Why it’s time for standardized metrics on views and clicks

views clicks

Mobile app advertising is in need of unified measurement standards. 

Marketers promoting native mobile apps rely on sophisticated attribution models to gauge and improve ROI. But these models fall apart when “clicks” and “views” are not measured consistently across platforms and networks.

Without standard measurements or transparency into various reporting methodologies, the ability for marketers to make the right data-driven decisions suffers – and can take significantly more time and effort.

But setting new standards is easier said than done.

Creating industry standards

To their credit, organizations like the MRC and IAB have made attempts to standardize engagement for mobile display ads. But these recommendations have not been adopted by all major ad networks and media partners.

Meanwhile, mobile app ads in particular have grown more powerful but also more complex, leading to increased confusion and friction within the ecosystem due to the overall lack of transparency and standardization in how ad engagements are qualified.

It is in this context that AppsFlyer is spearheading an initiative to create more transparency and standardization when it comes to how users engage with mobile ads online, and how credit is attributed for those interactions.

For the first time, we are highlighting a detailed comparison on how AppsFlyer’s largest and most prominent media source partners qualify different types of engagements with ads they serve – including Google, Facebook, Snap, and several others.  

For example, take rewarded video and playable ads, which the IAB recently addressed.

These ads have more interactive components, further complicating the question of which views or clicks to count. Should a click on a playable element within an ad count towards attribution in a way that’s equal to a click taking the user to the app store? Perhaps not. But without transparency and standardization, these questions will never be resolved.

Over the past several months, AppsFlyer conducted a sweeping review of metric definitions from our top partners, discussions with industry stakeholders and experts, as well as careful internal deliberation.

What we found was a lack of measurement consistency among media sources and a limited awareness of such issues. Not only were many advertisers in the dark about variations in measurement, but the reality is several ad networks acting as middlemen to outside DSPs are equally unaware, have little or no control of the disparities that exist – and no ability to apply a unified standard.

Promoting transparency

For our partners and our advertisers, we feel strongly that the current situation needs improving and to evolve towards a resolution. For the sake of encouraging a constructive dialogue and promoting openness and transparency, we have applied our findings towards the creation of the following AppsFlyer engagement standards for ad clicks and views.

Ad typeViewClick
Interstitials and banners50% of ad unit was visible for 1 secondA click that took the user directly to the app store
Rewarded videosVideo was watched for 2 secondsA click that took the user directly to the app store
Playable adsThe playable element was launchedA click that took the user directly to the app store
Standard video50% of ad unit was visible and the video was watched for 2 seconds.A click that took the

These new recommended standards aim to shed light on one of the less transparent areas in our industry.

We hope these standards encourage advertisers to dive deeper into how views and clicks are calculated across ad networks and exchanges, and advertisers should implore their media partners to share the new parameters for ad views and clicks with AppsFlyer so that advertisers can analyze the quality of user engagements.

In addition, we plan to showcase current and future partners who abide by the AppsFlyer engagement standards in the AppsFlyer partners portal, marketing materials, and consultations with clients.

As the market leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, with integrations across the industry, we feel duty-bound to our customers to flag potential inconsistencies that can affect measurement. And raising awareness is a critical first step towards enacting positive change which will only come when we all demand more transparency. 

Ready to start making good choices?