Attributing Pre-Loaded Apps

Nowadays, many mobile devices come pre-loaded with apps already installed, which is great for the user experience because users do not need to launch an app store to download and install these pre-loaded apps. But how do you attribute the pre-loaded app install when there is no ad click to use for attributing the install (to the appropriate advertising partner)? Attribution Analytics solves this problem by allowing you to set all of the relevant partner/publisher information in the app itself, which we then collect during the install request.


For example, you have agreed with a wireless carrier (such as AT&T) to pre-load/pre-install your mobile app on their devices. Because AT&T is the advertising partner who promotes your mobile app (by having it pre-loaded), AT&T is the party who gets credit for the attribution. Therefore, you can set the AT&T partner info in your app so that the Attribution Analytics SDK can collect it on first app open. Attribution Analytics then uses this info to attribute the app install to AT&T in the Attribution Analytics platform.

To attribute pre-loaded apps, the TUNE SDK provides setter methods for sending (or “hard-coding”) the partner info for attribution and subsequent postbacks. If multiple partners are pre-loading your mobile app, then you can create a partner-specific build of your app for distribution to each publishing partner (where each build includes different partner settings, respective to the particular partner). The partner-specific build is what the partner pre-loads onto the desired devices.

NOTE: Our attribution waterfall dictates that deterministic attribution methods with clicks (e.g. Google Play Install Referrer and Identifier Matching) take precedence over deterministic attribution methods with inferred click but no click date time (i.e. hard-coding the publisher in the SDK or Deep Links with Tags). This means that even if you hard-code a partner’s info to be used for attribution, a real click with a date time will take precedence and be used for attribution.

If you want to give precedence to the hard-coded advertising partner over clicks driven by other advertising partners, please contact Support to enable a preference that allows the hard-coded Publisher ID to be used for attribution before any other deterministic method with a click.

Once the preference is set:

  • Conversions received with the hard-coded Publisher ID will automatically be attributed to said Publisher.
  • If there are no other clicks from the same Publisher ID, the Attribution Method (match_type) will be “pre-loaded”.
  • If there are clicks from that same Publisher ID, the Attribution Method (match_type) will be set appropriately to that click (e.g. match_type=identifier)
  • If there are any clicks from other advertising partners within your attribution window, they will receive “assists” for the install.

Make sure you use the setter ONLY for the first app open event, and not subsequent events/requests. Because if you include the hard-coded attribution parameters for all measure sessions or other requests, then all requests are attributed accordingly (to the same hard-coded partner, such as AT&T). Therefore re-engagement does not work because the attribution information is already present/set, which prevents the SDK from collecting new attribution data. The following flowchart shows how the attribution parameters should only be set with the first request.


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