April 30, 2017

A Brief Guide to Mobile App Tracking

mobile app tracking

Every app developer should implement some sort of tracking to their app. In parallel, every advertiser should know how to harness the most data out of that which was made available from tracking.

Mobile tracking allows app developers to track more precisely where exactly their users came from (e.g. Google ads, Facebook ads, organic, etc). Furthermore, they can track all the in-app events they choose. By doing this, they can better understand user behavior and retention, and make segmentations for retargeting if needed.

3rd Party Mobile App Tracking Providers

There are a lot of mobile tracking solutions out there, but the best known ones are:

From our experience in the advertising industry, we learned that each 3rd party tracking provider has their own pros and cons. Some excel in UI and report simplicity but are a bit lacking in support, and some excel in the insights they provide but are super complicated to use. Therefore, any person who is looking into getting 3rd party tracking to their app should do their homework and research all the possibilities. Read reviews and ask around for recommendations (our top choices are Adjust and AppsFlyer).

Why is Mobile App Tracking Important?

Mobile tracking is especially important if you’re advertising on platforms such as Google. When you run exact and broad match keywords, combined with multiple ad variations that can show up on different pages and in 4 different positions – there are some challenges to analyzing your ads’ performance. Mobile tracking can help an advertiser attribute every event to a specific campaign and ad, and optimize in a more educated way. Additionally, it opens up the option to use advanced features such as target CPA and Universal App Campaigns.

For the app developer that wants to utilize the power of in-app tracking, you can create in-app events based on important milestones in your acquisition and/or retention funnel – for example, you can define events that would indicate valuable users.

For example, we recently consulted a new client on 3rd party tracking and, while doing so, constructed a funnel for them that would include upper, mid and lower funnel events – thus giving the developer the most possible insight into the acquisition, retention, and value of users.

Mobile App Tracking Parameters

When it comes to Google ads, there is what Google calls “ValueTrack”, which is a list of dynamic parameters most 3rd party mobile tracking providers support. As an advertiser, you can place the parameters in the final URL of Android search ads or the iOS tracking template field.

Some of the parameters are essential, such as:

  • {campaignid} which is the campaign ID (shocking, I know)
  • {creative} which is the ad ID
  • {keyword} which is the keyword that was triggered by the search that resulted in an ad click

Some parameters are very good to have and can increase your insight into each ad click, and hopefully the subsequent in-app events:

  • {matchtype} brings back “e” for exact, “b” for broad and “p” for phrase
  • {adposition} brings back a short string that shows where the ad was shown, for example: “1t1” means first page, top, first position, “2t1” means second page, top, first position

To sum up, 3rd party mobile tracking providers can help developers and advertisers gain better insights into their apps, engagement and users. Tracking is an essential tool to have in your advertising utility belt, and can greatly benefit all who master it.

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