This article is about how to track mobile app installs from TV advertising. You might also be interested:
- Introduction into how TV attribution works (white paper)
- wywy’s TV Analytics dashboard to track the impact of your TV ads
The general principle of mobile app attribution for TV advertising
TV ads result in spikes in app downloads and installs following the app-install ad. By comparing the timestamps of the actual TV ad airing times with the app install timestamps these uplifts can be identified and then analyzed. While this sounds straightforward in theory, there are a number of caveats making this manual process cumbersome and and error prone (mentioning a few problems: incorrect post airing logs, static baselines, handling simultaneous TV ads on different channels, more here). TV attribution companies (including wywy) offer solutions to automate this process. That said, there are a few particularities in tracking app installs from TV ads. Whichever solution you choose, ask how your preferred partner handles the below mentioned issues:
Website visits vs. direct iTunes App Store / Google Play Store visits
Many mobile app advertisers mention their website in the TV ad. This could be because the website offers the same functionality as the app (e.g. think of ordering food online) or just because the website includes a direct link to the app stores. While tracking the activity on the website can serve as an indicator on how effective TV advertising is we have seen very large differences in website visit and app download activity. Our experience at wywy shows this dilemma: While one company generated almost twice the number of visits on their website compared to app installs, another company almost had three times the app installs compared to website visits. For a full attribution picture it is paramount to track both website and app install activity.
The download lag time after the app-install TV ad
How long does it usually take you between deciding on installing an app and opening it for the first time? It obviously depends on the time it takes finding the app in the app store, the size of the app and the download speed available to you. While visiting a website is almost instantaneous (maybe taking a few seconds), “visiting” / opening an app for the first time usually takes a couple of minutes. But only on first being opened does the app send back information that it has been installed and starts tracking your usage. While we at wywy usually see 80% of the web traffic coming in the first 90 seconds of the ad, the app installs start “coming in” three to five minutes after the ad. The below image is a real example from one of our client’s TV airings – on the left you see the website traffic immediately rising after the TV ad, on the right you see the app installs starting to rise after about 3 minutes after the TV ad. The website traffic attribution window is just below 5 minutes, the app attribution almost 9 minutes. TV analytics solutions need to know how to handle this lag.
Looking beyond the app install
Unless you are making your money selling the app, the app install is just the first step to get to the in-app conversion(s). Mobile app attribution companies offer solutions to track TV users’ behavior after the app install. The solutions vary quite a bit in sophistication and preciseness. Ideally, you should combine the advantages of a specialized TV attribution provider and a mobile app attribution company to get the best of both worlds. A few companies offer these integrations (e.g. wywy partners with adjust, Appsflyer and Tune).
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TV Attribution: The 5 things you need to know