Measuring Installs for Your Apple Search Ads Campaigns


NOTICE – October 31, 2016: After working closely with Apple and discussing the nature of their attribution API, TUNE released a new iOS SDK (v4.10.0) that accommodates the uniqueness of this integration and decreases the opportunity for discrepancies.


Apple’s Search Ads is an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app within the App Store search results, helping people discover or reengage with your app at the very moment they are searching for apps like yours. Designed to give users a safe search experience, Search Ads sets a new standard for delivering relevant ads while respecting user privacy.

The Attribution Analytics integration with Apple Search Ads provides a seamless user experience while still enabling measurement on a 1:1 basis. The Apple Search Ads Integration is readily available in the Attribution Analytics platform. No manual setup in the Attribution Analytics platform is required for installs to be attributed to Apple Search Ads. Instead, all you need to do is ensure you have the TUNE iOS SDK implemented in your apps.

This article is part of our Common Integrations series.

Apple Search Ads Attribution

Attributing installs from Apple Search Ads is simple. An Apple device user sees a Search Ad in the App Store. When the user clicks on the Search Ad, Apple measures the ad click and starts a session for the user in their own internal system. If and when the user installs the mobile app, the TUNE SDK initializes on the first app open and pings Apple Search Ads’ Attribution API to determine if Apple has attributed the install.

After Apple responds, the TUNE SDK sends this information to the Attribution Analytics platform, and in the case of an attributed install, the request to log the install. If Apple notifies us that they are responsible for the install (including click/impression datetime), then Attribution Analytics attributes the install to the Apple Search Ads integrated advertising partner.


Note: TUNE Attribution for Apple Search Ads uses the last click model and follows the TUNE attribution method waterfall with a 30 day attribution window.

Attribution by TUNE SDK Version

The amount of Apple Search Ads API parameters TUNE receives and the degree of discrepancy will depend on your TUNE SDK version. Please refer to the table below to understand what parameters you can view in your TUNE reporting based on what version of the TUNE SDK you have implemented in your app.

Note: Due to the intricate and atypical nature of the Apple integration, the minimum SDK version recommended for Search Ads attribution is v4.8.0. However, to minimize discrepancies between Apple Search Ads reporting and TUNE reporting, we strongly recommend using at least v4.10.0. That SDK is uniquely configured to accommodate any latency seen from the Apple Attribution API and thus ensure more accurate attribution.

Attribution may work on older specific SDK versions, but we cannot guarantee all parameters or attributed installs will come through.

Apple Search Ads attribution & API parameters For Reporting (Logs, Actuals, Cohort) TUNE SDK v3.2.1 – 3.12.0 TUNE SDK 3.13.0 – 4.1.0 TUNE SDK v4.2.0 – v4.6.x TUNE SDK v4.7.0 + TUNE SDK v4.8.0 + TUNE SDK v4.10.0 +
Attribution? No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
iad-attribution Partner
iad-adgroup-id Partner Ad Group
iad-adgroup-name Partner Ad Group
iad-campaign-id Partner Campaign
iad-campaign-name Partner Campaign
iad-conversion-type Event Type
iad-org-name Partner Publisher
iad-lineitem-id Partner Ad
iad-lineitem-name Partner Ad
iad-creativeset-id Partner Placement  ✅  ✅
iad-creativeset-name Partner Placement  ✅  ✅
iad-keyword Partner Keyword
iad-keyword-matchtype Partner Matchtype


  • If your campaign is using Search Match, Apple will not send the “iad-keyword” through for any installs coming from Search Match.

TUNE iOS SDK v3.2.1. – 3.12.0

While TUNE will NOT attribute installs to your Apple Search Ads campaigns, we will not receive and report on any of the Apple Search Ads API parameters.

TUNE iOS SDK v3.13.0 – 4.1.0

TUNE will NOT attribute the install to Apple Search Ads, due to a change Apple made in the Attribution API response in Fall 2015 that wasn’t fixed until SDK v4.2.0.

TUNE iOS SDK v4.2.0 – 4.6.x

TUNE WILL attribute the install to Apple Search Ads and pass along certain parameters of the Apple API response.

Note that there is no keyword parameter included. Apps with SDK v4.6 or earlier will not see keyword-level attribution, and the SDK does NOT detect fake iAd attribution in non-App Store builds.

TUNE iOS SDK v4.7.0

TUNE WILL attribute the install to Apple Search Ads and updated the SDK to also pass along the “iad-keyword” parameter, which is the key in the Apple Attribution API response that shows the keyword responsible for that install. So, in addition to the parameters an app with SDK v4.6.0 would see above, the SDK is also passing along “iad-keyword” to the TUNE Attribution Analytics platform.

Note that the SDK detects and ignores fake iAd attribution in non-App Store builds and iAd parameters are not included in the request URL.

TUNE iOS SDK v4.8.0 or later

TUNE WILL attribute the install to Apple Search Ads and pass along all available parameters of the Apple API response. To accommodate for any change in the response from Apple, TUNE updated the SDK in this version to pass along the entire response from Apple’s Attribution API to the TUNE Attribution Analytics platform. The platform then handles mapping the Apple parameters to TUNE attribution parameters.

Note that the SDK detects and ignores fake iAd attribution in non-App Store builds.

TUNE iOS SDK v4.10.0+

TUNE WILL attribute the install to Apple Search Ads and pass along all available parameters of the Apple API response. To accommodate for any latency from the Apple Attribution API, TUNE updated the SDK in this version to delay when to call the Apple API, and to retry up to 5 times. This will give Apple adequate time for data processing and ensure the TUNE SDK has as much opportunity to get a successful and accurate response.

Note that the SDK detects and ignores fake iAd attribution in non-App Store builds.


We recommend upgrading your SDK to v4.10.0 or later to ensure all parameters from the Apple Attribution API response – including iad-keyword – are passed from the SDK to the TUNE Attribution Analytics platform and to ensure attribution results are as accurate as possible. While SDK versions before v4.10.0 will still attribute installs accurately, only v4.7.0 and greater will provide keyword-level attribution insight and only v4.10.0+ will call the Apple Attribution API at multiple time-based intervals (regardless of a successful or error response).

Note: Search Ads are only viewable by users on at least iOS 10.

Setting up the Integration

To access the integration:

  1. Log in to Attribution Analytics.
  2. In the navigation (on the left side), under the Partners section, click Integrations.
  3. On the Integrated Partners page (on the right side), search for Apple Search Ads and click the Enable button.

Note: TUNE automatically enables the integration for you once we start receiving attributed installs from Apple, so if you notice Apple Search Ads is already enabled in your account, no further action is required.

Viewing Apple Search Ads Campaign Data in Reporting

Once TUNE is receiving attributed installs from your Apple Search Ads campaigns, you can view your Apple Search Ads campaign data in the Actuals, Cohort and Logs reports.

Customizing Your Apple Search Ads Attribution Setup

If you need to pass additional parameters along with the Apple response to Attribution Analytics (e.g. a sub parameter like “my_ad” or “my_campaign”), you can make use of TunePreloadData class to hold additional information. Read more here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I’m seeing discrepancies between Apple’s reporting and TUNE’s reporting. How is this possible?
    1. As of October 31, 2016, discrepancies may be a result of:
      1. The difference between an “install” and a “download”
        1. “Installs” require a first open, whereas a user can “download” an app, but not open it.
      2. Limit Ad Tracking
        1. An estimated 15-20% of users may have Limit Ad Tracking enabled, which prevents TUNE from attributing installs to Apple Search Ads.
      3. Re-downloads
        1. As of the date above, Apple attributes re-downloads to Apple Search Ads, but TUNE does not. For example, if a user installs an app, and then uninstalls, but then some time later re-installs due to a Search Ad, Apple will attribute that to the Search Ad. TUNE, however, counts that as an open – not an install. It would maintain the original attribution of the first install because the identifier didn’t change.
      4. Apple Attribution API latency
        1. After a user taps on a Search Ad and installs the app, Apple has to process that data in order to render it in the Apple Attribution API response. That can take some time. While TUNE SDK v4.10.0 accommodates that by delaying the first time it calls the Apple API, and then retrying up to 5 times more, it is possible that:
          1. The install will be attributed to another partner before the Apple API responds, or
          2. The user opens and closes the app before the TUNE SDK can call the Apple API and receive a successful response.
  2. I’m not seeing any Search Ads-attributed installs at all in TUNE, despite seeing some in Apple Search Ads reporting. Why?
    1. Seeing attributed installs really depends on what TUNE SDK version your app is using. See the above table to see which scenario best covers your app.
  3. I’m seeing the keyword come through on some of my installs, but not on all of my installs attributed to Search Ads. Why?
    1. If you’re running a campaign with Search Ads that includes the “Search Match” option, Apple will not return the keyword that drove an install resulting from a “Search Match” query.

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