Ad revenue attribution guide

At a glance: Attribute ad revenue to complete the LTV performance view.

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Ad revenue attribution

  • Ad display in the app on banners, offer walls, interstitials, etc., generate ad revenue. Integrate ad monetization network SDKs into the app to serve ads to your users and generate ad revenue.
  • Ad revenue, in-app purchases, and subscription revenue combined provide you with the complete LTV picture of the user. By matching user LTV with media spend campaign, ROI is determined and available for further analysis in the Platform. 

Ad revenue data:

  • Acquired from the ad monetization networks via server APIs or by embedded reporting SDK in the app (including iOS 14).
  • Is attributed to the media source that originally brought the user.
  • Reporting granularity depends on the monetization network integration. 
    • Aggregate granularity: break down by country and ad monetization network is available in the dashboards and by Cohort analytics.
    • User-level granularity: allows you to drill down through the advertising hierarchy to the impression level. You can further analyze user value by using ad revenue raw data reports.

User-level granularity vs. aggregate level

Ad revenue attribution supports different granularity methods. The granularity is monetization network dependant.

  • Aggregate granularity:
    • AppsFlyer gets the revenue daily broken down by geo.
    • The effective revenue per action (eRPA) is derived by dividing the revenue by the number of instances of a trigger event.
    • The trigger events are either app open or specific in-app events set in the app. 
  • User-level granularity (aka impression-level granularity) [best practice]:
    • The monetization network reports the revenue by user at the impression level. Not all monetization networks support user-level granularity. 
    • This revenue is attributed to the media source that brought the user. Meaning AppsFlyer ad revenue attribution adheres to the attribution rules found in the platform, including retargeting attribution rules. 
    • If you're using a mediation network, make sure to disable ad revenue APIs for partners that mediate via the mediation network before enabling the user-level granularity API.

Implementation

API Ad revenue attribution workflows

To implement API ad revenue attribution, follow one of the granularity method workflows in the following table. 

Ad revenue attribution workflows
Step Aggregate granularity  User-level (impression-level) granularity 
1 Not Applicable
2

In the app implement:

  • Ad monetization networks' SDK.
  • AppsFlyer in-app events.

In the app implement:

  • Ad monetization network's SDK in the app
3 Connect to the add monetization network partner in AppsFlyer

Connect to a user-level ad monetization network:

4 Generate and attribute ad revenue Generate and attribute ad revenue

Aggregate granularity using app open or in-app events

Aggregate granularity implementation:

  • The integrated network reports the total revenue per day broken down by geo. 
  • AppsFlyer derives the effective revenue per action (eRPA) by dividing the ad revenue with the number of instances of a trigger event.
  • Each time a trigger event occurs, AppsFlyer creates a _monetized event, that includes the eRPA. For example, ad_matched_monetized.
  • Using eRPA revenue is attributed to media sources.
  • You can use one of the following event types: 
    • Unique monetization in-app event requires modifications to the app. 
    • af_app_opened event which is available by default,
  • Don't report ad revenue in in-app events. Doing so causes ad revenue to be duplicated in the Dashboard because AppsFlyer gets the revenue data from the monetization network by integration. 
Aggregate ad revenue using events
Event method How implemented Considerations

Unique monetization in-app event 

  • An in-app event is set at the time of ad display 
  • This provides a distinct count of user actions which enables superior eRPA calculations 
  • This can be further refined by having a different in-app event for each monetization network doing so enables you to break the revenue down by monetization network
    See the table that follows for a full discussion. 
  • Requires the developer to modify the app
  • Revenue can be broken down by monetization network in the Dashboard

af_app_opened event

  • The af_app_opened event is sent by the Appsflyer SDK by default
  • It is triggered by each user session 
  • No app modification required
  • Quick to implement 
  • eRPA values are significantly distorted unless you show only one app per session
  • No breakdown of revenue by monetization network
  • The event pertains to all users who launch the app and you have no indication of the user's willingness to watch ads
Comparison of in-app event methods
Method Pros Cons Considerations
Use the same event for all networks. For example, ad_watched. This automatically generates the ad_watched_monetized event containing the monetization details Simplest to implement No quality information, like the number of clicks and ad revenue per network
  • Best suited if the main goal is to find source/campaigns that get users with the greatest tendency to click on ads. 
  • It is not suited to comparing the performance of monetization networks.

(best practice) Each network is allocated a unique event for ad watching. Example: ad_watch_admob,

 ad_watch_vungle.

Full visibility and ability to compare the monetizing networks in the dashboard in addition to the raw data. Ad revenue isn't accumulated under a single event. The number of events is equivalent to the number of networks Enables comparison of monetizing networks in the dashboard. Ad revenue is separated by network using an in-app event per network. 

User-level granularity with Ad revenue API

Export_Ad_Revenue.png

User-level (impression-level) granularity implementation:

This method is the best practice. It provides the greatest level of granularity and ad revenue is attributed without the need to modify the app. Ad revenue is accurately attributed to the UA source. 

User-level ad revenue data: attribution is available in raw data reports. We don't send postbacks of user-level data to integrated partners.

Revenue from app users for which there is no attribution record in AppsFlyer is attributed as organic. This can occur, for example, after deleting user-level data from Facebook. 

 Caution

If you're enabling the user-level ad revenue API of a mediation network you must disable the ad revenue APIs of the monetization networks that it mediates.

User-level granularity (best practice)
Method How implemented Considerations

User-level data using Ad revenue API

  • Configure the integrated partner parameters in the Dashboard. Note: There is no need to implement in-app events. 
  • Data displays in the dashboard with the af_ad_revenue event
N/A

 

Migrating from aggregate granularity to user-level granularity implementation notes

  • Migrating does not impact historical ad revenue data. This data remains unchanged.
  • Ad revenue data is pulled once a day at 1400 UTC using the granularity options selected at that time.
  • User-level granularity does not require you to define in-app events (like you do for aggregate-level reporting). You can continue sending these events, but they don't impact the user-level granularity reporting in AppsFlyer. 

Connecting to ad revenue integrated partners 

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Before you begin:

  • Request that the ad revenue integrated partner provide you API credentials.

To enable ad revenue integration with the ad revenue network:

  1. In AppsFlyer, go to Configuration > Integrated Partners.
    The Integrated Partner window opens. 
  2. Select a partner. Tip: Select Active and Ad revenue to display your existing partners having Ad revenue capabilities.
    The integrated partner's configuration window opens.
  3. Go to the Ad Revenue tab and enable Get Ad Revenue Data.
    The API credentials fields are displayed. 
  4. Some partners offer attributed revenue (revenue based on the user acquisition source) with both user-level and aggregate-level granularity integrations. Select one.
    • If you selected Aggregate-level, complete the app in-app event that represents the ad monetization trigger. This event is usually sent for each ad impression. For example, ad watched or video watched. 
  5. Some partners offer aggregate data for monetization revenue (revenue based on the ad source, not the UA source). Select Monetization revenue API to integrate.
  6. Complete the API credentials as required by the integrated partner. 
  7. Click Save ad revenue.
  8. If the Test Connection button displays, as in the image above, click Test Connection.
    • API key verified displays, you have successfully completed the procedure. 
    • Any other message displays, see Ad revenue API status and testing and repeat the procedure.
  9. If there is no Test Connection button, you have completed the procedure.
    AppsFlyer collects the data from the partner multiple times per day. 

Ad revenue API status and testing

  • The operational status of ad revenue integration is available as follows:

    • Cost and ad revenue integration status dashboard: Centralized list of partners for whom ad revenue integration is enabled for one or more apps housed in your account. 
    • Some partners enable you to test the API connection. Where available, a Test connection button displays. mceclip0.png
    • To verify that the API connection is operational:
    • Click Test connection. 
      The message API key verified displays. If this is not the case, follow the corrective action guidance in the table that follows. 
Status Meaning Remarks/action required
API key verified  None
Invalid credentials

One or more of the credentials provided is incorrect.

Get the correct credentials from the ad revenue partner
Missing configuration details One or more of the credential fields is incomplete Retrieve the credentials in the ad revenue partner's dashboard or reach out to the partner and request the credentials. 
Ad revenue API connection status

Implementing ad revenue mediation platforms

App owners may contract with one or more ad monetization networks, either directly or via ad revenue mediation platforms Examples: IronSource, Admob, DoubleClick (DFP). 

If you implement a mediation platform's SDK in the app, this may cause duplicate reporting of revenue. To avoid duplication, use the flow chart that follows to identify the appropriate way to integrate monetizing networks and mediation platforms.

AppsFlyer requires these platforms to integrate with it to perform ad monetization recording. You can check if the ad monetization platform you use is integrated with AppsFlyer. 

Ad revenue data

Ad revenue in the dashboard

Ad revenue shows the quality of users from different sources over time. As users continue launching the app and engaging with ads, their LTV increases.

Note: There may be discrepancies between the ad revenue data in different dashboards. Learn more

Ad revenue attribution is available as follows:

  • LTV based:
    • Dashboards being: Overview, events,
    • Cohort analytics
    • Master API
  • Activity based:
    • Dashboard: Activity
    • Ad revenue raw data

Overview dashboard - aggregated performance report

In the Overview dashboard:

  • Values, including revenue, are LTV. See LTV vs. activity data.
  • The Revenue column includes all revenue, including ad revenue and in-app purchases.
  • Drill-down into the advertising hierarchy (media source, campaign, ad set, geo) to view the monetized events in the report.
Events dashboard

In the Activity dashboard:

  • Values including revenue are activity date-based. See LTV vs. activity data.
  • The Average Actions per User indicates the tendency of users to engage with the ads presented in the app. 

Examples

Three users install an app on December 31, 2017. They are attributed as follows:

  • User A: Network A
  • User B: Network B
  • User C: Organic

The app is integrated with five different monetization platforms. Each platform uses a unique in-app event using the AppsFlyer SDK as follows:

  • Facebook Audience Network: fb_ad_view
  • Chartboost: chartboost_ad_view
  • Admob: admob_ad_view
  • Applovin: applovin_ad_view
  • IronSource: is_ad_view

After the install for a period of four days, the users are shown ads, as follows:

User

UA network

fb_
ad_view

chartboost_
ad_view

admob_
ad_view

applovin_
ad_view

is_ad_view

Total

A

Network A

2017-12-31

2018-01-01

$1

2018-01-02

$1

2018-01-03

$1

2018-01-04

$1

 

$4
 B

Network B

2017-12-31

2018-01-02

$1

 

2018-01-04

$1

 

  $2
 C

Organic

2017-12-31

2018-01-01

$1

     

2018-01-02

$1

$2

Looking at the data, we can now summarize the revenue collected per user, per day (and per in-app event):

User LTV

User

2018-01-01

2018-01-02

2018-01-03

2018-01-04

Total LTV

A

$1

$1

$1

$1

$4

B   $1   $1 $2
C $1 $1     $2
Total $2 $3 $1 $2 $8

Understanding the Reports:

As mentioned, ad revenue is tied to user LTV. Therefore, the time period you select in the Dashboard represents the cohort of installs for which the revenue is aggregated up until the current time and day. Let’s examine a report with two different date selections:

Aggregate Report : Dates Selected: 2017-12-31-2018-01-05

Network

LTV Revenue

Organic

$2

Network A

$4

Network B

$2

Network C

$2

In this case, the cohort is users who installed the app from 2017-12-31 until the current day, 2018-01-05. All the revenue generated by those users is tied back to the acquiring source and represented under the user’s LTV.

Ad revenue raw data

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Ad revenue raw data reports contain data provided by monetization networks having user-level integration with AppsFlyer. 

Principles of ad revenue raw data

  • Data is aggregated by the number of unique impressions per user. Unique impressions are derived from the combination of ad monetization network, ad unit, and placement. 
  • Raw data freshness is identical to that of user-level ad revenue in the Activity dashboard.
Report

Export
data page

Pull API  Data Locker
Attributed ad revenue (non-organic)
Organic ad revenue
Retargeting ad revenue 
 

Data characteristics and fields

The fields in ad revenue reports are populated:

  • by the ad revenue event itself and listed in the table that follows. These fields are divided into:
    • Specific: Fields specific to ad revenue. For example, impressions and placement. Note! The fields populated differ by monetization partner, as shown in the Fields by network table in this section.
    • Context: Fields having a similar meaning in other raw data reports. For example, event name, event value, currency. 
  • as a result of attributing the event to the media source that brought the user. Meaning these fields are copied from the conversion event that brought the user. For example, media source and campaign. These fields are not listed in the table that follows. 
Fields populated by ad revenue
api_name Field name Field type Description
event_time Event time Context The date the revenue is attributed to
event_name Event name Context Always set to af_ad_revenue
event_revenue Event Revenue Currency Context
  • Amount of revenue using event revenue currency 
  • A zero value indicates impressions without revenue
event_revenue_currency Event Currency Context Event revenue currency
 event_revenue_XXX Event Revenue XXX Context
  • In the export page: Revenue converted to the app-specific currency 
  • In Data Locker always USD
  • In Pull API according to the currency of the Pull. 
country Country

Context

Install country of the install conversion
ad_unit

 Ad unit

Specific

Type of ad

segment Segment Specific Ad placement name
monetization_network Monetization Network Specific Network sending the ad
impressions Impressions Specific Number of times that the user saw the ad
mediation_network Mediation Network Specific Mediation network reporting the event to AppsFlyer
Fields by network
Display name MoPub ironSource AppLovin MAX Appodeal Fyber
Ad unit
Segment - (1) - - -
Placement
Monetization Network - -
Impressions - -
Mediation Network -
(1) The advertiser needs to configure this in ironSource

Additional information

FAQ

How can I get the total ad revenue from each platform?

  • Ad revenue attribution is linked and displays in relation to the user acquisition source.
  • This provides the LTV view of your ROI and KPIs.
  • To view the total revenue from each monetization platform use a different in-app event for each network and use the following procedure:
    1. In the Overview dashboard, go to the aggregated performance report table.
    2. Select up to four monetized events representing the platforms you want to query. 

      selecting_monetized_events.png

    3. Download the report by, click Export CSV.

    4. Sum up the Revenue column of the requested platform's monetized event

      revenue_sum_up.png

    Note that this total ad revenue is LTV data, i.e. it's the entire revenue generated by a monetizing network for your app from users, who installed during the specified date range.

Is ad revenue available in the activity page?

Yes!

The Activity page reports on the combined revenue from in-app purchases and ad revenue. Note: Ad revenue data is sent to AppsFlyer on a daily basis, the day following the event. 

Do I need to activate the partner in the Integration tab?

  • If you engage with the partner for ad monetization (ad revenue) only: don't enable Activate Partner in the integration tab. 
  • Enable only Get Ad Revenue data in the Ad Revenue tab.

How is user-level ad revenue attributed if a user has an app version without the AppsFlyer SDK?

  • Ad revenue is attributed as organic.

Is there a discrepancy between ad revenue data in different dashboards? 

There can be discrepancies between ad revenue data in the Overview dashboard, and in the Activity or Cohort dashboards. This is because: 

  • The data in the Activity and Cohort dashboards can be updated retroactively, whereas, in the Overview dashboard, it can't. 
  • Data is sometimes displayed in the Activity and Cohort dashboards before the overview dashboard.

Traits and limitations

Ad revenue traits and limitations
Trait Remarks 
Ad network access Can't access Cohort reports
Agency access

Agencies:

  • Can't access the ad revenue configurations.
  • Can see all the dashboards and data relevant to them.
Agency transparency Not supported
Time zone

Ad revenue is processed daily. In raw data, this is with a timestamp based on 00:00:00 UTC, but aligned to the app time zone.

This means that for an event on July 2, 2021 UTC, for apps in:

  • UTC, it displays as 2021-07-02 00:00:00
  • UTC+7, it displays as 2021-07-02 07:00:00 
  • UTC-7, it displays as 2021-07-01 17:00:00, meaning it might show the day before the reported install date.
Currency 

In AppsFlyer:

  • Dashboard displays the advertiser's app-specific currency.
  • Raw data reports display the original currency and also convert it to the advertiser's app-specific currency.
Limitations

Ad revenue events are not available to:

  • In-app event postback 
  • Push API
  • Retargeting dashboard

User-level granularity limitations:

Data type Both organic and non-organic data are supported
Data freshness Ad revenue
Historical/retroactive data
  • Data is pulled and available from the day of the integration. This means historical data is not available before the date of the integration.
  • Ad revenue data in Cohort and Activity dashboards is updated retroactively; in the Overview dashboard, it is not. 
Team member access Supported

List of Ad revenue integrated partners

Partner Logo Credential parameters required Data granularity

AdColony

  • API Key
  • App ID
Aggregate level with geo

AppLovin

  • Report Key
  • App Package Name
Aggregate level with geo

AppLovin MAX

  • Report Key
  • App Package Name
 
 User-level with geo

Appodeal

  • Application key
  • API key
  • User ID
User-level with geo
Bytedance Ads - China traffic 
  • Secure key
  • App ID
  • Account ID
Aggregate level with geo
Chartboost
  • User ID
  • User Signature
  • App ID
Aggregate level with geo
Facebook Facebook_Audience_Network.png
  • Login to Facebook
Aggregate level with geo
Fyber The Fyber's logo
  • Client secret
  • API ID
  • Client ID

User-level with geo 

Google Marketing Platform -DV360/CM (DoubleClick)
  • Login to Google Marketing Platform - DV360/CM
Aggregate level with geo
Google Admob
  • AdMob app ID
Aggregate level with geo
Google Ads
  • API Authentication by OAuth
Aggregate level with geo
IronSource
  • Secret Key
  • User Name
  • App ID
  • Aggregate level with geo
  • User-level

Mintegral

mintegral.png
  • App ID
  • Secret Key
  • API Key 
Aggregate level with geo

MoPub

mopub.png
  • API Key
  • Inventory Report ID
  • APP ID

TikTok for Business

  • Secure Key
  • App ID
  • Account ID

Aggregate level with geo

 

Unity Ads

  • API Key
  • App ID
Aggregate level with geo
Voodoo Ads  voodoo.png
  •  Bundle ID
  • Access token
Aggregate level with geo

Vungle

Vungle_logo.png
  • API Key
  • App ID
Aggregate level with geo

 

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