AdWords Checklist

Accurately attributing app installs to their source is the most important part of any app tracking integration. In order to ensure that accurate install numbers are available to customers in both AdWords and your own interface, we recommend using the checklist of core best practices below.


  • Make sure that tracking redirects don't interfere with AdWords attribution.
    • Instruct advertisers who use tracking URLs to enable auto-tagging in their AdWords account.
    • You must pass the entire referrer parameter through to Google Play upon redirect. This should be enabled for all AdWords ad clicks regardless of advertiser configuration.
  • Your own attribution system should use referrer-based attribution to determine which installs were driven by AdWords ad clicks.
    • When the install referrer parameter contains a gclid (Google click ID) value, this indicates that the last click to the app's Google Play page, prior to the install, came from AdWords.
    • When you detect AdWords clicks that don't contain a gclid, warn the customer that auto-tagging needs to be enabled.
    • We recommend that you not use other methods to estimate which installs came from AdWords ad clicks on Android.
  • Inform customers of unavoidable discrepancies in the form of user interface notices or publicly available support documents.
  • After you've completed all the above steps, verify your install numbers with your Google point of contact.


  • When customers activate AdWords in your tracking tool, ensure that you enable "postbacks" to notify AdWords of every new iOS app install by default.
    • Let your customers know that as part of the setup process for an iOS AdWords tracker on your site, they'll need to create an "install" conversion in AdWords if they don't already have one.
    • Ensure that customers supply an AdWords conversion ID and a conversion label—with these two parameters you can construct a valid postback URL. Check that you get reasonable input values for these two parameters. If customers are able to postpone this step, show a persistent warning that setup is not complete until install postbacks are fully configured.
    • Don't provide an option to turn off install postbacks to customers who are tracking app installs with AdWords—install postbacks is a necessary feature for attribution to work correctly.
  • Use "confirmed installs" from AdWords in your attribution logic to determine which installs were driven by AdWords.
    • When customers activate AdWords in your tracking tool, instruct them to add the correct "install confirmation" URL for your tracking tool in their AdWords account.
    • To confirm iOS app installs, your tracking solution should parse the HTTP responses from AdWords: 302 responses indicate that the install did come from AdWords, while 200 responses mean that it did not.
    • The click timestamp provided in the "install confirmation" response header can be used to determine the last-click for de-duplicating attribution across channels.
    • Customers should be alerted to a possible setup problem in your interface if more than 1000 clicks on an AdWords campaign have occured and 24 hours have elapsed without any install confirmations on any of those clicks.
  • Segment AdWords reports by network (search, AdMob, mobile display ads on the web, YouTube) so customers can distinguish AdWords confirmed installs (available on AdMob and YouTube) from estimates that might be provided for untrackable channels (such as search and mobile web display).
    • Ads that show on the mobile web (Google Search or the Google Display Network) don't allow for confirmed installs on iOS.
  • After you've completed all the above steps, verify your install numbers with your Google point of contact.

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Third-Party Apps Conversion Tracking
Third-Party Apps Conversion Tracking