Discrepancies in App Install Attribution

Unavoidable discrepancies

There are several unavoidable factors that result in reasonable levels of discrepancies between the number of install and in-app conversions reported in Google Ads compared with those reported by a third party.

  • When tracking more than one network with a third party, conversion data will be deduplicated across networks.
  • Google Ads reports conversions by the day of the ad interaction (for example: click, impression, etc.), not the day of the conversion event.
  • Android install conversion data tracked from Google Play measures the number of app installs, whereas third-party install data measures the number of times the app is first opened.
  • There might be time zone differences in reporting. Google uses the local time as set in the advertiser's account.
  • Google Ads receives conversion pings from third-parties, but it can take several hours (sometimes up to 24 hours) for the conversion data to be processed and shown in Google Ads conversion reporting.
  • Google Ads tracks Android installs and re-installs (by uninstalled users) as install conversions, but not all third parties track Android re-installs.
  • Google Ads conversions set to count "Every" conversion will track more conversions than third-party reports, as many third parties count only "One" conversion. Read more about the Google Ads conversion count setting.
  • The conversion lookback window might be set differently between Google Ads and the third party. By default, Google Ads tracks first open or install conversions within 30 days of the ad interaction, and in-app conversions within 90 days of the ad interaction.

Identifying discrepancies

When identifying discrepancies between Google Ads install and in-app conversion numbers versus those tracked by a third party, it is important to consider the difference in attribution methodology.

Since Google Ads reports conversions by the day of the ad interaction and the majority of third parties report conversions based on the day of the conversion event, it is recommended to compare conversion numbers with ad clicks from a specific time frame.

Example

  • In Google Ads, view conversion numbers within a specific date range, for example, 7 days starting on January 1st.
  • In the third party, view conversion numbers attributed to ad clicks from the set date range (for example, clicks for 7 days starting on January 1st), but when pulling conversion data start on day 1 of the set date range (January 1st) and extend the time frame to accommodate the Google Ads conversion window (a 30-day conversion window would result in evaluation of conversion data from January 1st to January 31st).

Troubleshooting discrepancies

There are several factors that may impact discrepancies between Google Ads install and in-app conversion numbers versus those tracked by a third party, outside of the expected unavoidable discrepancies listed above. Below are additional steps that can be taken to troubleshoot these discrepancies:

  • Confirm the event has been imported into the relevant Google Ads account.
  • Confirm all events are being passed to Google for Google Ads attribution.
  • Confirm the attribution lookback window in the third-party dashboard is aligned with the conversion window set in Google Ads.
  • Ensure that auto-tagging is enabled in the Google Ads account.
  • Confirm all events are being passed with the correct Developer Token and Link ID.
  • Confirm the correct Link ID is being shared with the relevant account.
  • For re-installs on Android, check the Google Play Developer Console to view percent of re-installs.

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Mobile Apps Conversion Tracking and Remarketing
Mobile Apps Conversion Tracking and Remarketing