Tracking Mobile App Installs from Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate marketers can create a lot of traffic for app owners, but they may also be difficult to work with. Why is that?

Sophisticated affiliates may use affiliate CRM platforms such as HasOffers, Cake or CellExperts. These platforms are currently not integrated partners of AppsFlyer but allow the affiliates to receive install postbacks in real time. Since there may be thousands of affiliates working on obtaining traffic for an app, it would be impossible to integrate with all of them. The solution is more complicated, as AppsFlyer must take care of the attribution as well as send postbacks to potentially thousands of non-integrated partners.

As always, the last URL that leads to the app store MUST be an AppsFlyer link. Therefore, the affiliate marketers must populate an AppsFlyer tracking link on their CRM dashboard. The link includes all parameters required for the app owner to track the installs using AppsFlyer's dashboard. Affiliates that require a postback to their CRM system must also include the postback’s URL with the tracking link.

Affiliate Marketers Tracking Link

Mr. Mark Affil is an affiliate marketer working with Hasoffers and promotes an app called com.greatapp.

Here's an example of how this tracking link might appear:

http://app.appsflyer.com/com.greatapp?pid=affiliates_postbacks&c={campaign}&af_siteid=mark_affil&clickid={transaction_id}&OPTIONAL_POSTBACK_URL

There are several points to note about this link:

  1. Media Source Name - The name of the media source (pid=) here is affiliates_postbacks.  You can choose any name for this but it is useful as it shows not only that this is affiliate-related, but also that these are affiliates receiving postbacks, as opposed to affiliates that do not.
  2. Campaign Name - The campaign name parameter (c=) is optional, but highly recommended for better analysis of the results later on. Notice that wherever it says {campaign} on the link this should be replaced by a real campaign name. The same applies for any other optional parameters such as clickid.
  3. Site ID - it is recommended to use the site ID parameter (af_siteid=) to maintain the affiliate ID on affiliate marketing campaigns. It allows for easy handling and aggregation of the affiliates data on the dashboard and reports later on.
  4. OPTIONAL_POSTBACK_URL - The tracking link could contain an optional postback URL parameter, which is activated only if there is an app launch attributed to the original tracking link. Example of such an optional added postback: http://www.yourdomain/hasoffers?user_id=hasoffers_id&clickid={transaction_id}&campaign={campaign}.
    If you want to activate the optional postback, please contact AppsFlyer’s Support.

NOTE:  Most, if not all, affiliates use owned media such as email or SMS to drive traffic. This means they have no access to their leads' device types. Therefore it is recommended to use OneLink and not an app specific tracking link.  This allows AppsFlyer to identify the device's platform and redirect to Google Play or to iTunes correctly.

Summary - The Whole Process of Affiliate Mobile App Install Tracking

  1. The app owner prepares a specific OneLink for every affiliate, stating its ID with the af_siteid parameter.
  2. Affiliate distributes the link to their leads group.
  3. Lead clicks on link, is redirected to app store, installs and launches.
  4. AppsFlyer attributes the specified media source (e.g. "affiliates_postbacks"), campaign and affiliate on the site id parameter.
  5. If needed, AppsFlyer activates the link value of OPTIONAL_POSTBACK_URL to notify the affiliate's CRM system.
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