Data freshness and time zone support

At a glance: Data freshness indicates the period of time between an event occurrence until the data is available in the AppsFlyer platform.  

Time zones

This article describes when platform data is updated, displayed, and available, as well as the support in app-specific time zones.

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Data freshness and supporting app-specific time zones

Data freshness

The AppsFlyer platform has several types of types of data freshness such as daily and real time. They are used to present and make data available. Each has its own data freshness rate

Example: Data freshness rates on the Events dashboard:

  • Metric KPI: real time
  • Average KPI: daily

The last update time appears in the top right-hand corner of the page for daily reports. 

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Time zones

In the platform, a day starts at 00:01 and ends at 24:00. AppsFlyer uses UTC (GMT) as the default time zone. You can change this by setting an app-specific time zone. 

Date and time-zone principles

UTC time is constant and doesn't have summer/winter times. 

Hemispheres

  • Eastern: Time zones are designated as UTC+ are those located to the east of UTC. 
  • Western: Time zones designated as UTC - are those located to the west of UTC.

App-specific time zone

You can set an app-specific time zone. This means that the data is grouped into days using local time rather than UTC.

Example: 

Beijing: If the app-specific time zone is set to Beijing (UTC +8 ) then the day starts at 16:01 UTC and ends at 16:00 UTC the following day. 

Los Angeles: If the app-specific time zone is set to Los Angeles (UTC -8) then the day starts at 08:01 UTC and ends at 08:00 UTC the following day.

Time-zone guidelines

  • Align your app-specific time zone with the time zone you set for other attribution service providers such as Google and Facebook.
  • If you have more than one app, the best practice is to set all apps to the same time zone. To view an app time zone, go to Configuration > App setting. 
  • Most reports and data extraction tools support app-specific time zones. This includes multi-app reports if all apps are set to the same app-specific time zone.

Daily processing 

Some reports are processed once a day, this is referred to as daily freshness or daily processing. These are the principles of daily processing:

  • Data belonging to a specific day, for example, Monday, is collected in a bucket. The day begins at 00:01 and ends at 24:00 using the app-specific time. 
  • Data received up to two hours after midnight is included in the day's bucket. Data received up to 02:00 on Tuesday is included in Monday's bucket.
  • At 02:00 local time, the bucket is closed, and no more data can be added to it.
  • Data received after 0200 is placed in the next available bucket, irrespective of the event date.
  • Now it is time to process the data in the Monday bucket that was closed at 0200 Tuesday local time. Data in the closed bucket undergoes daily processing.
  • Now Daily processing of the closed bucket begins two hours after midnight UTC irrespective of the app-specific time zone. For simplicities sake, we state that processing starts at midnight UTC. This means that depending on the local time zone the bucket needs to wait, until midnight UTC, before processing begins.

Eastern hemisphere and UTC time zone:

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  • Up to 11 hours can pass from the time the day ends (local time) until processing begins. For example:
    • Beijing (UTC+8): Need to wait eight hours before processing begins
    • Berlin (UTC +1): Need to wait one hour before processing begins
    • UTC: No waiting time. 
  • Depending on the report type the data is available 8-20 hours after the start of the processing For example, Beijing data is available from 16:00 local time. Berlin data is available from 09:00.

Western hemisphere:

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  • Up to 23 hours can pass from the time the day ends until processing begins. For example:
    • Los Angeles (UTC -8): Need to wait 16 hours before processing begins
    • New York (UTC -5): Need to wait 19 hours before processing begins
  • Depending on the report type the processed data is available 8-20 hours after the start of the processing begins. For example,  Los Angeles, data is available from  00:01 local time two days after the event. New York data is available from 03:01 local time two days after the event.
  • Example:
    • Events take place on Monday Los Angeles time (UTC -8), the daily processing begins at midnight UTC Tuesday. This is Los Angeles Tuesday 16:01.
    • Eight hours later, on Wednesday 00:01 Los Angeles time the data processing is complete.  In practical terms, data from Monday is available to advertisers in Los Angeles when they begin work on Wednesday morning.

Data freshness types

Data freshness rates
 Rate Availability Description 

Real-time

1-2 minutes after the occurrence of the event  

Real-time ingestion

Few minutes after submission Ingestion of data uploaded to the platform

Real-time report 

Few minutes after requesting a report

The data freshness is in real-time until the request is made

Daily

UTC zone: 8 hours after midnight UTC on the day of the event

Eastern hemisphere: 9-20 hours after midnight UTC on the day of the event

Western hemisphere: 21-32 hours after midnight UTC on the day of the event

  • Data is processed daily
  • The availability of this data differs depending on the app-specific time zone
  • Data types that don't support app-specific time zones use UTC time
  • Data availability times may vary from day-to-day

Intraday (during the day)

Every 4 hours on average Data is collected six times a day but, on average, collected every four hours. Data is processed on receipt. 

Ad revenue

Next day
  • AppsFlyer collects ad revenue at 1400 UTC for the previous day.
  • The data displays in the dashboard on the next day. (Processing begins at midnight UTC) 

Example: An ad displays on Monday. The revenue data is pulled from the ad networks on Tuesday at 1400 UTC and processing begins Tuesday midnight UTC. The data is available in the Dashboard on Wednesday from 16:00 UTC. Note: The revenue displays under Tuesday.

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Data freshness rates and time-zone support

These forms of data and/presentation have different data freshness types

Data freshness rate and support for app-specific time zone
How presented  Related data Data freshness rate Data displays using app-specific time zone
KPI Installs Real-time
KPI Sessions, clicks, impressions, loyal users
  • Attribution links: Real-time
  • SRNs: Intraday
KPI Revenue in-app events

Real-time

KPI Ad revenue

Ad revenue

KPI Ad spend (cost)
  • Attribution link: Real-time
  • API: Intraday
  • Ad Spend Ingestion: Real-time ingestion
KPI Uninstalls

AppsFlyer pings app stores every 24 hours. The event time of the uninstall represents the time AppsFlyer pinged the silent push notification and discovered the app was uninstalled. This is not the actual time of the uninstall.

x
Pull down list  In-app events pull down list

In-app event names used to filter dashboard: Daily. Note: Data freshness rate of events is in real-time

Page Overview dashboard  Real-time 
Page  Protect360 dashboard
  • Protect360 dashboard:
    • Midnight UTC processing begins and is available from 1500 UTC
    • Processing: Includes data for complete days 
    • Fraud blocking postbacks: Real-time

(1)

 

Page Activity page 
  • KPIs: Real-time
  • Averages: At midnight app-specific time zone. 

Exception: MAU data is UTC

Page Events page  Real-time

Page Retargeting page  Real-time

Page

 Retention

  • Daily: Real-time
  • Weekly: Weekly retention Monday-Sunday is calculated on Monday UTC 12:00. The difference is negligible

Daily:

Weekly: x

Page

 Cohort

Daily

(1)

Page  Custom dashboard Real-time. Exception: KPIs that are calculated otherwise

(1)

Page Audiences
  • Updates are pushed to partners every 24 hours.
  • User-base is updated daily and holds up to 90 days of device data
Page SDK information page

Daily

 x
Page Live alerts
  • Regular KPIs:
    • use app-specific time zone
    • processed at Midnight
    • and are sent at local time 07:00.
  • Protect360 alerts are updated Daily UTC time. 

Page

Export data 

  • Performance 
  • Retargeting
  • Blocked fraud
  • Targeting validation
  • Raw data 

Real-time report

  • Exception: in-app organic events can take up to eight hours.

API 

Pull API

Export data in the previous row

Default UTC, any TZ can be selected

 

Scheduled reports

 

  • Emails are sent during the morning.

  • Only available for Installs and In-app event raw data reports

Page

Pivot page 

Daily

Weekly retention KPIs: x

 API

 Master API

Daily.  Default time-zone is UTC. You can change this in the API call. 

(1)

API

 Data Locker

Updated hourly with data freshness of approx. six hours.

x

UTC

API

Postbacks

Real-time

N/A

API Push API Real-time. UTC and app-specific timezone are supported simultaneously


Both

API Server-to-server in-app events
  • Configurable. Send server-to-server events in real-time or batch mode
  • Batch mode, for events to be recorded with the original timestamps, they must be received by AppsFlyer by 02:00 UTC of the following day
  • Events received after 02:00 UTC are recorded under the time that they were sent
N/A
Notes:
(1) All apps need to use the same app-specific time zone. If not, time zone reverts to UTC.
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