Android App Ad Tracking Technology Basics

The Android platform offers many advantages to the app developer, compared to iOS. Not least of which is the ability for 100 percent closed loop ROI analysis of advertising campaigns—similar to what you would expect from a typical online campaign. In simple terms, this means that the ROI and efficiency of every single campaign can be uniquely tracked and measured, giving complete transparency into campaign dynamics and creative performance.

How does it work?

Step 1: Using a URL builder, an advertiser can create a unique campaign link consisting of a URL address followed by a question mark and campaign variables. There are five campaign variables to specify:

  • source (utm_source)
  • medium (utm_medium)
  • campaign (utm_campaign)
  • content (utm_content)
  • term (utm_term)

Using these campaign variables, a URL address may look something like this:

Step 2: When a user clicks on an advertisement containing this link they get directed to the Android Market to download the app. On first launch, the original URL that the user clicked on is passed to an advertising or an analytics platform. The URL is parsed (separated) to allow for analytics insight into campaign variables.

Why is this different from iOS?

This one is simple to answer: The App Store doesn’t support URL parameters. All campaign tracking on iOS must be done by passing and sharing UDIDs (Unique Device Identifers). If any partner in the chain chooses not to share UDIDs then the ROI loop for advertising tracking gets broken. 

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