LTV vs. Activity

Overview

There are two main methods for analyzing your users’ events data: Activity or Life Time Value (LTV).

Events data relates to any actions performed by users post-installation, such as in-app purchases, registrations, level completions etc. In AppsFlyer's the events data is either activity or Life Time Value, so it is important to understand what they mean, and where either is found.

Installs data is neither considered activity nor LTV data.

What is Activity Data?

Events performed by all active app users during a specific date range.

Activity data shows an accurate breakdown of chronological events. As such, it is useful for measuring over-all performance of media sources during specific date ranges.

For example, use activity data to see how many registration events you got from each media source you work with during the month of January.

What is LTV Data?

Events performed throughout the lifetime of users, installed during a specific date range.

 Note

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 powerful tool for showing the quality of users from different media sources, which is why good campaign optimization depends on LTV data.

Mobile advertisers find both methods important for different purposes, and so both are displayed on AppsFlyer’s dashboard and reports.

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

Read on to understand this important topic.

The Train Analogy

Imagine someone next to a railway watching a train passing by. In a single minute this person sees only the current actions performed by ALL of the passengers. This is activity data.

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Another person is inside one of the railroad cars. This person sees ALL the actions performed only by the passengers that boarded the train with her, from their arrival (install) until departure (uninstalling) from the train. This person cannot see anything performed by passengers on other railroad cars, as they were boarding either before or after her. This is lifetime value data.

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AppsFlyer’s Dashboard - LTV or Activity?

AppsFlyer's dashboard is primarily a tool designed to enable mobile marketers to optimize their non-organic traffic. Therefore, most of the event data displayed on AppsFlyer’s 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 on the Overview page is LTV data.

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

LTV_1.png

The bottom section of the overview page contains even more events data, which is all 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

LTV_2.png

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.

LTV_3.png

Re-Targeting Page

The Re-Targeting page works in conjunction with the Overview page, and so all the events data it shows is LTV-based and relates 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 great KPI for user quality. Classic LTV.  Click the links for a more detailed description of the Retention Report and Cohort Report.

LTV_4.png

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

LTV_5.png

Activity Page

All the events data in this page is based on sessions and revenues, and is all activity data, i.e. chronological and relevant to all app users who are active during the specified date range.

LTV_6.png

Export Data Page

The Export Data Page contains both LTV and activity data.

Performance Reports

Similar to the Aggregated Performance Report table on the Overview page all these performance reports are LTV.

LTV_7.png

Raw Data Reports

Raw data reports are the primary source for activity data on AppsFlyer’s dashboard. Any event-related report here (highlighted in green), i.e. In-App Events and their postbacks and Uninstalls are all chronological activity.

LTV_8.png

Re-Targeting Reports

The Re-Targeting reports are very similar to the regular UA reports, i.e the performance and raw data reports. Therefore, all the event data in these reports is LTV, except for the Re-Targeting In-App Events raw data report (in green below), which is activity data.

LTV_9.png

Fraud Prevention Reports

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

LTV_10.png

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 (highlighted in red) are LTV-based.

All the raw data events (highlighted in green) are activity-based.

Push API

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

LTV_11.png

Premium Reports

Data Locker

Data Locker files are all raw data based and so are all activity-based data.

LTV_12.png

Custom Dashboard Widgets

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

LTV_13.png

Pivot and Master API

AppsFlyer’s Pivot is based on the Master API, which by definition 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

Re-Targeting 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 – Re-Targeting 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 and Facebook, display activity data, and not LTV data.

Therefore, to compare external sources’ data with AppsFlyer’s, you MUST use AppsFlyer’s activity data, usually from the raw data reports.

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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