As a mobile apps marketer, you plan to start working with a new ad network. You set up your account with the new ad network, but now you MUST take care of tracking the ad network's installs and post-install events. In the bad old days, this would have required weeks of development and testing time. Back then, you would have to integrate the network's SDK into your own app's code to be able to track its installs and in-app events.
Today, using AppsFlyer's SDK and dashboard you can set mobile traffic tracking with any of AppsFlyer's 4000+ integrated partners in mere minutes!
This guide brings the ins and outs of setting up mobile tracking of these integrated partners for your apps.
To see the full list of integrated partners, click here.
To setup the integration tab click here.
As of late May 2018 AppsFlyer's integrated partners user interface has been updated. Veteran users of AppsFlyer's dashboard can easily notice the changes in the integrated partners setup windows. So, what are the important new changes introduced?
- Much (much) faster page loading times
- Cleaner and more intuitive user interface
- Tracking link creation made a lot easier with a dedicated tab and friendly dropdown boxes replacing manual URL configuration
- UI setup for click-through and view-through lookback windows, covering either days or hours
- Cost and ad revenue data setup are grouped in a dedicated Data Enrichment tab
Integrated Partners List
Enter the Integrated Partners list by clicking the first link under Configuration on the left bar:
Here you can:
- See and select any of the visible partners on the list
- Free search any partner using the search box on the top
- Refine your searches by filtering the integrated partners type/s
Integrated Partners Types
- Most of AppsFlyer's integrated partners aim at getting quality users for mobile marketers. Integrated partners types considered as media sources are Ad networks, affiliate networks, direct publishers, programmatic advertising and China domestic ad networks
- Use their expertise to get high quality users from other ad networks. Agencies appearing on the integrated partners list are called Listed agencies
- Marketing Partners
- Similar to agencies, marketing partners excel in working with specific ad networks, and include Facebook marketing partners, Apple Search Ads marketing partners and Twitter official ads partners.
- Retargeting Networks
- Ad networks specializing in running retargeting campaigns
- 3rd Party Platforms
- Integrated platforms, which are used for BI related purposes, including Analytics or Marketing automation platforms
- TV Attribution
- Partners enabling more accurate attribution of new installs to aired TV ads
- Fraud Detection
- External 3rd party anti-fraud systems, which are external to AppsFlyer's Protect360 anti-fraud solution
You can check the box/es of integrated partners types to filter results of only these types. Press Clear All to clear all previous selections and see all types of integrated partners in the list.
Active Partners Filter
You can view only your active configurations in the Integrated Partners list by checking the Filter By Partner Status box. An active configuration is an integrated partner, which is either enabled for attribution, or that had at least a single tracking link click in the last 7 days.
Available Tabs per Partner Type
When you select and click an integrated partner box, its setup window opens on the first tab that is available for the partner. There are up to 4 available setup tabs per partner, according to the partner type:
|Partner Type||Integration Tab||Tracking Link Tab||Data Enrichment Tab||Permissions Tab||Notes|
|Media sources||Y||Y||Y||Y||Including Ad networks, affiliate networks, direct publishers, programmatic advertising, China domestic ad networks and Retargeting Networks.
For SRNs the tracking link tab is empty
|Listed Agencies||N||N||N||Y||Stand-alone agencies that don't function as ad networks|
|3rd Party||Y||N||N||N||Analytics or Marketing automation platforms|
Partner Setup Tabs
Follow the general steps below to setup tracking with the partner.
Regardless of the partner setup tab you are in, the Partner header is always present at the top of the page. It enables you to:
- Verify you're at the correct partner's setup page
- Learn about the specific partner's setup instructions
- Learn about the information capabilities the partner can deliver beyond user acquisition: view-through attribution, retargeting campaigns, cost data and ad revenue
- Return to the Integrated Partners list with your previous filtering
- Request AppsFlyer to help you connect with the partner's representatives
The Integration Tab is divided into different sections. Note that partner integrations differ in their requirements and usually contain a sub-set of all possible sections described below.
This section is used for connecting the partner with AppsFlyer. Relevant messages for the advertiser regarding the specific partner also appear here.
Some partners require connecting with AppsFlyer via a unique ID given to the advertiser by the partner. This ID may be called app ID, account ID, user ID, network ID etc.
Enable View-Through attribution
Toggle this to ON if you wish to attribute view-through installs from the partner.
For SRNs this displays the view-through lookback window slider on this tab.
For non-SRNs this slider is available on the tracking link tab (described below), even if it's not enabled. However, in this case AppsFlyer disregards any set value on the view-through slider.
If attribution/integration is enabled for the partner, AppsFlyer can send automatic postbacks to it following user installs, launches, re-engagements and rejected installs. Use this section to define the source of the users that postbacks are sent for.
Select the event source "Only events attributed to this partner" for partner attributed users only. Select "Events attributed to any partner or organic" to have your entire user base available to be reported to the partner.
In-App Events Settings
In this section you can map your AppsFlyer events with the partner via postbacks.
- Set the partner ID again here, if required
- Toggle In-App Event Postbacks to ON
- Select the Sending Option for all SDK defined events.
- Only events attributed to this partner for events coming only from users attributed to this partner
- Events attributed to any partner or organic to have your entire user base available to be reported to the partner
- Click Add Event to add an SDK Event to the list
- Fill in the following parameters:
|SDK Event Name||The name of the event, as received by AppsFlyer either from the SDK integrated in your app, or from server to server events.
Tip - don't see the event you want in the list? Make sure to activate the event on a device with a non-organic installation and recheck.
|Partner Event Identifier||The unique name or ID of each event as defined on the partner's side. There are several options here:
Text field - get the corresponding event ID from the partner.
Drop down box - select the most suitable pre-defined event for your event. Some integrations have the CUSTOM value, which enables sending your SDK event as is to the partner.
|Send Revenue||When unchecked - AppsFlyer sends all the parameters of the rich in-app event to the partner, except for the revenue parameter, which is contained in the af_revenue parameter.
When checked - AppsFlyer sends all the parameters including the revenue value (if exists in the event).
Tracking Link Tab
Note that AppsFlyer DOES NOT save your generated partner's tracking links.
For all SRNs, such as Facebook, Apple search ads, Google Ads, Snapchat etc. this tab is not functional, as they are not using external tracking links.
Tracking Link Parameters
This tab is divided into different sections:
In this section, select which parameters you want to add to the tracking link.
Adding parameters to the tracking link here enables you to later perform thorough drill-down analyses. Parameters that are already defined on the tracking link can be edited by adding them and their new values here.
- Campaign - add it to compare different campaigns running with the media source.
Tracking link parameter: c
- Adset - set ad set names to compare different ad sets within specific campaigns of the media source.
Tracking link parameter: af_adset
- Ad Name - set ad set names to compare different creatives within specific ad sets within specific campaigns of the media source.
Tracking link parameter: af_ad
- Site ID and Sub Site ID - set Site ID parameter to attribute installs to specific publishers. If many publishers exist, we advise on limiting the number of used site IDs and using the sub site ID parameter, to avoid exceeding the site ID limitations.
Tracking link parameters: af_siteid and af_sub_siteid
- Subscriber Parameters - use any of the 5 subscriber parameters to insert useful values. Note that these parameters get parsed and appear in the raw data report, which makes them very handy for performing data aggregation or filtering.
Tracking link parameters: af_sub1, af_sub2, af_sub3, af_sub4, af_sub5
You can add any other parameter to the tracking link simply by typing it in a new parameter box. You can find all AppsFlyer available URL parameters here: AppsFlyer's Tracking Link Structure and Parameters
When enabled, AppsFlyer recognizes a link as a retargeting tracking link, rather than a user acquisition link, by adding the
&is_retargeting=true to the click tracking link. Note that retargeting is currently only supported for click-through and not view-through attribution.
Tracking link parameter: is_retargeting
The following setup below is displayed when retargeting is enabled.
1. Standard Link vs. OneLink
Select standard tracking link option if:
- You don't need to deep link with the URL or
- Plan to use only URI schemes for deep linking
select Use OneLink for:
- Using a single link for both Android and iOS apps or
- Deep linking using Universal or app links
Note that selecting OneLink changes the click tracking link from app specific to a OneLink URL.
2. Deep Link URL
Use this field if the link is meant to deep link users to any specific activity within your app.
Tracking link parameter: af_dp
You can find more information about AppsFlyer's deep linking solution in this guide.
3. Re-engagement Window
Set the time period following the re-engagement, where the user's in-app events are attributed to the retargeting media source. You can set the value in days (1-90), hours (up to 23), or even lifetime.
Tracking link parameter: af_reengagement_window
This slider allows you to set the maximum time from click to install. Only installs (first launches) that take place within the lookback window may be attributed to the partner.
Tracking link parameter: af_click_lookback
More details about the click lookback window here.
Click Tracking Link
This is the tracking link that contains all the setup information you have set for it.
As AppsFlyer doesn't save partner's tracking links, copy the generated link and send it to the partner to be activated when your leads click on a corresponding ad.
View-Through Attribution Lookback Window
This slider allows you to set the maximum time from impression to install. Only installs (first launches) that take place within this lookback window, following an ad impression, are attributed to the partner, providing there was no other relevant ad click.
You can customize this value to 1-23 hours or 1-7 days.
Tracking link parameter: af_viewthrough_lookback
More details about the view-through attribution here.
Impressions Tracking Link
The impression tracking link contains similar attribution data to the click tracking link (besides the different lookback window). Send it to the partner to be activated when a corresponding ad is watched, usually for 1 second or more.
Data Enrichment Tab
The data enrichment tab allows you to enrich your attribution data with the following 2 options, if supported by the partner:
1. Pulling cost data (sometimes including clicks and impressions) from the partner as an advertiser
2. Getting ad revenue data from the partner as a publisher
Getting Cost Data
When Cost integration is supported, the following is displayed:
Set the Get Cost Data toggle to display the partner's required setup for cost data. Follow the specific instructions on the partner's cost section.
For example, in the capture below the partner requires setting up information about the user name, password, account ID and secret key to send cost data.
In some cases cost data is automatically included by the partner with every tracking link. In these cases a message is displayed as in the example below:
For the full list of partners supporting cost data go here.
This section is relevant only if you are acting as a publisher, displaying ads of the partner to your users. As such, you would certainly like to measure the engagement of your users acquired from different sources, to find the most profitable sources for you.
Set the Get Ad Revenue Data toggle to display the partner's required setup for revenue data. Follow the specific instructions on the partner's ad revenue section. For example, in the capture below the partner requires a simple login to its system.
To learn more about ad revenue (AKA Ad monetization) tracking go here.
In this tab, you can select the permissions to grant to the partner, whether the partner acts as an ad network, agency or even both. Note that even if attribution is disabled for the partner, the permissions tab is active and you can grant control to the partner.
Ad Network Permissions
Use these toggles to give the ad network permissions to handle its own configuration for your app:
- Allow to configure integration - permit the partner to setup the integration tab (except in-app event postbacks)
- Allow to configure in-app event postbacks - permit the partner to setup in-app event postbacks mapping to itself on the integration tab
- Allow access to your retention report - only to the partner's own retention data
- Allow access to your Protect360 dashboard - only to the partner's own Protect360 data, and providing the feature is enabled for the advertiser
Learn more about granting ad network permissions.
Use these toggles to give the agency permissions to handle its own configuration for your app:
- Main toggle - Set to On to reveal the agency permissions options
- Allow to configure in-app event postbacks - permit the agency to setup in-app event postbacks mapping to itself on the integration tab
- Allow access to your retention report - only to the agency's own retention data
Learn more about granting agency permissions.
Why Test Integrated Partners?
AppsFlyer's dashboard enables you to easily start tracking campaigns with thousands of partners, which have integrated with AppsFlyer's systems.
Nevertheless, we highly recommend testing any new partner you start working with, prior to increasing your campaign budgets.
Mistakes are most likely to occur during setup. Testing in advance avoids the risk of spending considerable resources, only to discover your attribution data is missing or erroneous.
Make sure to first test your app's basic SDK integration for organic and non-organic installs.
Testing Tracking Links
Regular ad networks, which make up 99.5% of all integrated ad networks, rely on AppsFlyer's tracking links for attribution purposes. The same goes for owned media tracking, which is performed by using AppsFlyer's custom tracking links.
Since correct attribution depends on the parameters on their tracking links, it is a good idea to perform tests before you start any new campaign with a regular ad networks or a custom tracking link.
After you finish creating a tracking link for a new partner or campaign:
- Send the new tracking link to your whitelisted test device (via email or QR code)
- Click on the link - make sure you are redirected to the app store
- Install the app
- Launch the app
- Check if the install appears on the dashboard under the partner's media source name
- Drill down to the campaign level (by selecting the partner in the Media source filter on the top of the overview page) to check the install appears under the correct campaign name
- If necessary, continue to drill down and check the ad set and single ad levels too
Testing Self-Reporting Networks
SRNs, including Facebook, Apple Search Ads, Google Ads, Snapchat etc., do not rely on using external tracking links for attribution purposes. Instead, SRNs receive queries from AppsFlyer, attribute themselves and return the answer.
Therefore, with SRNs it is impossible to test the integration separately from the network's system as with regular ad networks.
However, it is very important to test your integration with any new SRN you start working with.
How is this carried out?
- Perform the full SRN setup on AppsFlyer
- If necessary, consult the specific partner's setup guide, e.g., Facebook, Google Ads, Twitter, Apple Search Ads, Snapchat etc.
- Run a new low-budget campaign with the SRN partner
- When the partner's dashboard shows new installs check if they appear on AppsFlyer's dashboard under the partner's media source name
- Drill down to the campaign level (by selecting the partner in the Media Source Filter at the top of the Overview page) to check the install appears under the correct campaign name
- If necessary, continue to drill down and check the ad set and single ad levels too
If all is well you can start running new high-budget campaigns with the partner. Also, there's no need to repeat this test with new campaigns.
Advanced Testing with Raw Data
Raw data is where you may find the hidden gems of your marketing efforts. Therefore, if your AppsFlyer account includes access to raw data, it should also take a part in your partner tests:
- After performing the test mentioned above go to the Export Data page
- Make sure the tested media source is selected
- Allow up to 15 minutes from the install and then download the Raw Data Installation Report
- Check the install records from the partner exist and include parameters such as the media source, campaign name, touch time and type, device ID (IDFA or Advertising ID), agency name (called "Partner" in the report) etc.