Preload attribution using Google Play Auto Install

At a glance: Use Google Play Auto Install (PAI) for your campaigns to attribute preloaded apps on Android devices. (Note that this attribution method differs from APK preinstall attribution.)  

What is a preload campaign?

In preload campaigns, Original Device Manufacturers (OEMs) and mobile carriers ("Preload Partners"), preload apps on devices before they reach the user. This can be done by the OEM at the factory or by providers upon first device activation.

Preload campaigns allow advertisers to reach a potentially large audience without running online campaigns.

AppsFlyer supports the following preload campaign types:

  • APK preload attribution relies on a dedicated APK installed by the OEM in the factory.
  • Google Play Auto Install (PAI) is described in this article.

PAI preload attribution flow

When a new device is activated for the first time predefined apps are automatically installed in it from the cloud - according to rules set by the Preload Partner.

When the user launches a preinstalled app for the first time, the AppsFlyer SDK queries the Google Play referrer API. AppsFlyer makes the attribution decision based on the data retrieved.

Installs attributed to Preload Partners are attributed as follows:

  • Media_source = Partner ID
  • Match_type = preload_pai
  • Campaign_name = preload campaign by <preloadpartner ID>

Note that agencies can't enable preload campaigns for their clients.


Starting May 24, 2022:

  • Match_type for PAI preload campaigns is displayed as preload_pai in raw data reports.
  • AppsFlyer displays in dashboards the ad network that drove the preload and ad networks that contributed to the first app launch. Learn more about preload campaigns.


Additional rules for PAI preload attribution

Attribution is decided by the following factors:

  • Preload Measurement is on in the preload Partner's Integration tab.
  • App launch was performed within the preload attribution lookback window set in the Integration tab.
  • Preload takes precedence over other attribution methods after considering the duration of the preload lookback window.

Enabling PAI preload attribution

To enable PAI preload attribution for a specific partner:

  1. Go to the relevant partner's page in Configuration > Integrated Partners.
  2. Turn Preload attribution on.
  3. Define the required Preload lookback window. This window can be 1-180 days.
  4. Click Save Integration

Postbacks for Preload Partners

As part of their integration with AppsFlyer, Preload Partners define the content and endpoints of postbacks sent to them by AppsFlyer.

When included in a postback, macros are replaced with user-relevant data. Supported macros are listed in the following table:

  • Source: Indicates where the data originates from:
    • SDK: AppsFlyer SDK embedded in the app or server-to-server API
    • AF: After processing by AppsFlyer

Postback macros for Preload Partners

Postback marco (name) Source Description
app_name SDK App name set by the advertiser
country_code AppsFlyer Country Code using ISO 3166 (alpha-2) Example: US, CN.
install_time SDK Install timestamp
language SDK Language (locale) reported by the device and set by the device OS.
app_id SDK Unique app identifier in Appsflyer
app_version SDK App version set by the app developer in the app code
device_type SDK The commercial model name of the device. Example: SM-GM284 or iPhone7
os_version SDK Device operating system version

preload postback example

Preload Partners

The following Preload Partners are supported by AppsFlyer for Google PAI measurement:

  • Xiaomi (xiaomipai_int
  • Transsion (shalltrypai_int
  • Oppo (oppopaipreinstall_int
  • Vivo (vivootapreload_int)
  • TCL (tclpai_int
  • Motorola (motorola_int
  • MITV (mitvpai_int)
  • ZTE (ztepai_int)
  • Lenovotab (lenovotabpai4p_int)
  • PAI (kddipai_int)