Apple Search Ads Discrepancies

For each new install, AppsFlyer's SDK receives the Apple Search Ad's attribution data directly from the Apple's servers.  

Since AppsFlyer and Apple use different attribution logic, discrepancies between the two platforms are expected.

Reasons for Discrepancies

Set out below are a number of the main causes for discrepancies between the AppsFlyer and Apple Search Ads data.

  • Time delays in data arriving from Apple
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Apple's data is not in real-time and may not be sent immediately.

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AppsFlyer is a real-time attribution platform.  Therefore, data provided after a certain amount of time from the launch cannot be used for attribution.

Attribution Tip:  If you are reliant on conversion data please contact AppsFlyer support or your CSM.

 

  • Differences based on the AppsFlyer's SDK Version used
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Apple counts conversions regardless of the AppsFlyer SDK version.

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AppsFlyer requires SDK Version 4.7.11 or above.

Attribution Tip:  Using AppsFlyer SDK Version 4.7.8 or above is highly recommended.

 

  • If a user has activated Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) and the campaign on Apple Search Ads has no targeting parameters defined.
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Apple Search Ads counts the installs.

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AppsFlyer does not count these installs.

Attribution Tip: Always try to use targeted campaigns on Apple Search Ads.

 

  • AppsFlyer and Apple use different methods for counting users.
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Apple Search Ads counts users based on downloads.

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AppsFlyer counts users based on first app open.

Attribution Tip:  In general, 90% of downloads become active users, depending upon the type of app.

 

  • App Re-Installs:  User has the app, then deleted it and then installs it again having clicked on the Apple Search Ad.  AppsFlyer and Apple differ in the way these installs are considered.
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Apple Search Ads considers this a conversion (install).

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AppsFlyer de-dupes these users and does not count them.

Attribution Tip:  Enable Re-Targeting toggle on the Integrated Partners - Apple Search Ads Configuration screen - such re-install users appear in the Re-Targeting Dashboard.

 

  • Differences between the AppsFlyer and Apple Click Lookback Window.
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Click lookback window is set to 30 days and cannot be changed.

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The Click Lookback window is configurable.

Attribution Tip:  Set the Click Lookback window in the AppsFlyer dashboard to 30 days.

  

  • Differences in the visibility of Last Click Installs between AppsFlyer and Apple
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Apple is only aware of installations coming from Apple Search Ads.

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AppsFlyer has visibility of different networks and attributes according to the last click.

 

  • The time of the Install Record Date differs between AppsFlyer and Apple
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Records installs once the user has installed the app, regardless of whether the user later started (opened) the app or not.

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AppsFlyer records new installs on installation time (the very first launch of the app).

  • AppsFlyer and Apple use different time zones
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Apple uses the App Store's local time zone.

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AppsFlyer uses the UTC time zone.

Attribution Tip:  Make sure you align the app's time zone on AppsFlyer's dashboard with Apple's.  For details, click here.

  • Conversion Data
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Apple's servers may take a few seconds to respond if an install came from them, which may be later than when the attribution was made.

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AppsFlyer attributes after max 5 seconds, which is when the Conversion data API responds. If the answer from the network comes later than that the user is considered as organic.

Attribution Tip:  AppsFlyer allows to prioritize the conversion data over Apple search ads or vice versa. If your app has the "Prioritize GCD" option enabled (check out with your CSM or our support team), you probably have a high level of discrepancy. Alternately, the discrepancy drops, but the conversion data takes longer to arrive, regardless of the involved media source.

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