor exists on the device.

For more details on differences between the reported numbers by Apple Search Ads and Singular, see Apple's Mobile Measurement Providers page.

Are my Apple Search Ads Attributions available in SKAdNetwork Reporting?

No, Apple Search Ads is measured separately from SKAdNetwork, and therefore Apple Search Ads data is made available only in traditional non-SKAdNetwork reporting and in user-level exports.

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