Working with iOS 14: FAQ for Partners

Learn about iOS 14 and how it affects your integrations with Singular.

Update [April 26, 2021]:

  • With the release of iOS 14.5, App Tracking Transparency is now required. Singular strongly recommends integrating with SKAdNetwork as soon as possible and working with advertisers on understanding their App Tracking Transparency choices.
  • By default, Singular no longer uses probabilistic attribution unless it is explicitly enabled by the advertiser using new controls. This means that if you rely on probabilistic attribution, you have to take action (see our information for partners who rely on probabilistic attribution). Reach out to if you have questions, or contact Singular Support to implement any changes to your integration. 


What's new in iOS 14?

Apple's iOS 14 has introduced two new major features:

These changes mean that device IDFAs will be available less frequently and are therefore less reliable for creating a complete picture of marketing performance. The expected result is that advertisers shift towards Apple’s SKAdNetwork alternative for measurement and marketing analytics.

Is probabilistic matching going away? What attribution methods are supported with iOS 14?

Based on our conversations with Apple and reinforced by their latest updates on requirements, Apple has taken a stance prohibiting probabilistic attribution without consent.  The table below represents Singular's understanding of attribution methods that are compliant with Apple's privacy policies.


To protect advertisers and partners, Singular has disabled probabilistic matching by default for iOS 14 and above. As a technology provider, Singular is committed to helping our advertisers and partners stay compliant with Apple policies.

What if partners or advertisers are not ready to implement SKAdNetwork?

We recognize there are still scenarios in which App Tracking Transparency allows for probabilistic attribution methods. Therefore Singular lets advertisers enable probabilistic attribution methods with select partners according to their interpretation of Apple's privacy policies and/or their short-term business decisions as they work towards being privacy compliant.

As a partner who may be impacted by Apple's policies, what should I do?

We encourage discussing the issues with your advertisers and reading about specific changes you can make to clicks and impression data sent to Singular based on the advertiser's business plans.

Alongside changes to traditional click-based and impression-based attribution, we strongly recommend partners integrate with SKAdNetwork.

How do the new policies impact Singular and Singular's advertisers?

iOS 14 represents a fundamental shift in how advertisers measure digital marketing on iOS devices. We expect to see fewer deterministic attributions and more probabilistic ones. Singular is working closely with advertisers and partners to prepare for that longer-term outcome.

 As an MMP, Singular’s responsibilities remain the same:

  • Help marketers reach their strategic goals through measurement and reporting.
  • Help them navigate through the additional challenges brought on by iOS 14.
  • Continue to fight fraud as new marketing tools and solutions are introduced (such as SKAdNetwork).

 With the rollout of iOS 14, Singular is working with advertisers to:

  • Update their apps' SDK and S2S integrations to be iOS 14 compliant.
  • Adjust marketing strategies and help understand how advertisers' marketing channels may be impacted.
  • Work with partners to prepare for iOS 14 by updating existing integrations as needed and push partners to adopt a SKAdNetwork integration with Singular.
I send clicks and impressions to Singular. What do I have to prepare for?

As an ad network or DSP, you are probably already working with your publishers and exchanges to understand how to adhere to the App Tracking Transparency guidelines and to maximize the availability of IDFAs in Singular tracking links.  

If you're sending Singular clicks and impressions for a mutual advertiser, note that IDFA and probabilistic attributions are updated as follows for all iOS 14+ users (unless you discuss and prepare to handle measurement differently in the short term based on advertisers' business decisions).

  • Singular continues to attribute using IDFA matching between an ad click/view and an install if App Tracking Transparency consent is given in both the publisher and advertiser app. This scenario applies to partners that support mobile-app inventory, also known as app-to-app campaigns.

  • By default, Singular no longer uses probabilistic matching unless explicitly allowed by the advertiser using new controls. This means that if you rely on probabilistic attribution, you have to take action (read on for more information). Reach out to if you have questions, or contact Singular Support to implement any changes to your integration. 
I am an integrated partner relying on probabilistic attribution today. What do I have to prepare for?

Apple's app tracking transparency and user privacy and data use guidelines clearly restrict probabilistic attribution for app-to-app marketing without ATT consent.

Therefore, starting with the release of iOS 14.5, probabilistic attribution is disabled by default for iOS 14+.

However, there are scenarios where probabilistic matching is still allowed by ATT, and/or the only option of measurement for example when SKAdNetwork is not available. Singular offers new controls to allow advertisers to enable probabilistic attribution for select partners. We recommend using these controls with privacy in mind to protect end-users as well as the advertisers themselves and mutual partners.

If you are a partner who needs help transitioning mutual customers:

Append the relevant source media type parameter to all clicks and impressions for an advertiser's campaigns. This parameter allows Singular to identify the media type of the ad and utilize supported attribution methods for that media type. The following table summarizes the available source media types for partners.

Be sure to discuss the usage of these options with your advertiser to make sure it is compliant with the advertiser's privacy policies, their business goals, and Apple's App Tracking Transparency guidelines.

Partner Links - Source Media Type
_smtype=1 Indicates the partner link is attributing "paid, mobile web-to-app" media. This option will allow the partner link to probabilistically attribute, but only if the installed user opted into ATT consent.
_smtype=2 This is the default if _smtype= is not present in the partner link. Indicates the partner link is attributing "paid, mobile app-to-app" media. Probabilistic attribution is never used for this source media type.
_smtype=3 Indicates the partner link is attributing "owned, mobile web-to-app" media. This option will allow the partner link to probabilistically attribute regardless of the installed user's ATT consent.

Warning: This option should only be used after understanding and discussing with advertisers that this scenario is compliant with Apple's ATT guidelines
_smtype=4 Indicates the partner link is attributing "owned, mobile app-to-app" media (cross-promotion). Probabilistic attribution is never used for this source media type.
I receive postback data from Singular. What do I have to prepare for?

Ad Network and DSP Partners

Partners who have been receiving automatic postbacks on deterministic and probabilistic attributions today will continue to receive them. However, following the release of iOS 14.5, these attributions are only available for ATT-complaint scenarios.

Data and Analytics Partners

Partners who receive postbacks from Singular will continue to receive IDFAs and IDFVs when end-users consent to share their data, in compliance with Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy.  

Singular will continue to send marketing insights from deterministic and probabilistic attributions for ATT-compliant scenarios.  

What is SKAdNetwork?

SKAdNetwork is Apple's framework for privacy-preserving mobile attribution. It aims to help measure conversion rates of app install campaigns without compromising users’ identities.

SKAdNetwork was originally introduced with iOS 11.3, but it was updated significantly for the release of iOS 14. The new restrictions on using device-level identifiers means that more people are expected to turn to SKAdNetwork for marketing measurement. For more information, see Introduction to Singular's SKAdNetwork Solution.

How does Singular report attributions from SKAdNetwork?

Singular offers two new reports specifically for SKAdNetwork activity. For more information, see the SKAdNetwork Raw Data and Reports FAQ.

Why should ad network partners integrate with SKAdnetwork?

With the introduction of App Tracking Transparency, traditional attribution measurement (based on user-level device identifiers) captures less of an advertiser's total marketing efforts. Advertisers need to shift to SKAdNetwork for measurement and marketing analytics.

By itself, SKAdNetwork decentralizes key performance data between advertisers, publishers, ad networks, and mobile measurement providers, making it more difficult for advertisers to access the performance data needed to make marketing decisions.

Singular's SKAdNetwork solution helps advertisers continue to get the data they need through an exchange of information between the device, the ad network partner, and Singular as the MMP.

As an ad network partner, how do I integrate SKAdNetwork with Singular?
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