How Google Play Install Referrer Works

When directing users to the Google Play™ Store, you can use the Google Install Referrer for 100% attribution accuracy. Google Analytics uses the install referrer to measure campaign performance as well. For information about the Google Install Referrer, please visit Google Analytics uses install referrer.

Attribution Analytics also uses the install referrer by appending its tracking ID to the install referrer parameter when redirecting users to Google Play.

The following code shows an example of a Google Play link where we append our tracking ID (tracking_id) into the referrer parameter:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hellochatty&referrer=tracking_id%3D123456789

For information about advanced usage of the referrer parameter, please visit Attributing Android Installs with Custom Landing Page using Referrer.

Setup App to Collect Install Referrer

When users install the Android mobile app, setup your app to allow the Attribution Analytics SDK to collect the install referrer value (com.android.vending.INSTALL_REFERRER). For information about Android SDK implementation, please visit Android SDK.

The install referrer is the value of the "referrer" parameter appended to the Google Play link. Since we append our tracking ID in the referrer parameter, Google allows us to collect this value upon install (via a receiver for the install referrer) and therefore, we can perform attribution with 100% accuracy.

Our Android SDK requires setting up a Attribution Analytics receiver in your Android manifest. Put this receiver inside your application tags as shown in the following example.

<receiver android:name="com.mobileapptracker.Tracker" android:exported="true">
   <intent-filter>
       <action android:name="com.android.vending.INSTALL_REFERRER" />
   </intent-filter>
</receiver>

The Attribution Analytics SDK sends the value of the install referrer to the Attribution Analytics platform, which parses out the tracking_id parameter and uses it to attribute the install. To ensure that the Install Referrer is collected properly, please visit Testing the Google Play Install Referrer.

Install Referrer passed in Postback URL

If you want to send the value of the install referrer as a macro in a postback URL, then you can include {conversion_referral} into the postback URL as shown in the following example.

http://www.advertiser.com/conversion?referrer={conversion_referral}

The following example shows a Google Play measurement URL with the referrer set to our tracking ID and some Google Analytic parameters.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hellochatty&referrer=tracking_id%3D123456789&utm_source%3Dmdotm%26utm_medium%3Dbanner%26utm_campaign%3Dcampaign

The following example shows the postback notification.

http://www.advertiser.com/conversion?referrer=tracking_id%3D123456789&utm_source%3Dmdotm%26utm_medium%3Dbanner%26utm_campaign%3Dcampaign

The value of the conversion referral includes our tracking ID as well as the Google Analytics parameters in the string.

1 Comment

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  • Grace  •  December 10, 2015

    The tracking_id value is generated from our measurement URL...not Google.