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iOS Install Tracking

iOS install tracking allows Ad Networks to offer app marketers a way to find the source of installs on the Apple iOS platform, when using Google Analytics.

Implementation Overview

Typically an app developer uses an Ad Network (or multiple Ad Networks) to set up an App download campaign. For install tracking on iOS, Google Analytics relies on Apple's resettable Identifier for Advertising (IDFA) to match app sessions to campaigns. To accomplish this, Google Analytics relies on Ad Networks to provide and send the IDFA and other campaign information to Google Analytics when an app user clicks on an ad.

Ad Networks can use the following methods to enable iOS install tracking in Google Analytics for their customers:

Redirect

The redirect method uses a campaign URL that points the user to the Google Analytics click server that will then redirect the user to the app's iTunes page. The URL will look similar to the following:

click.google-analytics.com/redirect?param1=value1&param2=value2

The high level steps for this method are:

  1. The Ad Network forms the URL and sets the query string parameters to include campaign information and the IDFA.
  2. The user clicks the ad and they are redirected to Google Analytics which collects the IDFA and other parameter values.
  3. The user is redirected to the app's iTunes page.
  4. If the user installs the app it will be matched to the campaign from the ad clicked in step #2.
A user clicks on a mobile ad for an iOS app. The ad points to a Google
  Analytics click server and the URL contains campaign information and the
  IDFA. Google Analytics collects the campaign information and the IDFA and
  redirects the user to the iTunes page for the app in the ad. The user
  subsequently installs the app from the iTunes page and this install will be
  matched to the ad campaign clicked by the user in the first step.
Figure 1: The redirect flow for iOS install tracking.

An example redirect URL:

http://click.google-analytics.com/redirect?
    tid=UA-1234-1                                                 // Google Analytics Tracking ID.
    &idfa=BBA44F63-E469-42BA-833A-2AC550310CB3                    // Identifier for Advertising (IDFA)
    &aid=com.bundle.myapp                                         // App ID.
    &cs=network                                                   // Campaign source.
    &cm=cpc                                                       // Campaign medium.
    &cn=campaign_name                                             // Campaign name.
    &url=https%3A//itunes.apple.com/us/app/myApp/id123%3Fmt%3D8   // Redirect URL to iTunes.

See the Measurement Protocol parameter reference for details on campaign and app tracking parameters.

Asynchronous Ping

The ping method requires the Ad Network to make a direct request to the Google Analytics server when a user clicks an ad. The ping URL will look similar to the following:

click.google-analytics.com/ping?param1=value1&param2=value2

The high level steps for this method are:

  1. The user clicks the ad which brings them to the app's iTunes page.
  2. The Ad Network pings the Google Analytics server with query string parameters that have been set with campaign information and the IDFA.
  3. Google Analytics collects the IDFA and other parameter values from the ping request.
  4. If the user installs the app it will be matched to the campaign from the ad clicked in step #1.
A user clicks on a mobile ad for an app and is directed to iTunes.
  Asynchronously the ad network pings Google Analytics with campaign information
  for the ad and the IDFA. The user subsequently installs the app from the
  iTunes page and this install will be matched to the original campaign clicked
  by the user in the first step.
Figure 2: The asynchronous ping flow for iOS install tracking.

An example ping URL:

http://click.google-analytics.com/ping?
    tid=UA-1234-1                                                 // Google Analytics Tracking ID.
    &idfa=BBA44F63-E469-42BA-833A-2AC550310CB3                    // Identifier for Advertising (IDFA)
    &aid=com.bundle.myapp                                         // App ID.
    &cs=network                                                   // Campaign source.
    &cm=cpc                                                       // Campaign medium.
    &cn=campaign_name                                             // Campaign name.

See the Measurement Protocol parameter reference for details on campaign and app tracking parameters.

iOS install campaign tracking resources

Google mobile conversion (GMC) provider program

If you support either the Redirect or Asynchronous ping method you may be eligible to join the Google mobile conversion (GMC) provider program.