LTV vs. Activity

  • Advertisers
  • Agencies

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 either activity or Life Time Value (LTV) so 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 registration events you get, from each media source you work with during the month of January.

 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.


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 Dashboard: LTV or Activity?

The dashboard is primarily a tool designed to enable marketers to optimize their non-organic traffic. Therefore, most of the event data displayed in the dashboard and reports is LTV-based data, with the rest being activity-based data.

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

Overview page

All the event-related data in the Overview page is LTV data.

In the top section of the page the revenue widgets, Lifetime Loyal Users, and Lifetime Revenue pie charts (highlighted in green), are LTV data.

The bottom section of the overview page contains additional event data, which is also 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 page

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 page

The Retargeting page works in conjunction with the Overview page, and the events data shown are LTV-based and relate to the re-attributions and re-engagements that 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.

Activity page

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

Export data page

The Export Data Page contains both LTV and activity data.

Performance reports

Similar to the Aggregate Performance Report table on the Overview page the performance reports are LTV.

Raw data reports

Raw data reports are the primary source for activity data. Event-related reports (highlighted in green), like in-app events, postbacks and uninstalls are all chronological activity.



Retargeting reports

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

That said, the following reports (indicated in green below) are activity-based and not LTV based:

  • Retargeting In-App Events raw data report
  • Conversion raw data
LTV_9.png

Fraud prevention reports

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

API access page (pull and push APIs)

This page offers APIs for periodic data pulling or for real-time data pushed from the system.

Pull API

The reports accessible by users of Pull API are parallel to the export data page’s reports.

All the performance reports (1) are LTV-based.

All the raw data events (2 and 3) are activity-based.

pull_api.png

Push API

The events of the Push API (4) are all raw data sent in real-time and so are all activity-based data.

push_api.png

Premium reports

Data locker

Data Locker files contain raw data and so they are 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 Page

Y

N

Events Page

Y

N

Retargeting Page

Y

N

Retention Page

Y

N

Cohort Page

Y

N

Activity Page

N

Y

Export Data – Performance reports

Y

N

Export Data – Raw Data reports

N

Y

Export Data – Retargeting reports

Y

Y

Export Data – Fraud Prevention reports

N

Y

API Access – Pull API

Y

Y

API Access – Push API

N

Y

Data Locker files

N

Y

Custom Dashboard Widgets

Y

N

Master API

Y

Y

Pivot Table

Y

Y

Using the data sources table

If you want to compare data from different parts of AppsFlyer’s solution, it is advisable to use the table at first and verify that you are not mixing apples and oranges by comparing LTV data with activity data.

When you compare the same types of data on AppsFlyer’s dashboard the outcome should be identical or very close figures.

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:

  1. Activity data includes events from installs that happened before the date range.
  2. 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 2 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 1 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.

If you need to convert from activity to LTV or vice versa consult the paragraphs above.

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