LTV vs. Activity

There are two methods for analyzing user event data. Event data relates to actions performed by users post-installation, like, in-app purchases, registrations, and level completions. In AppsFlyer event data is available grouped by the user acquisition date or the event chronological date.

  • Data grouped by user acquisition date are referred to as Lifetime Value (LTV).
  • Data grouped chronologically are referred to as activity.

It is important to understand what they mean, and where they are found. Note that Installs are neither activity data nor LTV data.

Activity data

  • Activity data are the events performed by active app users during a specified date range.
  • Activity data shows a breakdown of chronological events. It is useful for measuring the overall performance of media sources during specific date ranges.
  • For example, use activity data to see how many purchase events were performed by all app users during the month of January.
  • Use activity data to compare user behavior in the current month relative to the previous month.

LTV data

  • LTV data are the events performed during the lifetime of a user that installed the app in a specific date range.
  • Events performed by users who installed the app before the specified date range are not shown in LTV data, even if the event occurred within the specified time range.
  • For example, use LTV data to see the ROI up to the present day, of users who installed your app during the month of January.


LTV data is a tool that shows the quality of users from different media sources. Campaign optimization depends on LTV data.

Advertisers, find both methods useful but for different purposes. For this reason, both are available. 

  • What data can you use to compare media sources?
  • Which pages and reports can you compare on AppsFlyer?
  • How do you compare LTV and activity data?

The train analogy

Activity: Imagine you watch a passing train. As the train passes, you see only the actions performed by the passengers on the train as they pass by. This is activity data.

activity_data.jpg

LTV: Now imagine, that you board a train as an observer. The train is divided into railroad cars.

  • You board the car with other passengers at the departure station. This is the install.
  • During the journey, you are able to observe all the actions performed by the passengers in the car. You are able to observe the actions of all passengers in the car until a passenger deboards the train, this is an uninstall.
  • You are not able to view the actions of passengers in other railroad cars because they boarded the train before or after you. This then is LTV.

ltv_data.jpg

AppsFlyer dashboards—LTV or activity?

The dashboards enable marketers to optimize their non-organic traffic. Most of the dashboards and reports in the platform are LTV based as marketers typically measure performance on an LTV basis.

Let’s explore which data is LTV and which is Activity.

Overview dashboard

  • The Overview dashboard display is LTV.
  • Metrics available: Touchpoints, installs, conversion rate, and LTV revenue
  • Charts: Use acquisition trend, installs, lifetime loyal users, and lifetime revenue

The bottom section of the overview dashboard contains additional event data, which is also in LTV.

In the Aggregated Performance Report table the following columns are all events related to LTV data:

  • Sessions
  • Loyal users (number and rate)
  • Revenue
  • ROI
  • ARPU
  • Uninstalls (number and rate)
  • All in-app events columns

The Top Events widget is also LTV data.

Events dashboard

All of the data in this page, accessed from either the Top Events widget or from the Events link on the left bar, is LTV events data. For a more detailed explanation of the Events Page, click here.

Retargeting dashboard

The Retargeting dashboard works in conjunction with the Overview dashboard. Event data shown are LTV-based and relate to the re-attributions and re-engagements occurring during the date range.

Retention and cohort reports

Even if you select a single day of retention data, you can retrieve many days or weeks worth of sessions data relevant only for the installs from that day, which is a KPI used for user quality. Classic LTV. Click the links for a more detailed description of the Retention Report and Cohort Report.

The Cohort Report is similar to the retention report but has more than the sessions metric. The metrics, such as revenue, sessions, and in-app events are all LTV.

CohortForLTV_us-en.jpg

Activity dashboard

The events data in the Activity dashboard are based on sessions and revenue and are activity base. Meaning chronological and relevant to app users active during a specified date range.

Activity_us-en.jpg

Downloadable reports

  • Performance reports: Similar to the Aggregate Performance Report table on the Overview dashboard the performance reports are LTV.
  • Raw data reportsRaw data reports are the primary source for activity data. These reports like installs, in-app events, postbacks, and uninstalls are defined and sequenced by activity date.

Retargeting reports

Retargeting reports, including the performance and raw data reports, are similar to the regular UA reports and are LTV based.

  • Retargeting In-App Events raw data report
  • Conversion raw data

Fraud prevention reports

The rejected In-App Events report is activity-based data.

Custom dashboard widgets

In conjunction with the Overview page of the dashboard, all the events’ data on the Custom Dashboard page is LTV-based.

Pivot and master API

AppsFlyer Pivot is based on the Master API, which can supply data from 3 different data groups: LTV, Activity, and Retention. When you create a new Master API URL, or a new Pivot view, you select which event-related KPIs you want as LTV, activity or both.

Summary of data sources

The following table summarizes which types of events data are available on the different pages and reports across AppsFlyer’s dashboard.

Source LTV Activity

Overview dashboard

Y

N

Events dashboard

Y

N

Retargeting dashboard

Y

N

Retention report

Y

N

Cohort report

Y

N

Activity dashboard

N

Y

Performance reports

Y

N

Raw-data reports

N

Y

Retargeting reports

Y

Y

Fraud Prevention reports

N

Y

Push API

N

Y

Master API—campaign performance KPIs

Y

Y

Pivot table

Y

Y

Using the data sources table

If you want to compare data from different parts of the platform ensure that use reports that are either LTV or activity-based.

Comparing data sources

Comparing AppsFlyer's data with external data sources

The vast majority of data sources, including Google, Apple display activity data, are not LTV data.

Therefore, to compare external sources’ data with AppsFlyer’s, you would usually use AppsFlyer’s activity data, available in the raw data reports.

Note that Facebook offers partial LTV data, limited to 28 days following the install.

Comparing LTV and activity data on AppsFlyer's dashboard

There are two differences between LTV and activity data when looking at the same date range. The differences are:

  • A: Activity data includes events from installs that happened before the date range.
  • B: LTV data includes events that happened after the date range.

To be able to compare the two types of data correctly we need to neutralize the differences. This can be achieved by retrieving LTV data from the activity data or vice versa.

 Note

Minor differences between similar sources are still possible due to differences in report generation time.

Retrieving LTV data out of raw activity data

  1. Go to the Export data page
  2. Set the current day as the last day of the date range (difference B solved)
  3. Download the raw in-app events report
  4. Use the Install Time column to filter out installs prior to the first day of the date range (difference A solved)

 Note

While activity data remains constant over time, LTV data changes when existing users perform new in-app events. The LTV data you see today may be different tomorrow for the same date range.

Retrieving activity data out of LTV data

To compare the LTV-based overview page with an external source, which is activity-based, you must overcome the two differences.

You can only do this by:

  1. Selecting sources that started sending installs within the specified date range on AppsFlyer (difference 1 solved).
    This ensures the activity data does not include events performed within the date range that belong to installs that happened prior to the date range.
  2. Setting the current day as the last day of the date range (difference 2 solved).
    This ensures the LTV data does not include events performed after the date range that belong to installs that happened within the date range.

Conclusion

When comparing any two data sources, whether both are in AppsFlyer or just one is, make sure to compare activity data with activity data, and LTV with LTV.

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