Last Updated: September 13th, 2022
To learn more about the mobile app marketing industry and best practices, sign up for the AppAgent newsletter here.
There is a moment in the production process of an app with a growth ambition, when you need to expand your marketing efforts beyond the Facebook and Google duopoly. This is when you need to choose and implement a mobile attribution tool. Choosing the right partner can save you a lot of time and resources. But, do you know which mobile attribution partner, or mobile measurement partner (MMP), is the best for your app? How will you know whether to go with a big brand or the least expensive offer. Read on to find out.
Note: If you have just come across mobile and web attribution terminology for the first time, I recommend learning the basics in my previous article: The principles of mobile ad attribution analytics and tracking. This article is for big girls and boys as we will dive deeper into the platforms themselves and the process of choosing the right mobile measurement partner for your app.
MARKET LEADING QUARTET
The major attribution platforms are Appsflyer, Adjust, Kochava and Branch. This 2022 update to the article also includes the addition of a rising star – Singular. While there are other solutions available—from self-made Firebase tweaks to smaller companies like Tenjin—we are focusing on the more common solutions.
With any of them, you can:
- Measure the initial click;
- Attribute the click to the install; and
- Notify partners of installs and events through server postback URLs.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
SPECIFICS OF MOBILE ATTRIBUTION TOOLS
AppsFlyer is a mobile app analytics & marketing software that enables businesses to track and optimize their acquisition funnel.
- The platform is primarily developed for marketing professionals, who use attribution data for decision making to give all the necessary tools to make the most of their activities.
- It provides flexible reporting, deep analytics and performance metrics.
- With established external integrations it is possible to attribute campaigns from a diverse pool of media sources, including TV broadcasts.
- Raw data available for a fee (organic data is available for extra fee) as well as free trial for one month.
- Features as Protect 360 and Audience builder which allow users to run audience-based user acquisition (UA) campaigns. Appsflyer claims you don’t have to worry about fraudulent installations.
- You will definitely not make a mistake with this choice. The price of such a tool might not be as attractive as its functionality so we understand why smaller companies out there are searching for better deals.
Adjust is a tool for tracking mobile app events that can be used as both app analytics and attribution platform.
- Adjust is one of the leaders in the industry with clients such as Zynga, Spotify and Tencent Games.
- It is a tool for mobile attribution, app analytics, store stats data, campaign tracking, cohort analysis and KPIs for apps, etc.
- They support a large number of different media channels (including non-digital ones).
- After the acquisition of Acquired.io and Unbotify in late 2018 – early 2019 the company has reinforced an automation and anti-fraud capabilities.
- Raw data available (including organic traffic) in the second tier or higher as well as free trial for one month.
- After being acquired by Applovin in 2021 – we see a lot of game developers drawing their attention to that conglomerate.
- Adjust is using its own private cloud infrastructure, instead of a third-party solution (AppsFlyer, for instance, uses Amazon Web Services)
- Another solid solution for teams of all sizes. Especially useful for projects which want to test viability of UA acquisition and don’t want to sign for annual contracts. Highly versatile, but again, the price can grow quickly. See how it is compared to the others below.
Although previously focusing mainly on its analytics offering, Singular is jumping straight into the big league of MMPs with its attribution offering, therefore closing off the triumvirate of the three main attribution providers.
- Support of all the essential features: cost data attribution, cross-device attribution, deep linking, SKAdNetwork Conversion Schema management, data transformation, fraud protection, and compliance with all the essential regulatory requirements.
- Easy access to certain campaign metadata properties (bids, ROAS goals).
- Easy data ingestion in your analytics system & access to move the analytics into Singular.
- Learning from the competition and drawing from experience in analytics, Singular makes it easy to study the performance of UA campaigns and tailor the reporting to your needs.
- This is a solid tool for scale-ups and more established companies. With the analytic mindset, Singular makes it easy to pivot, transform and extract the data. This will make both developers and UA experts feel at home when working with it.
Kochava provides a holistic and impartial analytics platform, which helps marketers during all the stages of their work: from research to campaign optimization.
- Kochava allows to integrate the data with a wide selection of third-party tools, complementing a unique analytic stack for each company.
- Raw data available (including organic traffic) for free users as well as free trial.
- Kochava offers a full version for free if you agree to share your data. If you’re an indie developer, you might appreciate having access to such a tool.
- This is a solid tool for smaller companies, who are just starting to get their heads around the attribution and marketing analytics. It is cost-effective, organics data goes for free and has all the necessary integration to get up and running with UA.
- Please note, that Kochava is a US-based company with a support team located there. From our experience, even though their support is really good, it can take some time for them to get back to you if you are located on the other continent.
Branch helps mobile apps to grow with deep links that power paid acquisition and re-engagement campaigns, referral programs, content sharing, deep linked emails, smart banners, custom user onboarding, and more. Branch entered the world of attribution by acquisition of TUNE.
- Branch is fundamentally different from all other attribution partners out there, as it is primarily focused on people-based attribution.
- Branch uses automatic cross-platform identifiers to help marketers recognize users across both web and app in order to retarget them across both platforms.
- Raw data for paid users available.
- It recommends itself as being extremely beneficial to e-commerce companies, who have a really intertwined customer journey, allowing them to consistently see all the channels, users interacted with before converting.
- Unfortunately, we have very little experience with this mobile measurement partner to date and we rarely recommend it to our clients due to the pricing model.
- The pricing model is based on MAU base, rather than acquired installs and that way it wasn’t a good fit to our clients.
COMPARISON OF MOBILE ATTRIBUTION PROVIDERS
Here is a quick summary of what these attribution providers offer:
Last point for the comparison is the number of ad networks. Whenever you decide to proceed with one of these, don’t forget to check if all your key ad networks are connected with the chosen MMP.
Below is AppAgent’s decision tree built for our clients that should help you to quickly decide which solution is the best for you. You can download a high-definition version of the tree here. Note: We would treat Singular similarly to Adjust and Appsflyer in this case. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the best deal between the three of them.
Note: Appsflyer offers organic data for extra fee
Let’s see how this chart can be applied to real cases.
EXAMPLES FROM APPAGENT’S CLIENT PORTFOLIO
Starting app – Pockethunt
A career & recruitment platform that makes job search easier by having private casual talks between job seekers and employers. It is based on a Tinder-like idea of matching, where your skills are being appraised and compared to the desired skill set of a recruiter.
Mid-sized app – Board by Budgetbakers
A a mobile-first business management platform that combines business planning, sales tracking, and cash flow management. Board allows to track sales, monitor due dates, plan profitability and enable entrepreneurs to always be up to date with their business.
Top brand app – Kiwi.com
A low-cost flight booking engine with an extensive database of budget flights in Europe. The company also works with a diverse set of partners to bring special deals on things such as car rentals, travel insurance and hotels.
As you can see in this article, the choice of the right attribution platform is dramatically influenced by the needs, timeframe, expected UA volumes and MAU of the app (Note: if you’d like to learn more about building mobile marketing analytics, check out this video). We hope that our examples will allow you to make proper decisions in a timely manner.
If you have any doubts or would like to get support during the integration of a selected partner, AppAgent can help. AppAgent also offers custom product and marketing analytics providing a full-funnel view on your mobile business for an affordable price. Contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
📕 Learn more about industry insights and best practices by signing up for our newsletter here.
🤝 Get help with growth strategy, app marketing, user acquisition and video ads production by reaching us at email@example.com.
MOBILE UA CASE STUDY
Doubling ROI with a 67% Annual Growth
Take a look at how to maximize the growth of new users
while keeping the target ROI.
How to choose the right mobile measurement partner for my app?
Choosing from one of many mobile measurement partners is dramatically influenced by the needs, timeframe, expected UA volumes and MAU of the app. See the decision tree in the article to find the perfect match.
Once you’ve made your decision, don’t forget to check if all your key ad networks are connected with the chosen MMP.