What’s Reference ID used for?

The reference ID (also known as a publisher transaction ID, click ID, ad ID, or tracking ID) is an additional parameter (such as sub1 through sub5) reserved for the specific reference ID from the advertising partner (publisher) system. This reference ID allows you to match a click from a partner to a click measured by Attribution Analytics. The value is typically unique to the user and click (or other interaction with an ad). Because the value is unique, the reference ID is not available in reporting for aggregate analysis. The reference ID is associated with the click and available for use in postback URLs.

  • ref_id – Reference ID specified by the partner to reconcile with their own third-party system

The following URL example shows a TUNE link that includes the partner reference ID.

https://12345.api-01.com/serve?action=click&publisher_id=200&site_id=1000&ref_id=10000000000000000001xxxxxx1

Server-to-server measurement integrations typically use the ref_id parameter. On click, the partner passes in a unique value into the TUNE link for the ref_id parameter. The server postback URL uses the {publisher_ref_id} parameter as a placeholder for the value.

The following URL example shows a server postback URL that includes the partner reference ID placeholder.

https://www.gamecompany.com/conversion.php?id={publisher_ref_id}

When a user installs the app and install attribution occurs, Attribution Analytics loads the server postback URL and dynamically replaces any placeholder parameters.

Because Attribution Analytics passes the same ref_id parameter back to the partner (that was originally passed to Attribution Analytics on click), the partner is able to measure the install in their own reporting system.

This reference ID in TUNE links is the partner reference ID. Attribution Analytics also has an advertiser reference ID which is specified on install or in-app event by the advertiser.

4 Comments

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  • If the click url has "ref_id" then why the postback has "publisher_ref_id" and not "ref_id". Why dont we have the same name for parameter

    • Grace  •  October 13, 2015

      The easiest way to think about this is "Who was involved/interacted at the time"? There can be a ref_id for both the publisher and you the advertiser. To explicitly call out whose ref_id it is in the postback, we use the parameter publisher_ref_id so you know that the value is for the publisher's reference id set on click.

      • Is the ref_id useful only for server to server integration or in the normal measurement url itself we can dynamically append the ref_id and retrieve it back during post backs.

        • Grace  •  December 10, 2015

          The ref_id parameter is extremely useful when you're using measurement URLs (or server-side integration) as it allows publishers to pass information to advertisers.  This info can then be passed back to the publisher on install or any other post install event via a postback.  Just make sure that the measurement URL contains &ref_id={whatever your systems value is} so that you can pass this information dynamically.