Mobile app marketing has been growing at a tremendous speed, especially as the time spent by consumers within apps now dominates overall digital time spent*. Core areas of app marketing include app downloads, user retention and monetization. A key challenge facing the fast-developing app marketing industry has been the lack of agreement on definitions for commonly used business terms. For example, are app installs and downloads two different concepts? Or can they be used interchangeably? The IAB App Marketing Glossary sets out to address these and other areas of confusion by creating a common lexicon for the industry.
About 100 terms were initially identified as needing definition and/or clarification by the IAB App Marketing Working Group. Throughout the document development process, working group members debated key points of difference, and learned from one another’s perspectives, ultimately driving towards consensus on the terms and definitions that now comprise the glossary.
It is our hope that the glossary helps provide guidance for advertisers looking to promote and monetize their apps, while streamlining communication and enabling smoother transactions between buyers and sellers.
Special thanks to the IAB member companies below for their contribution to the project.
Advertising ID is a user resettable ID assigned by the device or operating environment for advertising purposes (e.g. targeting, frequency capping). The key difference between a Device ID and an Advertising ID is that advertising IDs can be reset by the user at any time. Examples include Apple’s IDFA and Android’s AAID.
Attribution Window is a configurable time period during which an impression/click/conversion can be credited to media exposure.
Click-through Attribution is an attribution model that credits conversions only when a user clicks on an ad.
Device ID is a device generated ID, set and/or made available by the device’s operating system. Users usually cannot control or change a device-generated identifier. Examples include MAC address and UDID.
Device Recognition is an audience identification analysis using statistical algorithms based on the values of a combination of standard attributes made available by the device. This analysis is largely dependent upon device information passed in HTTP headers of ad requests, namely: device type, operating system, user-agent, fonts, and IP address. Some attributes can change over time due to device changes or updates. Device Recognition can be used for attribution, frequency capping, and retargeting, among other applications.
Last-touch attribution is an attribution model that gives 100% of credit to the last meaningful advertising event, generally the last ad impression, click, or engagement.
Multi-touch Attribution is an attribution model that gives fractional credit to all advertising events that occur within a campaign, across channels, platforms, and formats. Credits may be allocated based on pre-determined rules such as even weighting, time decay or u-shaped rules, or based on computer algorithmic analysis of the relationship among all events.
Pixel Fire, also referred to as “Postback”. Please see term Postback for definition.
Postback, also referred to as “Pixel Fire,” is a string of information sent on behalf of an advertiser to a network/agency/partner through a specific URL that contains information about the conversion or post-install event pertinent to the network for tracking, optimization, billing, and other purposes.
Self-attributing Networks are app publishers that perform attribution on their traffic independently of 3rd party tracking services, and provide notification of which installs they have claimed.
User, Unique User
A person using an application and exposed to advertising messages, as determined through registration, user self-identification or some form of heuristic. A Unique User is an unduplicated person using an application and exposed to advertising messages during a reporting period. For the requirements for reporting a Unique User metric, refer to the IAB Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines, available at www.iab.com.
View-through attribution is an attribution model that attributes conversions to viewing of an ad impression that is not clicked.
An App Advertiser is any person or entity that promotes an app through advertising.
App Deep Linking
App Deep Linking is the method by which a URL links to and opens a specified page or location within a mobile app, rather than simply launching the app. Universal Links and App Links are the standards for iOS and Android respectively.
App Deferred Deep Linking
App Deferred Deep Linking is related to the process of App Deep Linking. It occurs when the user does not have the app downloaded in advance, and must install the app prior to consuming content. Deferred Deep Linking first directs the user to the appropriate app store page for app installation, and then upon opening the app, the user is automatically redirected to the specified page or location in the app as intended in the initial engagement.
An App Developer is the person or entity that creates an application.
App (Content) Publisher
An App (Content) Publisher is, in the context of advertising or publishing, a person or entity that provides content or utility through an app and may also provide the advertising opportunity within an app.
App (Distribution) Publisher
An App (Distribution) Publisher, viewed through the eyes of the app development community, is a person or entity that markets, distributes, and acquires users on behalf of a specific App Developer. The App Publisher may also monetize an app on behalf of the App Developer.
App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization refers to the process of modifying within the app storefront, the app description, icons and artwork, keywords, etc. to lift the app’s search rankings and increase visibility in unpaid search results.
Chart Position/App Store Ranking
Chart Position/App Store Ranking is the ranked position of an app within the app store listings or 3rd party app catalog listing. App rankings may appear in the form of primary (main) category or sub-category listings (top paid app vs top free games apps). App store and catalog rankings in charts are determined through a mix of proprietary app store algorithms and weighted factors. Higher rankings bring an app more visibility, traffic, and downloads.
In-App Purchase is a transaction that occurs directly within the app when the user pays for additional app functionality, content, or services, such as access to otherwise restricted levels in games, subscriptions to newspaper or magazine media content, or access to video streaming services.
Incentivized Acquisition is a type of paid user acquisition whereby users receive a certain value exchange for installing an app. Examples of incentives include virtual currency or a game item.
Influencing Touchpoints are ad networks or publishers that contributed clicks or impressions which led to installs, other than the network awarded install based on last-touch attribution. This insight is critical to understanding brand lift as well as true return on ad spend. Understanding Influencing Touchpoints makes it easy for advertisers to compare the sources driving traffic with the sources that are driving installs or events. This is not to be confused with social media influencers who are paid by brands to promote brand products.
Mobile App Marketing
Mobile App Marketing is a type of marketing that aims to drive app installs or higher user engagement or revenue from existing app users.
Mobile App User Acquisition Marketing
Mobile App User Acquisition Marketing is a form of marketing that aims specifically to drive app installs.
Non-incentivized Acquisition is a form of Paid Acquisition, in which users do not receive any value exchange for installing an app.
Organic Acquisition is a form of user acquisition that occurs when there is no attribution link/tag associated with the conversion.
Paid Acquisition is a form of user acquisition that results from paid media campaigns.
An App Open is when a user launches an app.
Average Revenue Per Daily Active User
ARPDAU = Total daily revenue/ (divided by) total daily active users.
Average Revenue Per Paying User
ARPPU = Total revenue in a given period/ (divided by) the number of paying users in that specified period. This metric is especially relevant for apps offering in-app purchases, such as gaming apps or cab booking apps.
Average Revenue Per User
ARPU = Total revenue in a given timeframe / (divided by) the total number of active users within the specified time frame.
Average Session Duration
Average Session Duration = Aggregate duration of all app usage Sessions/ (divided by) total number of Sessions within the reporting period. Average Session Duration is the average length of app usage per session. App usage length in a session counts from the start of the application to the end-time of use of the application, as long as the application does not encounter inactivity (application idle) of a pre-defined duration.
A Claim is an assertion by a self-attributing ad network or publisher taking credit for driving an app install or other conversions.
Cost Per Completed View
CPCV = Total amount of advertising dollar spent / (divided by) completed views. The amount of advertising dollars an advertiser spends for every video ad which runs through to completion.
Cost Per First Transaction
CPFT = Total amount of advertising dollar spent / (divided by) total number of first transactions. The amount of advertising dollars an advertiser spends to generate the first transaction (first transaction is defined as a singular transaction after an install or after a specified period of inactivity).
Cost Per Install
CPI = Total advertising dollars spent/ (divided by) total number of app installs. The amount of advertising dollars an advertiser spends to generate each app install.
Daily Active Users
Total number of unique users launching an app in one day. Start day and end day timeframe may be defined by the advertiser partner.
A Download occurs when a user downloads an app from an app store environment to a device without necessarily launching or opening the app.
An Install is registered by third party tracking solutions at the time an app is first launched (or opened) by a hardware device.
Lifetime Value is the cumulative revenue generated at a unique user level through, for example, advertising, app purchase price, subscription revenue, and in-app purchases, which accrues to a developer or publisher over a finite period of time pre-defined by the developer or publisher.
Mean Time to Install
Mean Time to Install is the average time it takes a user to install and launch the app after the initial click of the advertisement. This metric is used, for example, to detect fraud (short MTTI may indicate fraud).
Monthly Active Users
Monthly Active Users is the total number of unique users launching an app per month.
A Post-install Event is any action taken by the user after the user has installed the app.
Retention is the app usage rate by an active user during a defined period of time after the app install.
A Session is a single application-use event that spans an unspecified period of time of constant or ongoing application activity by a user. Sessions are terminated by user actions indicating the closing of the application, or by inactivity levels that meet or exceed defined thresholds. Sessions are generally applicable to the calculation of reach metrics. (Source: Mobile Application Advertising Measurement Guidelines, April 2016)
Unique Device Install
A Unique Device Install is an install attributed to an unduplicated device.
Unique User Install
A Unique User Install is an install attributed to a unique user regardless of the number of devices on which the user may have installed the app.