Excluding User Segments

Ad targeting is generally understood as a common practice for including certain user segments in a marketing campaign. Negative targeting is the exact opposite. It’s the process of excluding a specific user segment from exposure to a marketing campaign.

This article is part of our Popular Features series.

Exclusion & Negative Targeting

Just as targeting saves advertisers money by exposing ads to only the desired users, negative targeting saves advertisers money by excluding undesired users from ad exposure. Advertisers are increasingly looking to work with partners who can help reduce marketing costs by limiting ad exposure to only a subset of users.

Advertisers also tend to pay higher rates when partners can exclude specific low-value segments or include high-value segments. For example, in mobile re-engagement/re-targeting campaigns, advertisers want to exclude users who haven’t installed the app because the goal of re-targeting is to re-engage existing users. For user acquisition campaigns, advertisers want to exclude existing users from seeing app install ads:


Generating an Exclusion List

The key to many campaigns is being able to identify which users should be targeted or negatively targeted. One way to do this is to create a list of existing users to exclude, also known as an exclusion list.

An exclusion list ideally contains all users of the app, regardless of how or from where a user installs the app. That said, it’s simpler for partners to be notified only when they’re responsible for conversions. Sending postback notifications only for attributed data ensures that only one partner claims credit for the conversions (the partner who had the last click) and advertisers are not paying for duplicate installs:

By default, Attribution Analytics sends postback notifications only for attributed data. This is because receiving postback notifications for all conversions requires a partner to implement logic to distinguish themselves from other partners. However, setting up this logic allows a partner to identify users from other sources as well.

Identify Users Moving Forward

To properly identify your app users, you first need to set up your postback URLs to receive notifications for all installs moving forward:

  1. In TUNE Partner Center, create a postback URL template for installs if you don’t have one already.
  2. To differentiate between installs attributed to you and installs attributed to other partners, use the following macros in your postback URL template:
    • {is_attributed}
    • {is_install_attributed}

    These macros should correspond to the parameters you use in your tracking system. For more information on using these macros, read our Attribution Analytics article on the is_attributed postback parameter.

  3. Request that your advertiser set up a custom postback that uses the “Send all events” option using this template (rather than the default setting of only attributed ones).

Then in TUNE Partner Center, make sure that your postback URL is receiving “All” data on the Postback URLs tab of an advertiser’s page:

TPC-Negative Targeting All Data

Identify Existing Users

The above steps only account for users that install from this point forward. To identify existing users of the app, have your advertiser use the Attribution Analytics audience segmentation tool to define excluded segments. As an output, they receive a CSV of existing user mobile device identifiers that they can then send to you.

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