Five reasons why 2022 is the year to start App-Tracking

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Find out why affiliate marketing is perfectly positioned to capitalise on 2022’s expected €137 billion in consumer app spend.

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Implementing affiliate tracking within your e-commerce app can significantly boost affiliate performance. Without it, affiliate sales that complete in the app go unrecognised, unrewarded and unreported. 2021 saw Awin’s biggest year for App Tracking and, when we dive into the data, it becomes clear that there really is no better time to get started with affiliate App Tracking.

 Reason 1: It’s the right time

Upon entering 2021 there was, justifiably, much more caution surrounding investment decisions than had been seen in other years. Closing 2020 with over 5,000,000 (+276% YoY) in-app sales for our clients, and well over €7 million in commission for our publishers (+250% YoY), it was clear that App Tracking was a valuable endeavor for publishers and advertisers alike. At a time lacking in stability, it was unknown whether businesses would be open to investing in new technical projects, like implementing App Tracking onto their affiliate programmes. Despite obstacles like reduced workforces, decreased budgets and the increasingly prevalent topic of consumer privacy, a fervor for heightened conversion metrics, reliable tracking, publisher fairness and data dependability prevailed. Awin was able to more than double the number of advertiser programmes tracking in-app events on the network, exceeding 100 live programmes.

This seemingly humble group of advertisers (when compared to Awin’s whole portfolio of advertisers) have collectively achieved +155% in app-based revenue on the network when comparing 2021 performance to that of 2020. By September 2021, App Tracking metrics on the network had exceeded the app performance we saw across the entire year in 2020, and that was with 2021’s peak trading period still to come.

As we move in to 2022, App Tracking shows no sign of slowing down and can no longer be considered an optional add-on but rather a fundamental part of successful affiliate programmes.

Reason 2: App Tracking does add incremental value

An exciting trend that Awin has seen with its tracked app events is the wave of performance coming from Brazilian advertisers – they’re in the top three regions for App Tracking this year. When looking at App Tracking launches in 2021, Brazilian advertisers account for over 50% of all performance. One advertiser implemented App Tracking in H1 2021 and a mere two months after the launch, had seen huge increases across all their KPIs, with sales and revenue exceeding a 70% uplift. It’s worth emphasising that their non-app performance did not see a dip, it grew alongside the addition of tracked app events. Another advertiser on the network saw their number of sales increase by over 150% the month following the App Tracking launch with almost 50% coming from app sales alone.

These are just a couple of examples of how App Tracking has added incremental value for an affiliate programme, making it a vital component to grow an affiliate programme.

Reason 3: Changing tech and privacy make affiliates the current best fit for App Tracking

Whilst Awin hasn’t been unaffected by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the effects have, thus far, been very slight when looking at overall App Tracking performance on the network. Of course, multiple variables come into play here; some regions have seen bigger drops in performance than others just as certain advertisers have been more heavily impacted than others. This is based on several factors – the split of Android vs. iOS devices in any given region, the rate in which iOS users update their OS, the consent rate of the users that have updated to iOS14.5+ and whether the advertiser is fully ATT compliant.

The minimal effect experienced at Awin is not universal. Facebook, conversely, is providing fewer targeting campaigns and a declining reach for its clients. Unsurprisingly, Facebook attributes this to Apple’s ATT framework and the consequent difficulty in tracking and attribution.

So why do Awin stand out and continue to grow in this space where other advertising networks are suffering? The affiliate channel is data-light and focuses its attention on in-app purchases rather than installations. With privacy and tech changes having minimal effect on the affiliate journey it’s no surprise that the industry is seeing increased investment from businesses due to the high ROI figures it yields. For online businesses, the affiliate approach to App Tracking offers a friction free experience with minimal lost sales. Something which can’t be said for Facebook.

Reason 4: You can forecast App Tracking sales

It will come as no surprise that Awin’s tracked in-app events saw a huge surge over the course of November, specifically over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

As the graph above shows, tracked in-app events mirror the performance patterns of the entire network’s tracked performance. These patterns can be seen across all KPIs. The Awin network saw the top three sub-industries as Health & Beauty, Department Stores and Clothing over the peak period – whilst the ordering changed slightly, these were also the top three sub-industries for in-app events for that period. The use of mobile is continuing to increase over time, now reaching over four hours a day and Awin’s total tracked clicks for the month of November reflect this:

With what we know about superior metrics in-app and the increased use of mobile, App Tracking will continue to play a significant part in the make-up of successful affiliate programmes. As App Tracking sales mirror those of the network it becomes significantly easier to plan and forecast the impact of integrating affiliate App Tracking, justifying any required tech work with the clear value add it brings.

Reason 5: It has the support of Social

You’re probably already aware that Instagram made affiliate marketing accessible to all on 27th October 2021. It made sharing links in stories available to everyone so that the feature was no longer restricted to verified accounts or those with over 10,000 followers. Content publishers, of which ‘Social Platforms’ are a sub-vertical, are the second largest publisher vertical for app-based transactions. It is expected that Instagram’s announcement will drive an even higher proportion of app transactions for this publisher vertical. In 2021, Content made up 23% of all app sales through a staggering three million transactions. While looking at US app sales specifically, almost 80% of all app sales were made through Content publishers.

Any user that clicks on an affiliate link from an Instagram story, and if they already have the app downloaded for that advertiser (and sometimes even if they don’t), will most likely be directed to the app. The issue with this journey is that unless the advertiser in question has launched App Tracking on their affiliate programme, any conversions that occur in-app will not be tracked and thus the publisher will not be fairly rewarded for the sales generated.

Pushing users to complete the journey in-app makes sense for advertisers and publishers alike; with social media taking up an enormous proportion of peoples’ time spent on mobile, it makes sense to drive these users in-app where engagement rates, conversion rates and AOVs are knowingly higher (up to 300% as per CleverTap) than both desktop and mobile-sites.

With Instagram’s blessing, the case for App Tracking is even stronger, showing that 2022 really is the time to get started with App Tracking.

If you are still unsure if App Tracking is right for you then consider the ever-growing use of mobile (which now has over 50% of the share worldwide when compared to desktop [43%] & tablet [2%] as per statcounter). Awin expect to see continued (if not enhanced) zeal and growth for App Tracking well into 2022. With 4.2 hours a day being spent on mobile (+30% from 2019) and conversion metrics proving to be superior in-app than on even mobile-optimised sites, it’s important to capitalise on this as the trend continues to grow.

Awin has strong partnerships with some of the largest Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) in the space like Branch, Adjust, Appsflyer, Kochava and Singular, as well as Button, and offers on hand support to advertisers throughout their journey to App Tracking – from picking the right Software Development Kit (SDK) provider to commissioning app events on our clients’ programmes, we’re here to help.

If you are ready to get started with App Tracking or have any questions, please get in touch with your dedicated Awin point of contact or fill in this form, and our App Specialist will get back to you.

For a full list of Awin advertisers that are already live with App Tracking as of February 2022, click here.

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