What to Track for Mobile App Attribution (Post One of Two)


matt orban

by Matt Orban
Technical Sales Engineer

Most of us understand intuitively that getting customer event data from our apps is important and can help drive improved marketing effectiveness. But some might wonder…what specifically are we going to measure? How do we turn the good idea of measuring marketing activity into something that is both clear, focused and actionable?

For some, this post may feel a little “in the weeds.” But I am a big believer in helping marketers create a solid data foundation for everything that they do. Without app attribution, many marketers have told us that they felt like they were flying blind. Once people see the value of app attribution, it’s critical to unlock its full power with an event measurement strategy that is robust, comprehensive, and clear. I hope by laying out a lot of specifics here that marketers who are considering app attribution solutions will be able to more fully grasp the importance of this unique set of data and the tools that make it possible.

As a big player in marketing attribution, Apsalar has worked with hundreds of companies to set up their marketing attribution instances. Apsalar’s very low account churn rate attests to our success at helping clients create measurement plans that meet real business needs and drive significant improvement in ROI.

Getting started defining what you will measure can feel like the hardest part of using a tool like Apsalar Attribution. But trust me, that “difficulty” is more psychological than real. My goal with this post and the one that will follow is to get rid of some of that discomfiture, so you can get up and running much faster.

When you are just getting started with a measurement and attribution platform like Apsalar Attribution, the most important things you need to decide are which consumer actions you want to track. In this industry, we call consumer actions “events”. By tracking events, we gather the data necessary to:

  • Understand the effectiveness of your marketing programs
  • Gain a genuine view into what consumers are doing in your apps.

That’s mission-critical knowledge!

Different platforms allow their customers to track different numbers of events. Some allow only a handful of trackable event types, while others allow dozens – or more.  Apsalar allows advertisers to track up to 400 unique events per app version – an extremely large number for the category and one that makes us the choice of many of the most sophisticated mcommerce companies globally. These are businesses that understand the importance of complete and granular data.

It’s actually pretty simple to identify the kinds of events you need to track. At Apsalar, we advocate for tracking as many germane events as possible in order to facilitate richer understanding of your business and its key drivers. In fact, we actually created a pricing model that encourages this — by not charging marketers based upon the number of events that they track. That is an important difference for a mcommerce brand because it ensures that you don’t have to jack up your attribution fees for more granular data.

The first step in choosing the in-app actions to track is to identify the different types of events that every marketer should be tracking. Apsalar categorizes important marketing events into four categories.

  • Authentication Events– Events that help identify the user (anonymously, of course).
  • Engagement Events– Actions that consumer takes that indicate involvement in the app and presage long-term usage.
  • Intent Events– Actions that indicate that the user is considering and preparing for a purchase.
  • Purchase Events– Actions and information that are communicated after a purchase takes place. These include characteristics of what was purchased that help us get a richer and more comprehensive understanding of each individual anonymized customer.

Tomorrow: Some examples of each type of event.


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