What to Track in Mobile App Attribution (POST TWO OF TWO)


matt orban

by Matt Orban
Technical Sales Engineer

In yesterday’s post I laid out some of the benefits of a robust mobile app attribution tracking regimen. Then I discussed the four types of events that are important for mobile app attribution tracking. These are:

  • 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.

Let’s dig into each of these event types:

Authentication events allow the marketer to gather user-level information that can be used for a variety of actions. Our primary goal with authentication events is to better understand the characteristics of the person that is using that specific instance of an app. These data points also help us – and other third party solutions providers – connect the actions that the customer takes in an app with actions that they perform in other digital environments. These cross-device connections build a more complete view of the customer and enable us to understand the interplay between different consumer touchpoints.

Some examples here include:

Device Advertising ID
Custom Advertiser ID
Age and Gender
Latitude and Longitude (if relevant)

Engagement events provide the marketer insight into the level of engagement of a user in the application. These provide initial signals that a person is actively using the app. These events are helpful in identifying the quality users, both before and after a conversion takes place.

That matters even more than you might think. In certain app verticals, a purchase might not happen for six to eight weeks after an install. In this case, tracking a user’s engagement lets the marketer accurately optimize a network’s performance within days instead of waiting weeks. You simply optimize to engagement events rather than conversion events.

Engagement events vary by the category in which you compete. Here are a few examples:

Tutorial Viewed?
Filled Out Shopping Profile?
Product Searches
Wish Listing
Watched a Product Video?
Rating Something in the App
Reviewing Something in the App
Rating the App
Send Content to a Friend/Recommend App
App Update Installs

Intent events are useful in identifying users who are planning on making purchases (or taking other end actions) in the application. Like engagement events, the intent events can be used to identify quality users before a KPI occurs.

Perhaps more importantly, intent events can be used to re-market to users who have performed intent events but have yet to complete a purchase event. Including these events in your measurement plan will greatly increase the effectiveness of using re-marketing ad network specialist Services. . Apsalar’s ability to send data to both re-marketing networks (via postbacks) and marketing automation tools through DataSync gives the marketer complete discretion on how to use the data for re-marketing.

Here are a couple of examples of intent events:

Add Virtual Good to cart
Begin Check Out
Input Credit Card Info?

Purchase or conversion events are obvious events to track but capturing key attributes of the purchase events is also critical. In other words, you don’t simply want to know that someone bought but rather what they bought and why. Tracking revenue at a user level allows the marketer to determine key metrics like Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for a Specific marketing campaign.

Some examples:

Total Revenue
Category(s) of Items
Quantity of Items
Name of Items
Quantity of each item
SKU or other Item Numbers
Price Paid per item
Taxes Levied
Color/size of item
Bought on Discount?
Size of Discount

As I mentioned at the outset of this document, the key to taking those important first steps in mobile app measurement and attribution is to use a methodical and strategic approach to identifying the types of data that will help drive better decision-making. As you have seen, identifying events for tracking isn’t so difficult when you begin with a construct like:

  • Authentication
  • Engagement
  • Intent
  • Purchase or Conversion

With that in place, identifying the right events for your mobile attribution should be far easier. Naturally, every business is unique, and there is no substitute for expert advice. Apsalar clients can get additional assistance on defining the right set of events to track from their implementation and account management teams. Our people are product experts who can help speed the implementation process and ensure that you gather the right data – right from the beginning.

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