Facebook advertising drives a massive share of mobile app installs and re-engagement events. And each year, that role grows stronger. We see in our data that many leading app marketers invest more with Facebook than with any other media partner.
When advertisers invest extensively through Facebook, they are naturally interested in gaining the richest possible insights into all that marketing. Advertisers leverage mobile app tracking to provide insights across all their media providers, including Facebook.
This post is designed to help app developers and marketers better understand their mobile app attribution options and the differences between what Facebook Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) can deliver versus what non-MMP vendors that use deep-linking to measure activity on Facebook can provide.
FACEBOOK MOBILE MEASUREMENT PARTNERS (MMPS)
Facebook created its Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) program to help mobile app marketers identify high-quality measurement partners for tracking and optimizing their UA and re-engagement spending.
Image: Facebook for Developers website
Facebook MMPs can collect more granular data on marketing events and conversions driven by the Facebook platform. They deliver an understanding of how Facebook campaign performance relates to performance by other partners.
From the Facebook website:
Consider working with a Mobile Measurement Partner if you want to:
- Get deeper insights about your campaign performance
- Measure aggregated across several ad networks
Mobile Measurement Partners provide performance metrics like:
- Lifetime value
- Downstream conversions
- Analysis across acquisition channels
Facebook badged MMPs are vetted to ensure they meet Facebook’s highest standards for capability and performance. Only select measurement companies are part of the Facebook MMP program for the app industry. Apsalar is extremely proud to be one of those companies. Facebook monitors all Mobile Measurement Partners and takes action when partners fail to live up to the standards of the program.
SO WHAT CAN MMPS DO THAT OTHERS CANNOT?
Recently, several non-MMP companies have asserted that they can measure mobile app marketing on Facebook. These claims have created some market confusion. App marketers need to be clear what such companies can – and cannot – measure.
Instead of direct access to Facebook attribution claims, non MMP solutions use something called deep-links to measure some forms of consumer action that take place on Facebook. But there are a variety of limitations in what they can track.
With deep links, you can record ad clicks that redirect to content within an app. By offering unique urls in Facebook ads, an advertiser using one of these platforms can associate in-app actions to marketing activity on Facebook. But deep-links provide only a partial solution. Here are the key ways that deep-linking-based measurement falls short, and how MMPs offer a more comprehensive and flexible approach to measurement:
Deduplication is the key financial benefit of mobile app tracking. Because MMPs like Apsalar track activity across all campaigns and vendors, we can identify when two publishers advertise to a single user and claim the same conversion. We can then determine which provider deserves credit, via last-click attribution. This process eliminates double counting.
The key to deduplication is compiling time stamps for all marketing activity across all partners, to determine the sequence and last touch point. Non MMPs cannot access time stamps from Facebook.
For example, if a user clicks on both a Facebook ad and an ad network’s ad and then installs the app, an MMP can compare the time of each click and award credit for the install to the partner with the last touch point. Non-MMPs cannot. MMPs have access to the “time stamp” for every relevant Facebook ad view or ad click that occurred before a conversion. Non-MMPs do not.
Without an MMP, marketer will see both clicks leading to conversions, and actually pay twice for the same install/conversion.
MMP Advantage: Lower UA Costs via No Double Payment
Adjustable Attribution Windows
Deep-links have a fixed 7-day expiry. That means that after 7 days, you cannot associate an action taken on Facebook with a marketing conversion like an install. Many advertisers prefer longer attribution windows for app marketing measurement. Only MMPs can offer longer attribution windows .
MMP Advantage: Flexibility and Appropriate Credit for Marketing Accountability
Powering Facebook Optimization Technologies
Facebook offers a variety of optimization products to help advertisers improve campaign results. But to leverage these technologies, advertisers must share downstream behaviors and events with Facebook. Deep-linking alone has no mechanism through which to share such events. No data sharing means no optimization. Marketers using deep-link tracking would have to double-track each conversion in their app with the Facebook SDK to optimize campaigns.
MMP Advantage: Lower mobile app UA and re-engagement costs via optimization, smaller SDK footprint in app
Capitalize on “View-Through” Attribution on Facebook
Savvy app marketers have begun to leverage “view-through” attribution, which enables a marketer to measure the impact of a user viewing ads even when they have not clicked on an ad in the previous four weeks. View-through measurement is standard practice in most digital advertising. But deep-links cannot track view-through because the links are only activated on a click.
MMP Advantage: Marketer flexibility and accountability measurement
Reflect Cross-Device Measurement
Major advertisers are passionate about user-based measurement versus platform-based measurement. User-based measurement recognizes that app users likely also connect via multiple devices including tablets, PCs and even multiple smartphones. Facebook automatically reflects all advertising touches across all of a user’s devices in the attribution data it provides to MMPs. They can do this because of single login, meaning that activity on multiple logged in devices can be deterministically attributed to a single user. Deep links cannot measure cross-device impacts. As a result, the marketer misses out on understanding the impact of marketing touches that occur on other devices.
MMP Advantage: More accurate measurement
MMPs: SAVINGS. ACCURACY. INSIGHT.
Companies that use deep links to measure some Facebook events may have good features in other areas. But as we have shown, deep-linking methodologies DO NOT offer equivalent Facebook measurement and attribution. They come up short in many areas, from the inability to deduplicate across Facebook and other providers, to a 7-day limited attribution window, to the inability to reflect view-through attribution for Facebook, to the inability to reflect cross-device impacts on Facebook.
For the uninitiated, some of these differences may sound esoteric. But they aren’t. Real money rests on your choice of measurement solutions. Savings through deduplication and optimization. Accuracy and KPI performance through view-throughs and cross-device measurement.
As you evaluate app measurement and attribution offerings, consider the role that Facebook plays in your marketing success. With all that riding on your Facebook initiatives, doesn’t it make sense to get maximum insight and marketing effectiveness from this vital business channel?