What is K-Factor and How to Calculate it?

What is K-Factor and How to Calculate it?

What is the K-Factor: Optimal Definition

The K-Factor is a metric inspired by the medical field and, more specifically, the concept of the basic reproduction number in epidemiology. The mobile marketing industry created the K-Factor to measure the virality of a digital property, such as an application, a website, or an eCommerce platform’s customer base.

In marketing, “virality” refers to the word-of-mouth potential, or in other words, the number of new users gained through a single existing user at no additional costs to the publisher.


Suppose that 100 existing users of an application talk about it to their friends. If each user can convince 3 of their friends to install the app and become new users themselves, the virality effect has caused the userbase to grow by 300, with an average of 3 new users per existing user.

The higher the K-Factor, the higher the virality, meaning more people talk about your digital property and become new users.

Why is the K-Factor Important for Your Online Business?

The K-Factor is a key performance indicator (KPI) measuring the effectiveness of your ad campaigns’ user acquisition rates.

The best way to understand the importance of the K-Factor is to view it as the equivalent of an interest rate. It helps you assess how your non-organic user growth (users acquired through paid advertising) affects the organic user growth (users acquired without paying fees).

If you need to optimize user acquisition and increase your digital property’s reach, it is crucial to understand how the K-Factor functions and the best ways to boost it.

Calculating the K-Factor

The K-Factor is calculated by taking the number of invites sent by each existing user and multiplying it by the percentage of successful conversions. An invite typically takes the form of a referral URL redirecting the potential new user to a website’s sign-up form or an application’s corresponding app store page.

A conversion occurs when someone completes the sign-up process, installs the new app, or finishes the process to become a new user after clicking on the referral URL.

A high number of sent invites per user indicates that existing users actively recommend the site, app, or digital property to others. A high conversion rate means that the people seeing referral links are highly likely to complete the process and become new users.

K-Factor Formula 

The K-Factor formula is as follows:

I × C = K


  • The I-Factor is the average number of invites sent per user.
  • The C-Factor equals the conversion rate of these invites.
  • The K-Factor equals I times C.


Suppose you are the publisher of a specific mobile game and know that your user base comprises 2,000 active users. You are starting an invitation cycle to encourage existing active users to invite their friends to install the game by offering in-game rewards for each successful installation.

  • If each user invites an average of 5 friends, your app’s I-Factor is 5.
  • If each invite successfully converts 1 out of 8 people on average, the conversion rate is 12.5%. Therefore, your app’s C-Factor equals 0.125.
  • The K-Factor formula is equal to I × C. In this instance, it is 5 × 0.125 = 0.625. Therefore, the app’s K-Factor is 0.625, or 62.5%.

In the above example, a complete invitation cycle will result in your active user count growing by 62.5%: from 2,000 to 3,250 users. If the second invitation cycle yields the same results, your active user count will increase from 3,250 to approximately 5,281 users. Assuming a steady K-Factor, the game’s active user count will exceed 1 million after 13 cycles.

How is an App’s K-Factor Determined?

Although the K-Factor formula is essential to understand how it works in theory, additional factors make determining a real-world application’s K-Factor more complex. In practice, tracking every single invite is impractical, especially those intended to be shared externally (e.g., referral URLs, codes, etc.).

While technically possible, your application would need numerous permissions (access to the user’s identity, phone call history, text messages, contacts, calendars, etc.) to track the information accurately. Upon installing the app and seeing the extensive list of permission requests, users may feel the app is invading their privacy.

Instead of tracking complete data regarding invites, most app developers use another more practical and more privacy-friendly method to determine an application’s K-factor.

According to the standard formula, K equals the number of invites sent multiplied by the invite conversion rate. However, instead of tracking the number of invites sent, a more straightforward solution is to use an alternative formula based on the number of users gained from accepted invites.

Although encouraging users to send invites is essential, the number of invites sent isn’t needed; only the number of invites accepted is crucial. To illustrate why, consider the following: if a single user sends 30 invites and converts 3, they have effectively achieved the same results as a user that sends three invites and converts three new users.

As a result, the K-Factor can be determined simply by measuring the number of users gained from invites.

In this case, the practical K-Factor formula is:

K = Number of users converted by invites


The publisher of a fitness application with an active user base of 3,000 decides to launch an invitation cycle. At the end of that cycle, the app’s number of active users grows to 3,600, representing a 20% increase. As the number of active users started at 3,000, we can determine invites brought in 600 new users. Therefore, the app’s practical K-Factor is 600.

What is the Churn Rate?

The churn rate, also known as the abandonment rate or attrition rate, is the percentage of users that become inactive after a set period has passed.

An inactive user is a user that stops engaging with the app, website, or digital property. The most typical forms of abandonment include failing to log in and uninstalling the application.

The churn rate period is typically equal in length to that of an invitation cycle, as it helps an app publisher compare how many users they’re gaining from word-of-mouth with the number of users they’re losing to abandonment.


During the last 30-day invitation cycle, the fitness application’s analytics dashboard recorded that 145 users stopped using the app regularly, meaning they are no longer considered active users. In this instance, the app’s churn rate is 145.

How to tell a good K-Factor value from a bad one?

On its own, the K-Factor tells you the number of users you’ve gained through virality instead of ad campaigns. While user growth is a generally positive effect, you ideally want to ensure that you gain more users than you lose for each invitation cycle or set period.

The best way to use the K-Factor is to compare it to your churn rate and calculate whether your user base is naturally growing or declining. To do so, divide your practical K-Factor by your churn rate.

  • If the ratio is superior to 1, your user base has naturally gained more users from invites than it has lost to abandonment, resulting in overall growth. The higher the number, the faster and more exponential the growth.
  • If the ratio is equal to 1, it means you are gaining as many users from invites as you are losing to churn. Your app’s virality compensates for its churn.
  • If the ratio is inferior to 1, you are losing more users to churn than you gain from invites, which may indicate an overall user base decline.

In other words, a good K-Factor is superior to the churn rate, whereas a bad one is inferior. If both values are equal, your K-Factor is neutral.

K-Factor Chart Example

Below is a chart illustrating 3 example applications, one with a good K-Factor, one with a neutral K-Factor, and one with a bad K-Factor.

App 1 (Good)

App 2 (Neutral)
App 3 (Bad)
Churn Rate
Growth ratio

How to Boost your App’s K-Factor

If you’re looking to boost your app’s virality, it is critical to identify and understand which elements affect your K-Factor. Here are the 5 best practices and recommendations to optimize your digital property’s K-Factor and boost your app’s user growth.

1. Build a High-Quality App

Although it may seem like general advice, a high-quality application that is well-designed, attracts its intended audience, and is as easy to use as possible generally tends to be shared and talked about by its users.

Consequently, the first and most critical step to increase your application’s virality and K-Factor is to ensure it is the best possible product. Users who enjoy using your application and recognize it as a quality product are naturally more likely to recommend it to friends, family, and others.

2. Optimize your App’s Shareability

The shareability of an application is the combination of features and elements that make it easy for users to share content or talk about the application. These features can take on many forms, depending on the type and purpose of your application.

For example, if your app is a mobile game featuring an in-game achievement system, social media integration is a typical example of a shareability feature. Users can, for instance, connect the game to their social media accounts and automatically send a post to the platform of their choice when they obtain a specific achievement.

It is also crucial to consider whether your app has elements that decrease shareability. A critical part of making an app more shareable is to make it as easy and convenient to use, with as few hurdles between the user and the content and features they enjoy. This principle is especially true for new users; enhancing the first-time user experience is crucial to ensure new users continue using the app and become active, regular users.

For example, users usually dislike apps that repeatedly ask to leave comments or reviews, as it interrupts their experience. They may also view your app negatively if it requests too many privacy permissions or overly complex login systems.

3. Encourage Users to Invite Newcomers

A highly effective method of ensuring your active user base sends more invites is to offer in-app incentives for inviting newcomers onto the application. Typically, the condition for a successful conversion is when the newcomer has installed and opened the app for the first time, creating a new user.

For example, a mobile game may incentivize sending referral codes by offering users free quantities of in-game currency in exchange for each new user they invite. Developers can modify this method according to the specifics of the game; the rewards offered can be sent to both inviter and invitee, premium currency instead of standard, etc.

Although this method is most well-known for its use in mobile games, developers of non-game apps can also take advantage of this method, provided there is a reward or a bonus of some sort for users that do so.

4. Understand Your Audience

The K-Factor is a key performance indicator providing you with crucial information regarding user acquisition. As your user base grows, analyzing the data and profiles of the new users acquired through virality can help you obtain valuable insight into who your audience is and what types of users drive your K-Factor. 

The information obtained is critical to understanding your user base’s demographics, allowing you to adapt, modify, and improve your application and user acquisition campaigns accordingly.

5. Never Stop Experimenting

It is a good practice to regularly experiment, optimize, or modify your application or digital property to try and find novel methods of bringing in users. Don’t hesitate to use all the tools at your disposal: analyze your UA campaigns, ad creatives, and other analytics resources to find actionable data and information, then implement changes according to your findings. Afterward, monitor your user base statistics to see what helps the K-Factor grow more efficiently.

Increase Your Mobile App’s Revenue with CodeFuel

Whether you are the developer or publisher of a mobile application, a website, or another type of digital property, CodeFuel’s team is here for you. We can help you optimize your revenue streams, increase the effectiveness of your monetization strategies, and help you grow your app’s user base and profitability. Contact us today to get started.

What is Programmatic Media Buying and What is Programmatic Advertising Explained

What is Programmatic Media Buying and What is Programmatic Advertising Explained

Programmatic media buying, also called programmatic advertising, is an automated method and process of purchasing digital advertising space in real-time auctions. This technology of media buying uses data and algorithms to deliver targeted ads to the right audience at the right time and on the right device. In this post, we’ll explore what programmatic media buying is, how it works, and its benefits.

What is Programmatic Media Buying?

Programmatic media buying is the process of using technology to automate the buying, placement, and optimization of digital ads. Programmatic media buying is differentiated from traditional media buying, which involves less automation and slower manual processes.

Programmatic media buying eliminates the need for manual processes such as negotiation, phone calls, and paperwork. Instead, the technology uses algorithms and data to place ads in front of the right audience at the right time. This saves advertisers time and resources, allowing them to focus on strategy and creativity.

Programmatic media buying processes are divided into four groups: real-time bidding (RTB), private marketplaces (PMP), preferred deals, and programmatic direct.

  • Real-time bidding (RTB) is open to any advertiser and publisher, allowing them to buy and sell ads through instant, automated auctions. This type of programmatic media buying process is also known as open auctions.
  • A private marketplace (PMP) functions on the same technical principles as an RTB open auction but imposes limitations on who is allowed to join. Typically, a PMP is reserved for selected advertisers on an invite-only basis, although some platforms may allow advertisers to apply to join.
  • Preferred deals, also known as spot buying, are a compromise between RTB and private marketplaces. Under the preferred deal model, publishers and selling entities may offer inventory for a preferred, fixed price. In turn, buyers have “first-look” privileges, allowing them to see the ad spaces before negotiating a deal. Unsold preferred-deal inventory generally goes to an open auction.
  • Programmatic direct refers to the direct sale of media inventory from a publisher to an advertiser without using an auction system or competing with other publishers. Although it allows publishers and advertisers to enter into agreements directly, programmatic direct platforms automate the placement of the ads and allow both parties to negotiate the costs.

How Influential is Programmatic Media Buying?

Although programmatic media buying technologies have existed in some capacity since the early 2000s, an eMarketer study revealed they became the dominant form of digital display advertising in the United States in 2015.

Programmatic media and programmatic ad buying technologies have entirely changed how businesses operate and use online advertising. Compared to more traditional methods in the past, programmatic ads and technologies have expanded the reach of digital advertising, optimized the use of ad space, and enhanced ad-serving effectiveness.

Programmatic media buying is faster and more cost effective than traditional equivalents, resulting in reduced operating costs and higher returns on investment.

What is Programmatic Advertising, Then?

Programmatic advertising is a synonymous term for programmatic media buying. Both terms refer to the same concepts that let advertisers and publishers buy and sell:

  1. online display spaces (e.g., ad spaces) using automated processes,
  2. traffic data,
  3. and online display targeting.

Their main aim is to generate impressions.

How Does Programmatic Media Buying Work?

Programmatic media buying platforms form a unique environment called the programmatic advertising environment or programmatic ecosystem. This environment comprises multiple technologies and entities crucial to the programmatic ad serving process. Each plays a unique and critical role in managing programmatic ads, programmatic advertising costs, automated ad-serving, and display selling processes.

Although numerous technologies power the underlying processes, the programmatic media buying process is relatively simple. Here are the essential steps explaining how programmatic media buying works::

  1. Advertisers start new ad campaigns, design ad creatives, and use a demand-side platform (DSP) to purchase suitable ad space automatically.
  2. DSPs connect to ad exchanges and check for available ad spaces listed on supply-side platforms (SSPs).
  3. Users visit websites with suitable ad spaces. When a new visitor is detected, DSPs and data management platforms determine whether the visitor matches the targeting criteria of available advertisements.
  4. If a visitor matches audience targeting criteria, a DSP issues an ad request to an SSP through an ad exchange, launching an auction to obtain the visitor’s impression. Ads requested can be of any type as long as it matches the ad space. Typical examples include display ads and native programmatic advertising.
  5. The DSP processes the ad creative’s data and audience targeting parameters, then instantaneously places a bid for the impression via real-time bidding (RTB).
  6. The SSP compares bids placed by all participating DSPs and selects an auction winner. Typically, the impression goes to the highest bidder, although SSPs may sometimes impose a price floor to ensure the winning ad is of higher quality.

This entire process occurs every time a user visits a website with functional, suitable ad spaces. It generally takes no more than a few milliseconds, well within the average web page load times.

What are the Main Components of Programmatic Advertising?

The main components of the programmatic advertising environment are 3. They include sell-side platforms (SSP), demand side platforms, and ad exchanges.

1. Sell-Side Platforms (SSPs)

A sell-side platform, also known as a supply-side platform (SSP), is an adtech software platform and a component of the programmatic ecosystem designed to assist publishers, digital media owners, and others in display selling. The primary purpose of an SSP is to automate the management, optimization, and sale of ad space from an ad exchange.

SSPs are also designed to connect to demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad exchanges, ensuring that the available ad space for sale will be given to the highest possible number of potential buyers and maximizing the potential revenue.

2. Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)

A demand-side platform (DSP) is the buyer’s equivalent of an SSP. This adtech software platform is designed to assist advertisers, media buying agencies, and other buying entities. The primary purpose of a DSP is to automate bidding on ads and associated decision-making processes, such as bid amounts or target audiences..

DSPs allow advertisers to upload their ad creatives and connect to multiple ad exchanges and sell-side platforms (SSPs) to look for suitable ad spaces to display them. Automation then handles the bidding and ad-buying processes according to the advertiser’s parameters (e.g., target audiences, budget limits, integrations, etc.), automatically assigning ads to the best and most suited spaces.

3. Ad Exchanges

An ad exchange is an online digital marketplace accessible to advertisers, publishers, SSPs, and DSPs. The ad exchange is at the center of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, functioning as an intermediary.

The primary purpose of the ad exchange is to serve as the platform through which buying and selling entities can trade ad inventory and purchase ad inventory together. Ad exchanges host the real-time bidding (RTB) processes allowing for the buying and selling of ad inventory. They can accept nearly any type of ad creative, from native ads to display ads, mobile interstitials, and video ads.

Although many automated processes exist to ensure a sale takes place within a few milliseconds, the operating principle of an ad exchange is that of simple supply and demand. 

Publishers supply ad spaces and look for the highest bidder to buy ad space (ad inventory), whereas advertisers look for ad spaces with the best features and visibility to obtain a good return on investment.

Why is it Worth Choosing Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising offers numerous advantages to buyers and sellers, the most significant of which is the automation and streamlining of many manual, time-consuming tasks.

In the traditional media buying methods of the past, securing a deal to sell ad space involved many elements, such as negotiations, requests for proposals (RFPs), audience targeting, manual implementation of ads, and more.

Programmatic advertising lets machines handle all these aspects, saving publishers and advertisers considerable time, increasing the publishers’ reach, boosting the effectiveness and ROI for advertisers through better audience targeting, and decreasing advertising costs.

Programmatic advertising optimizes the processes to ensure that the right audiences see the best ads at the right time for the right price.

Good Programmatic Advertising Ad Campaign Examples

Numerous advertisers and companies have used programmatic advertising to their advantage, creating compelling ad campaigns. Below are three prominent examples of good programmatic ad campaigns.

1. Google Search App

In 2014, the search engine giant adopted programmatic advertising for the first time to improve the performance of their digital advertising campaigns. In doing so, Google became one of the earliest adopters of the technology. At the time, Google’s programmatic ad tech and marketing strategy focused on promoting the Google Search App, using first-party and third-party data to create a custom audience targeting solution.

Google’s adoption of programmatic advertising has resulted in a 50% increase in brand awareness, 30% lower cost per mille (CPM), and increased reach equivalent to 30% more users reached three times more frequently.

The search engine giant had set a target for 2014: to buy 60% of the company’s brand display marketing using programmatic media buying. The program was so successful that Google not only met but exceeded that goal, reaching 73% at the end of that year.

Google Media Lab representative Brendan Starr cited real-time ad campaign optimization as one of the most powerful advantages of this technology. This advantage allowed Google staff to refine their ability to target and reach audiences much more effectively than then-standard post-campaign reports.

2. Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s is another early adopter of programmatic advertising technology, first using it to boost sales in 2014, the same year as Google.

As a multinational food manufacturing company, Kellogg’s business depends on offline sales. This particularity meant the company had to overcome the challenge of using a technology primarily designed to drive views and sell products online. They determined the most critical key performance indicators (KPI) of a digital ad campaign for offline products were viewability (how likely a user is to see an ad) and frequency (how often a user views the same ad).

The cereal company used programmatic advertising technologies to maximize their ads’ viewability and frequency as much as possible, even partnering with ad management company DoubleClick to improve their audience targeting performance.

Programmatic advertising helped Kellogg’s achieve 70% to 80% more viewability and 2x to 3x more accurate targeting.

3. The Economist

The Economist, a well-known U.S.-based print and digital news publication, adopted programmatic advertising in 2016 to increase readership. To do so, the company analyzed its extensive audience data to gain more insights into how its existing subscribers interact with the site and its content.

After determining reader categories among The Economist subscribers (e.g., Politics, finance, economics, etc.), the publication treated each category as a separate target audience and designed ad creatives tailored to each. For instance, a reader in the Finance category would primarily see ads promoting its latest or most viewed finance stories. They then used programmatic advertising to distribute the ads, creating 60 different creatives.

At the end of their first programmatic ad campaign, the results came in, and The Economist benefitted in numerous ways: 1 million unique viewers, 650,000 new prospects, $650,000 earnings in ad revenue, 9,500 new subscribers with a lifetime value of over $15 million, and a 64% increase in the publication’s awareness.

The ad campaign resulted in a 10-to-1 return on investment, meaning The Economist earned about ten times the amount they spent on the campaign. The Economist’s efforts resulted in a nomination at the 8th Shorty Awards in the Multi-Platform Campaign category, citing how the ad campaign had changed viewers’ perception of the publication.

Why is Programmatic Advertising a Success?

According to eMarketer, the total spending on programmatic advertising in the United States alone was $75.09 billion in 2020 and is projected to rise to $141.96 billion by the end of 2023. There is no denying it: programmatic advertising is a success, making up an overwhelming majority of total digital ad spend. Understanding the top reasons why programmatic advertising is successful will help you see why it has become dominant in the ad tech sector.

More Accurate Targeting with AI software

Programmatic advertising platforms employ the latest advances in automation and algorithmic technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to facilitate most of the processes in media buying.

For example, programmatic advertising platforms can use AI to power their audience targeting tools. They can track down the most relevant and highest-intent viewers, resulting in high-quality ads displayed to audiences most likely to show interest in the product.

Better Reach

Programmatic advertising technologies are ideally suited for leveraging all possible advertising avenues and maximizing your reach.

They can serve ads of all ad types and ad formats, including native ads, video ads, interstitials, display ads, connected TV (CTV), and more, on desktop and mobile platforms.

Improved Ad Campaign Cost-Effectiveness

The most significant factor behind the success of programmatic advertising is the time and money saved by leveraging automation technologies. Programmatic platforms can secure deals and help place ads on available spaces to the right audiences within milliseconds.

Technologies such as real-time bidding also ensure that the ad inventory is bought and sold at the best possible prices, helping reduce the costs of an ad campaign.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising to Advertisers

From the advertiser’s point of view, programmatic advertising has made it easier to reach their intended audiences, boosting sales and impressions more efficiently than any other digital advertising method. The top three benefits of programmatic advertising for advertisers are scalability, a real-time, data-driven approach, and high transparency.

1. Scalability and Flexibility

Regardless of the size of their business, advertisers of all kinds can take full advantage of programmatic advertising. Whether the advertiser belongs to a small or medium business or a major multinational company, programmatic advertising is designed to scale to the advertiser’s needs.

There are various tools and options if you have a limited marketing budget, such as daily budget ceilings and overall spending control systems. They all allow advertisers to precisely control how much they want to invest in their ad spend. Advertisers may simply scale their spending up or down as needed as their business grows or declines, making it flexible and adaptable.

2. Access to Real-Time Data

Programmatic advertising comprises data analysis and application technologies. Programmatic would not function if it didn’t have access to large amounts of data in real time. Consequently, advertisers and marketers can see and use the information to their advantage to make any changes or modifications they need to their ad campaigns.

For instance, if the data reveals a particular trend in the middle of a campaign, an advertiser can adjust their programmatic advertising campaign’s settings on the fly to try and capitalize on this new trend.

3. Transparency

Programmatic media buying provides advertisers with real-time data and insights, allowing them to optimize their campaigns.

Advertisers concerned about associating their products and services with suitable ad spaces can access numerous tools and options to ensure their brand’s safety. 

For example, a programmatic advertising platform can display information regarding where their (banner) ads are being displayed, what types of audiences they attract, and how efficient the campaign is. These metrics are critical for advertisers looking to fine-tune the effectiveness of their ad campaigns while ensuring they communicate the right messages to the right audiences.

4. Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness

Programmatic media buying eliminates the need for manual processes, saving advertisers time and resources.

It allows advertisers to bid on ad inventory in real-time, resulting in more efficient use of advertising budgets. The use of an AI software that regulates bidding caps allows advertisers to also be more cost-efficient.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising to Publishers

Publishers have also significantly benefited from the introduction of programmatic advertising technologies. Like advertisers, publishers of all sizes can use programmatic advertisers to grow their business more efficiently than previous-generation digital advertising methods.

The top three benefits of programmatic advertising to publishers are:

  • advanced technology support, 
  • efficient inventory and data management platform, and 
  • detailed reporting.

1. Support from Advanced Technologies

Modern programmatic advertising platforms are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms. These can analyze and predict trends regarding ad viewership and assist publishers by automating many tedious tasks, such as audience targeting, efficient ad placement, or bidding strategies.

2. Efficient Inventory Management

Programmatic advertising services are ideally suited to manage a publisher’s ad space inventory. Most platforms today can help publishers manage ad types, locations, and segmentation, ensuring that a publisher’s available supply of ad spaces is filled and efficiently utilized.  

3. Detailed Reporting

Just as they can provide numerous data types in real time to advertisers, programmatic advertising platforms today can create highly detailed and personalized data reports for publishers. They contain crucial information and insights to understand a publisher’s ad operation performance, allowing them to find the best opportunities to grow and improve their ad yield.

Programmatic Advertising Platforms & Tools to Use

Learn about the top five programmatic advertising platforms and why their features and options are among the best in the ad tech marketing industry.

  • Google Ad Manager (GAM): Ad Manager is the search engine giant’s programmatic advertising platform. This platform is an SSP, meaning it is aimed primarily at publishers. Over 75% of ad impressions in the United States are served through GAM.
  • PubMatic: PubMatic is a full-stack programmatic advertising platform suitable for advertisers and publishers. The platform’s top features include comprehensive real-time analytics, a powerful anti-fraud system, a sizable private marketplace (PMP), and a massive selection of ad types and formats.
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud: Publishers and advertisers looking to advertise through all media types often choose Adobe Advertising Cloud. This platform is compatible with a huge range of ad creatives: standard options like native, display, and video ads, and more specialized formats, such as connected TV (CTV), audio-only ads, and even search engine ads.
  • AdRoll: This programmatic advertising platform is owned by one of the oldest players in digital advertising, with over 15 years of experience working with over 120,000 of the world’s top brands. Top features include an easy-to-use interface, quick-start templates, world-class analytics systems, and high returns on investment.
  • SmartyAds: As another full-stack programmatic ad platform, SmartyAds offers a full suite of services for publishers and advertisers. One of the best uses for this platform is campaigns aiming to boost click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall engagement.

Common Misconceptions About Programmatic Media Buying

There are several common misconceptions that bring misunderstanding about programmatic media buying, including:

1. It’s too complex 

While programmatic media buying involves a complex ecosystem of players, it is still accessible to advertisers of all sizes and budgets.

2. It’s only for large advertisers

Programmatic media buying is accessible to advertisers of all sizes and budgets, allowing smaller businesses to compete with larger ones.

3. It’s only for digital advertising

While programmatic media buying is primarily used for digital advertising, it can also be used for traditional media such as TV and radio.

Boost your Digital Properties’ Profitability with CodeFuel

Programmatic advertising is one of the most efficient ways to advertise and serve ads in today’s world. If you need help getting started with your programmatic media buying journey, CodeFuel’s team of digital marketing experts can help you. Whether you are a publisher or an advertiser, we can help you leverage your digital marketing properties and extend their profitability. Contact us today to start.


How much does programmatic advertising cost?

An average programmatic ad campaign costs between $0.50 and $2 CPM (Cost Per Mille), meaning advertisers pay publishers between $0.50 and $2 for every 1,000 ad impressions generated.

Is programmatic media buying more expensive than traditional media buying?

Programmatic media buying can be more cost-effective than traditional media buying because it allows advertisers to bid on ad inventory in real time, resulting in more efficient use of advertising budgets.

Can programmatic media buying target specific audiences?

Yes, programmatic media buying uses data to target specific audience segments, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of ads.

How to integrate programmatic advertising into your marketing mix?

If you aren’t using programmatic advertising, the best way to integrate it into your marketing strategy and marketing mix is to join a programmatic advertising platform, such as a DSP or an SSP, and start using their tools and offerings today.

Is programmatic advertising “the future of ad buying”?

According to the latest recorded statistics on digital advertising, programmatic ads made up 84% of all digital ad spending worldwide in 2022 and are projected to rise to 87% by 2026. Ads purchased programmatically are not only the future of ad buying but have already become the norm.

Are programmatic buying and real-time bidding the same?

No. Real-time bidding (RTB) is a technology used in programmatic buying and is the most common way to buy and sell ad inventory; the two terms are not always interchangeable. 

Programmatic direct is one of the four programmatic media buying processes and does not always use any auction or bidding system and would not be the same as with real-time bidding.

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

When creating and managing an advertising campaign for your digital property, one of the most critical metrics publishers must understand is the conversion rate. 

The conversion rate is a percentage value corresponding to the number of users that completed a desired action (conversions) divided by the total number of users.

If the success of your business operations primarily depends on sales and revenue, then calculating and monitoring your conversion rate helps you:

  • Determine how many new customers you’re gaining over a set period
  • Scale your ad spend rates
  • Accurately estimate your business profitability
  • Allocate your advertising resources more efficiently

A good conversion rate means your ad campaign is successful, reflecting a robust marketing strategy. It serves as a crucial data point to avoid overspending on your marketing efforts, which can endanger your revenue and even put your entire business at risk.

Understanding the definition of a conversion rate, how to calculate your own conversion rate, and what is considered a good rate for your sector are essential marketing skills. The information provided by your conversion rates will help you improve sales and ensure your business’s growth and long-term sustainability. 

Definition of What Conversion Rate Is

In simple terms, your conversion rate is the percentage of users or visitors that completed a desired action, referred to as a conversion. Conversion occurs when a website, app, landing page, or digital property has successfully achieved a specifically defined objective with a visitor or typical user. The most common definition of a conversion is when a visitor completes a purchase. However, this is only one example of a conversion. The exact definition of conversion for your business depends on your business objectives. 

To understand what conversion rates do for your business, it is crucial to understand the different meanings of “conversion” in the marketing world and the few ways to use them. It is also necessary to know the important marketing metrics for conversions. Check them below.

Common Types of Conversions

Other examples of conversions include:

  • Creating a new account on your website;
  • Signing up for a newsletter by submitting an email address or email conversion rate;
  • Completing a download;
  • Installing an application and completing specific in-app tasks;
  • Engaging with a visitor on live chat;
  • Visiting a set number of webpages;
  • Submitting a form or survey answers;
  • Upgrading from a free service to a paid one;
  • A click on a call button;

A conversion occurs when a visitor or an otherwise anonymous user performs a measurable action that transforms them into a paying or potential customer.

How to Calculate Your Overall Conversion Rate in 3 Steps

To calculate your conversion rate, you must first determine three data points: a defined period (e.g., one week, one month, one year, etc.), the total number of conversions completed during this period, and the total number of non-converting interactions recorded during this period.

1. Total Conversions

After determining what constitutes a conversion according to your business objectives, setting up the conversion tracking events, and choosing a specific period to calculate the conversion tracking data, count the number of successful conversions over the defined period.

For example, an eCommerce business typically defines a conversion as a website user or app visitor finalizing a purchase and spending money on its digital storefront. Count these actions over a defined period (e.g., monthly purchases) to obtain the total conversions.

2. Total Interactions

An interaction refers to any action a user can make that isn’t a conversion but can be compared to one. Like conversions, the exact definition of a non-converting interaction also depends on your business objectives. Examples of interactions include the number of clicks on one of your ads, the number of unique visitors on your website, the number of sessions opened in an application, and more.

For example, an eCommerce business may consider simply using the application or visiting the digital storefront as an interaction; in which case, the number of website visits is counted over a defined period (e.g., monthly visits) to obtain the total number of interactions.

3. Divide Conversions by Interactions

Once you have the total conversions and total interactions for the defined time period, divide the former by the latter, and multiply the result by 100 to obtain a percentage.

More Specific Conversion Rates

The basic conversion rate formula can be applied to calculate simple conversion rates for your business. However, depending on your sector and specific objectives of the online business, you may need to know how to calculate more specific types of conversion rates.

1. Lifetime Conversion Rate

Also known as the overall conversion rate, the lifetime conversion rate may appear similar to a standard conversion rate at first glance. However, instead of calculating it over a set period, it is calculated over the entire lifespan of your business. Consequently, the lifetime conversion rate compares your total traffic with the total number of conversions ever achieved. Thus, you gain predictability of the total conversions and potential profit your business can generate from this customer.

2. Channel-Specific Conversion Rate

A channel-specific conversion rate is a conversion rate calculated using traffic or total users coming from a single advertising or marketing channel. Knowing channel-specific conversion rates helps you determine how efficient your marketing strategy is in this channel. It is also crucial to compare the performance of different channels and identify which work best.

For instance, if you use both Google Ads and Facebook Ads to advertise your digital property, you may want to know both your Google Ads and Facebook Ads conversion rates, helping you determine how much traffic you draw from these advertising channels and what percentage of that traffic converts.

3. Keyword Conversion Rate

If you are familiar with SEO optimization, you may already know that not all keywords are created equal, and some may draw more traffic than others. A similar concept exists in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): some keywords may draw a higher conversion rate than others.

The keyword conversion rate helps you identify which keywords result in the highest rate of conversions and how to re-allocate your resources (e.g., making changes to web page body content or product descriptions) accordingly.

4. Landing Page Conversion Rate

The landing page conversion rate helps you calculate the number of users that convert after navigating to a designated landing page.

This specific type of conversion rate is primarily useful for campaigns intended to draw traffic to your website (e.g., email advertising) and incite visitors to complete a particular task with a call-to-action (CTA), such as subscribing or making a purchase.

5. Ad Campaign Conversion Rate

If your business relies on paid advertising campaigns to draw traffic and incite them to convert directly after viewing the ad (e.g., advertising campaigns for a mobile app), you’ll want to know the conversion rate for each ad campaign.

Knowing your ad campaign conversion rates will help you measure the effectiveness of the ad creative and determine whether to allocate more resources to a particular campaign.

Conversion Rate Formulas

The basic conversion rate formula is:

Conversion rate = (Conversions ÷ Interactions) ✕ 100 

    For example, if an eCommerce business has recorded 45,385 visits (interactions) and 7,823 purchases (conversions) in one month, the conversion rate calculation is:

    (7,823 ÷ 45,385) ✕ 100 = approximately 17.23697%  

    This business’s monthly conversion rate is 17.24%.

    Website visits and purchases aren’t the only ways to define interactions and measure conversion rates. There are multiple ways to define a conversion rate and equally as many conversion rate formulas.

    Examples include:

    • Conversion rate = (App downloads ÷ Number of app store page views) ✕ 100
    • Conversion rate = (Unique newsletter subscriptions ÷ Blog visitors) ✕ 100
    • Conversion rate = (In-app purchases ÷ Application sessions opened) ✕ 100
    • Conversion rate = (Purchases completed ÷ Leads generated) ✕ 100

      What is Click-Through Rate?

      The click-through rate (CTR), also known as the click conversion rate, is a variant of the original conversion rate but designed to measure a specific metric: the number of conversions generated divided by the total number of clicks.

      Click-through rates are primarily used to measure the performance of click ads but can be used to determine the performance of any ad or mechanism where a click sends the user to a landing page or a similar environment where they gain an opportunity to convert.

      Conversion Rate Difference Vs. Click-Through Rate [+Formula Examples]

      The primary difference between the conversion rate and the click-through rate is what it measures. The conversion rate compares the number of conversions to the total number of users or visitors, whereas the click-through rate divides the number of conversions by the number of clicks on an ad or element.

      When expressed as a formula, the conversion rate is written as follows:

      Conversion rate = (Conversions ÷ Visitors) ✕ 100 

      In contrast, the formula for click-through rates is:

      Click-through rate = (Conversions ÷ Clicks) ✕ 100

      Profitability Based on Conversion Rates

      To understand the profitability of an ad from your conversion rates, it is critical first to understand where your traffic comes from and how much you spend to acquire a customer compared to how much you earn.

      While increasing conversion rates is generally beneficial for profitability and long-term business sustainability, you may want to have more precise numbers to better measure your current performance.

      For example, if your website gets most of its traffic from a Cost-per-Click (CPC) ad campaign, you pay a given amount of money each time a user clicks on one of your ads. Each click is an opportunity for a user to convert. A CPC ad campaign is profitable and successful if the conversions bring in more revenue than you spent on the ads.

      To determine profitability, you’ll need to know the following data points:

      • Number of clicks (visitors)
      • Number of orders placed (conversions)
      • Cost per click
      • Revenue from orders placed
      • Average revenue per order
      • Total ad spend costs

      Suppose you spend $20,000 to acquire 80,000 clicks. Your cost per click would be $0.25. If these clicks result in 800 orders placed worth $40 each, your conversion rate would be 1%, and your revenue from orders placed would be $32,000. These values correspond to a net profit of $12,000 and a return on investment (ROI) of 60%: you’ve earned 60% more sales from customers than you spent attracting them with ads.

      If no other factors change, increasing the conversion rate significantly increases profitability because you obtain more conversions from the same ad spend.

      Main Metric
      Orders placed
      Conversion rate
      Total ad spend costs
      Cost per click
      Revenue per order
      Total revenue
      Scenario with a 1% conversion rate
      Scenario with a 3% conversion rate
      Scenario with a 7% conversion rate

      Additional Metrics and Data Points for CRO

      While knowing your conversion rate is crucial, you should also keep an eye on additional metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help ensure the profitability and efficiency of your marketing campaign and know more about the process called CRO. The five most important metrics to remember are:

      • ROI, 
      • CAC,
      • AOV, 
      • LTV, and
      • CRO

      ROI (Return On Investment)

      ROI stands for Return On Investment. It is a way to measure the cost-effectiveness of your marketing campaign, particularly when conversions result in revenue.

      The ROI formula is:

      (Investment gains – Investment costs) ÷ Investment costs

      In this context, the investment costs refer to the amount spent on a marketing campaign, whereas the investment gains refer to the campaign’s revenues. Generally, the higher the conversion rate, the higher the ROI of the marketing campaigns. The higher number of conversions brings the average cost of acquiring a new customer down.

      CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

      CAC stands for Customer Acquisition Cost. It measures the average money you spend to acquire a new customer or ensure a new conversion. The lower the CAC, the better, as it indicates your marketing strategy is cost-effective.

      The CAC formula is calculated this way:

      Total costs of sales and marketing ÷ Number of customers acquired

      A higher conversion rate brings the CAC down and increases the ROI due to getting more customers for the same ad or marketing spend.

      AOV (Average Order Value) and RPV (Revenue Per Visitor)

      The Average Order Value (AOV) is the average amount of money a single customer spends on your app or digital storefront during a particular period.

      The AOV formula is simple:

      Total revenue ÷ Number of paying customers

      For example, if your app has generated $62,500 in revenue and 2,000 customers for March, your AOV for the month is $31.25.

      The AOV helps you evaluate the efficiency of your marketing strategy by determining how much money a given customer is likely to spend. The AOV also allows you to calculate your average Revenue Per Visitor (RPV).

      Multiply your conversion rate by your AOV to obtain the RPV. The higher the RPV, the more profitable your digital property is, as this key metric helps you track the average amount of money earned per visitor, regardless of whether they convert.


      Total visitors
      Conversion rate
      Total revenue
      Month 1
      Month 2
      Month 3

      LTV (Lifetime Value)

      A customer’s Lifetime Value (LTV) refers to the total amount of money a given customer spends on your storefront during their lifetime. A customer’s lifetime is the amount of time they spend forming a relationship with your brand, app, or company. For example, the lifetime of a mobile app user can be calculated from the amount of time they spent actively using it.

      LTV can be calculated using different methods and formulas, depending on your business type and objectives. Regardless of the method used, a high LTV across all your customers indicates a high degree of loyalty to your brand, app, or storefront. Knowing your customers’ LTV also helps you measure the efficiency of your marketing strategy and determine how steadily your business is growing.

      An example formula to calculate LTV in eCommerce apps is:

      • Average order value ✕ Number of purchases per year ✕ Customer lifetime in years

      Tracking Conversion Rates for Your Business

      Whether you operate a website, an app, or another type of digital property, using tools to track your conversion rates is essential. Google Analytics is one of the most commonly used tools for conversion rate tracking and optimization due to its powerful array of settings and options for web analytics.

      1. Testing and tracking software, such as Google Optimize, offer website personalization and A/B testing tools to help you compare the performance and conversion rates of your digital properties by modifying its text and visual elements.
      1. Behavioral analytics software such as Heatmaps can help you track how conversions happen by recreating a user’s path and click history. They can also help you identify the usability of your app or website with a direct demonstration of what users do when browsing.

      For instance, Heatmaps can reveal whether users show interest in written copy and body content and how often they click on buttons, links, and other clickable elements. It can also show you meaningful data on whether users attempt clicking on non-clickable objects and how often they click on competing CTAs and ads.

      Conversion Rate Optimization Tools

      Digital property owners looking to optimize their conversion rates, do A/B tests, and utilize a wide range of CRO tools. These tools can perform various tasks: testing, analytics, CRO testing tools, analytics tools, survey designers, journey mappers, and opt-in form designers.

      Examples of commonly utilized CRO tools include the following:

      • Google Optimize: Google is a multifunction CRO tool that can help digital property owners conduct multiple forms of web page testing, including A/B testing, split testing, and multi-variate testing (MVT). It is an ideal tool to experiment, compare performance, and find the highest-converting configurations.
      • Heatmaps: The purpose of this tool is to analyze user behavior and create visual “maps” showing which parts of your website they are most likely to click or tap onto. It can help you reveal whether your site design is easy to navigate and encouraging visitors to convert.
      • ConvertBox: If you rely on opt-in forms and personalized offers to convert customers, ConvertBox allows you to design high-performance forms and call-to-action pop-ups. This tool also includes built-in split testing and segment funneling functionality.
      • SurveyMonkey: Taking advantage of customer surveys can be challenging without the right tools. SurveyMonkey was designed to help digital property owners build fully customizable, high-converting surveys with ease.
      • Optimizely: Managing your content and running large-scale tests can be challenging if your site or blog has a large number of pages. Optimizely is designed to help you experiment, test, and refine conversion-oriented modifications from a single, easy-to-use platform, regardless of your site’s size.

      Conversion Rate Examples

      Suppose two commercial mobile applications in the same segment are competing on a given app store. The owners of both applications view in-app purchases as one of their most important KPIs, defining it as their conversion. They want to compare the number of in-app purchases (conversions) with the number of times users opened the app (interactions) during a one-month period.

      Both applications offer a single in-app purchase valued at $7.50, meaning the Average Order Value (AOV) for all conversions is $7.50.

      During the one-month period, both apps recorded 200 in-app purchases. However, while App A recorded 10,000 sessions opened, App B recorded 200,000.

      While both apps recorded the same revenue of $1,500 (200 ✕ 7.50), their conversion rates are very different.


      Conversion rate of App A: (200 conversions ÷ 10,000 interactions) ✕ 100 = 2%

      Conversion rate of App B: (200 conversions ÷ 200,000 interactions) ✕ 100 = 0.1%

        In this example, despite bringing in equal revenue, App A has a conversion rate 20 times higher than App B.

        So, How to Calculate Website Conversion Rate?

        If you operate a website and wish to calculate your conversion rate, you’ll first need to set a specific period. Most CRO tools track conversion rates by week or by month.

        After choosing the period to calculate, use your analytics software to determine the total number of visitors, your website has received during this period. Then, count the number of successful conversions during this same period, and divide that number by the total number of visitors. Multiply the result by 100 to obtain a percentage value.

        For example, if your website has received 28,000 visitors and recorded 980 conversions in February, your conversion rate is (980 ÷ 28,000) ✕ 100 = 3.5%.

        How To Track Conversions Month Over Month By Day

        Most analytics software and CRO tools can help you track your conversion rates over the periods of your choice. Tracking conversions and comparing your rates month-over-month can provide you with critical information regarding your business’s long-term performance.

        What is a Good Conversion Rate?

        On average, across all sectors, the top 25% of businesses achieve conversion rates of 5.31% or higher, and the top 10% of most companies get 11.45% or more. Although you generally want to optimize and improve your conversion rate as much as possible, what constitutes a good conversion rate depends on your business type, industry, advertising channels, and products or services sold.

        For instance, eCommerce businesses have conversion rates ranging between 2% and 5%. If your app, website, or digital property is in the eCommerce sector, your conversion rate is considered good if it achieves at least 2%. Average US-based eCommerce businesses have an average conversion rate of 2.63%, whereas the global average is 2.86%.

        Median conversion rates for websites vary significantly depending on the industry. For instance, websites in the real estate, family support, software-as-a-service, and business industries typically have median conversion rates of 2.5% to 3.5%. Legal, fitness, and finance websites have conversion rates ranging from 5.6% to 6.2%, and the highest-performing sectors, media, and restaurants, tend to exceed 8%.

        To determine whether you have a good conversion rate, research which sectors and industries your business belongs to and how well your competitors are doing. A given percentage may be considered high in one sector but low in another.

        Below is a table of average conversion rates by eCommerce sector:

        Arts and crafts
        Automotive and motorcycling
        Baby and child products
        Clothing, accessories, and fashion
        Electrical and commercial equipment
        Food and drink
        Healthcare, fitness, and well-being
        Home accessories
        Home and kitchen appliances
        Pet care products
        Sports and recreation
        Average conversion rate

        Tips on How to Improve & Boost Your Conversion Rate

        Improving your conversion rate through specialized methods and strategies is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Making modifications to your site, app, blog, or digital property for the exclusive purpose of improving your conversion rates counts as CRO.

        Implementing the right CRO strategies is among the best ways to optimize your website, application, blog, or digital property and improve your chances of converting users and visitors.

        The primary benefit of Conversion Rate Optimization is increased revenue with little to no increase in expenses. CRO is all about extracting more revenue from the traffic you already pull in. In other words, optimizing your conversion rates decreases the cost of acquiring a conversion.

        The best way to optimize your landing pages and improve your conversion rates is to create a dedicated landing page, research your audience, and build the content on the landing page to maintain the interest of potential customers and incite them to convert.

        The optimization process affects all aspects of your digital property, from aesthetically pleasing design elements and visual identity to high-quality, informative website copy. Following the best practices of CRO is essential to improve your conversion rates, boost conversions, and increase sales.

        • Define clear, precise goals for your optimization process. The best way to do so is to analyze your business’s current performance, then use the data and insights to set a target conversion rate and time frame.
        • Use your analytics suites to study your users or website visitors. Behavioral analytics provide invaluable information regarding user habits, preferences, and pain points. Identifying and addressing usability issues and user experience (UX) problems can significantly impact your conversion rate.
        • Pay attention to your bounce rate; it provides crucial information on how often your users leave your site or close your app and why. You’ll want to ensure your bounce rate doesn’t exceed 50-55%. If your bounce rate is too high, use your analytics tools to try and determine whether a particular element of your digital property is causing visitors to leave.
        • Consider implementing enter and exit surveys on your website’s landing pages. A powerful way to understand how your users think and behave is to ask them directly. Keep the surveys brief and easy to understand to ensure visitors are more likely to fill them out.
        • While aesthetics and brand identity are important, ensure your digital property is usable and functional first. Users are more likely to spend more time on websites, blogs, and apps that are easy to use and informative, increasing the chances of a sale.
        • If you are experimenting with a new layout, design element, or other changes to improve your conversion rates, avoid continuously tweaking and modifying it until you’ve gathered enough data to measure the impact of the changes. Constant modifications can make it challenging to determine what worked and what didn’t.
        • Prioritize dynamic language in your calls-to-action. Short, concise words with active verbs (e.g., “Buy now” or “Join today”) are direct and more likely to incite a visitor to convert. You can also use first-person language (e.g., “Yes, I’d like to sign up today”) to reframe the CTA from the visitor’s point of view and create a connection with them.
        • Directly address the user’s pain points with concise solutions. Your products should be presented as a solution to the visitor’s problems. Highlight the reasons why a visitor will benefit from purchasing it, or reframe the description to suggest why the visitor can’t afford not to try it.
        • Take advantage of customer reviews and testimonials. Visitors trust the opinions displayed in product reviews at least as often as personal recommendations. Consider prominently displaying positive customer reviews on your product pages to incite further sales.
        • Respect the visitor’s time. Avoid making them fill out long forms or submit excessive quantities of information before they can purchase the product or finalize a conversion. The faster visitors can convert, the more they will.
        • Limit distractions. While design elements and brand identity remain important, it is crucial to avoid implementing CTAs, links, and other page elements that could confuse or distract a visitor from finalizing a conversion.
        • Consider implementing incentives. Whether in the form of free downloads, bonus material, coupons, free webinars, or any other incentive you can think of, offering potential customers additional freebies can help you boost conversion rates. Remember that each type of incentive may have varying effectiveness on different visitor demographics. Don’t hesitate to use testing and comparison methods to see what works best for you.

        A/B Testing Method

        It is critical to test any planned changes before implementing them into your site, app, or digital property. One of the best testing methods in the industry is A/B testing because it lets you directly compare the performance of your current arrangement with those your changes would bring.

        A/B testing involves two versions of your own digital asset or digital property: version A, which is the current version as it currently stands, and version B, which is the version after implementing the desired changes.

        For example, suppose you intend to increase conversion rates with a more efficient landing page and more attention-grabbing site copy. In that case, you can use A/B testing to measure the performance difference before and after implementation.

        A/B testing is easy to scale and applicable to virtually any aspect that might affect conversion rate, from product page copy and advertisements to email text, newsletters, and even web page components. Even simple elements, such as button colors, font choice, or navigation layout, can have measurable impacts on your website’s conversion rate.

        Headline Optimization

        Although it may not fit as much copy as the body of a product page or the content of a blog post, the headline is critical to your conversion rates because it is the first thing a visitor will see.

        Headline optimization methods are among the simplest and most effective ways to boost your conversion rates. While optimizing a headline doesn’t require you to implement extensive changes, it can significantly increase the likelihood of a conversion if done correctly.

        Follow these guidelines and best practices to optimize your headlines efficiently and bring in more converts:

        • Include relevant keywords into the headline. Visitors and readers want to ensure they’re finding what they’re looking for, and proper keyword usage helps make your web pages and blog posts rank higher in search results. Ensure the keywords flow naturally with the rest of the headline, as it helps prevent visitors from thinking your content is spam.
        • Keep it short. Whether your headline is an email subject line, a title tag, or a social media post, you have a limited number of characters to get the point across. Use short but descriptive headlines, and take advantage of numbers to shorten the headline’s length whenever possible.
        • Turn it into a question. Asking a question in the headline may align it with your audience’s own questions, increasing the likelihood they will read on to find the answers they’re looking for.
        • Use headline testing software. Test each headline before posting or implementing them with testing tools, plugins, and other software to see which ones are the most likely to perform better.
        • Double-check for grammar and spelling. While mistakes happen, finding a spelling error or bad grammar in the headline can deter visitors and decrease your conversion rates. Always ensure your headlines are easy to read, concise, and free of spelling and grammatical issues whenever possible.

        Refined Audience Targeting

        Understanding your audience and who you are marketing your product, service, or brand to is critical to increasing your conversion rates. While having a high amount of website traffic is never a negative sign, having many visitors matters little if very few of them are interested in converting. For these reasons, it is critical to understand who your audience is to attract more people with similar profiles more efficiently.

        Use analytics tools to learn about your converts’ profiles. They can provide you with a wealth of information that you can use to refine your audience targeting methods, including:

        • Demographic information, such as age, gender, country of origin, education level, income, etc. It also includes more subjective data points like lifestyle, personality, interests, and behavior.
        • How they find you. Knowing where your traffic comes from (e.g., ads, Google search results, links on other websites, etc.) is essential to determine which advertising channels work best.
        • What they want and don’t want. Optimizing and refining your audience targeting may involve catering to their demands by adding more of what they are looking for and removing what they don’t want to see.

        Additional avenues to learn more about your target audience include customer surveys, direct interviews, and live chat discussions. These environments can complete the information provided by your analytics software and help you build more comprehensive visitor profiles.

        You can use the information to implement the following changes:

        • Adjust your offerings according to the wants and needs of your visitors.
        • Improve keywords and content descriptions to ensure your audience finds what they need more efficiently.
        • Understand how users describe the products and services they want, allowing you to change or adapt your content accordingly.
        • Prioritize the content the users want the most so they find what they’re looking for more quickly.

        Keyword Optimization

        Optimizing the keywords in your content is another efficient way of increasing your conversion rates. Keyword optimization is not only about choosing the right keywords for each page or product but also building a robust keyword strategy that can help attract visitors into your funnel and increase the likelihood of a conversion.

        Keyword optimization intended to improve conversion rates is part of a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy. In the context of CRO, keyword relevance is not evaluated based on search intent like with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but based on conversion intent instead, also known as purchase intent. In other words, if your digital platform is optimized for SEO but not for CRO, you will increase the number of visitors but not the number of converts.

        CRO strategies aim to find and implement high-converting keywords throughout your digital property to ensure visitors with high intent find your pages. Keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or the keywords tool in Google Ads Reports are designed to help you find the most relevant high-converting keywords for your industry and sector.

        After determining these keywords, implement them into your digital property content and use A/B testing and other tools to measure the performance difference.

        Improve Your Conversion Rates with CodeFuel

        Boosting your conversion rates and improving your sales can be arduous, especially without assistance. At CodeFuel, our digital marketing experts can help you analyze your site or app’s performance and implement an efficient conversion rate and conversion optimization strategy to meet your business objectives. Contact us today to get started.

        What Is SkAdNetwork, and Why is it important for you?

        What Is SkAdNetwork, and Why is it important for you?

        Have you ever wondered how your favorite apps can serve relevant ads without compromising privacy? Enter SKAdNetwork, a privacy-focused framework developed by Apple that helps app developers measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns without revealing any personally identifiable information about the user.

        The importance of SKAdNetwork cannot be overstated, as it is a critical tool in balancing the need for effective ad targeting with user privacy. With growing concerns around data privacy and security, users are becoming more aware and protective of their personal information, and this is where SKAdNetwork comes in to protect users’ privacy. Users can feel more confident in their app interactions by limiting the amount of data shared with advertisers.

        In this article, we will dive into the specifics of what SKAdNetwork is, how it works, and its benefits and applications for users. Whether you are an app developer, an advertiser, or a concerned user, understanding the role of SKAdNetwork is crucial for navigating the mobile advertising landscape while prioritizing user privacy.

        What is SkAdNetwork?

        SkAdNetwork is a framework for mobile app advertising, allowing advertisers to measure ad campaign effectiveness while preserving user privacy. It uses a randomized, privacy-preserving mechanism to report conversion events to advertisers.

        Created by Apple, this software suite and protocols enable marketers to get aggregated attribution on mobile app marketing campaigns.

        SkAdNetwork was introduced in 2018 by Apple as an API to preserve privacy while allowing mobile apps to track the attribution of their installs due to marketing campaigns. While its adoption was slow since its launch, the new Apple privacy guidelines and AppTracking Transparency make SkAdNetwork more popular. This change to Apple’s data collection policy requires mobile marketers to ask users to consent to track them across apps and websites outside Apple.

        How does SkAdNetwork work?

        SkAdNetwork allows mobile marketers to measure conversion KPI, such as Cost per Install (CPI) or app installs, without sharing the user’s identity. The framework has a learning curve, but don’t worry; we’ll try simplifying the explanation.

        The entities involved

        There are three main entities involved in the SkAdNEetwork framework.

        1. Ad network –  The platform that delivers the ads and reports the metrics, such as installs and conversions.

        What are the ad network’s responsibilities? 

        • Register with SkAdNetwork and provide the identifier to developers.
        • Serve the signed ads to the publisher application.
        • Also serve signed ads for display on Safari web pages through the SkAdNetwork for Web Ads API.
        • Receive install-attribution postbacks and verify them.

        2. Source app – The app where the ad network displays the ad.

        What are the source app’s responsibilities?

        • Ads the network identifier to the info.plist file.
        • Display the ads from the ad network.

        3. Advertised app – The app that is advertised in the ad.

        What are the advertised app responsibilities?

        • Account for an app installation by updating the conversion value with the first launch by the user.
        • The app has three options to update the conversion:
          • Register the installation when the user first launches the app by using updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:lockWindow:completionHandler:)
          • Continue to update the conversion value as the user engages with the app by using updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:lockWindow:completionHandler:)
          • Specify a server URL in the info.plist file and receive a copy of the winning attribution postback.

        A fourth player may be The mobile measurement partner (MMP), which connects all the partners, attributing and optimizing the data.

        SkAdNetwork considers accountable two different types of interactions: views and StoreKit renders.  That means if users view the ad or a StoreKit rendering is generated.

        The SKAN flow

        To start with SkAdNetwork, an ad network registers with Apple. This enables them to get an ad network ID and use the API. On the other side, developers configure applications to accept attributable ads from an ad network and receive copies of postbacks. 

        The SKAN flow

        Source: Apple

        The above diagram shows a typical path of an ad impression that wins attribution. In broad terms, the ad network serves an ad that displays on an application. A user carries an action with the ad, viewing it, clicking on it, or downloading the advertised app. How does the SkAdNetwork process work? Here are the steps:

        1. The ad is displayed in the source app. As soon as this happens, the publishing app starts a 3 seconds timer and notifies SkAdNetwork.
        2. What happens if the ad is run for 3 seconds or more? The source app will notify SkAdNetwork of that, and it will record a successful view.
        3. If, in addition to viewing the ad, the user interacts with it, the publishing app will render the StoreKit.
        4. When this happens, SkAdNetwork registers the rendering.

        How SkAdNetwork ensures privacy on downloads? 

        Apple sets a postback data tier for the application download. To ensure anonymity, the device uses this tier to determine how much detail the postback can have. If the user launches the app within the attribution time window, the ad impression gets attribution postback, and the app updates the conversion value.

        How the ad attribution process works

        The ad attribution process changed from iOS 16.1. In this new version, apps can use three different conversion windows to update conversion values. As a result,  for each ad signed in SkAdNetwork 4, there can be up to three postbacks. 

        How do the postback systems work? 

        1. The device sends install-validation postbacks to multiple ad networks that signed their ads ( in SkAdNetwork version 3 or later).
        2. The winning ad network receives the postback with a did-win=true for the ad impression that wins the ad attribution.
        3. If the ad impression qualifies for the attribution but doesn’t win, the ad network receives a postback with a  did-win=false, (up to five ad networks).

        How do the postback systems work?

        Source: Apple

        The above image shows what happens to ad impressions that qualify for but don’t win the ad attribution.

        What is included in each Apple postback, and what isn’t?

        May Include
        Values from the ad network
        Values from the advertised app
        Doesn’t include
        Any user or device-specific data

        With SKAdNetwork APIs, applications don’t need to use App Tracking Transparency when calling the SKAdNetwork APIs, calling the API regardless of the tracking authorization status.

        What is SkAdNetwork used for?

        StoreKit Ad Network, or SKAdNetwork, is an Apple-operated API that helps ad networks and publishers measure ad activity, such as impressions, clicks, and installs.

        Apple’s SKAdNetwork aims to protect the user’s privacy during mobile installs. It measures conversion rates without having to share the identity of the user. Because the attribution process takes place through the App Store and in the Apple servers, where it is removed from any user-identifying data, the ad network receives clean data.

        What do you get when using SKAN?  

        SKAdNetwork is a privacy-preserving framework created by Apple that measures the attribution of mobile ad campaigns for iOS apps while protecting user data. This technology benefits advertisers and publishers in the mobile app ecosystem.

        Benefits for Publishers

        Here are some benefits that SKAdNetwork offers to app publishers:

        Helps publishers stay relevant: For publishers to stay relevant in the mobile app ecosystem, they must adapt and adopt the support of SKAdNetwork. If most advertisers use SKAdNetwork with Apple’s tracking and primarily utilize programmed advertising on iOS, SKAdNetwork inventory may be the only thing to bid on.

        Provides a reliable method of attribution: SKAdNetwork provides a reliable method of measuring attribution for ad campaigns in a privacy-preserving way. This helps publishers understand their advertising efforts’ effectiveness and make data-driven decisions to improve performance.

        Protects user privacy: SKAdNetwork measures conversion rates of app install campaigns without compromising users’ identities. This is achieved by providing limited data to advertisers and publishers while maintaining user privacy. This is a key benefit for publishers who want to build user trust and maintain a positive brand image.

        Benefits for Advertisers 

        Here are some benefits that SKAdNetwork offers advertisers:

        Improves user trust: Advertisers that want to maintain a positive brand image and increase the trust of their users will benefit from SKAdNetwork’s restrictions on user privacy.

        Helps advertisers understand the effectiveness of their campaigns:  Because SKAdNetwork’s attribution is reliable, it helps marketers check how effective their campaigns are, providing a way to make data-driven decisions.

        Offers a way to continue advertising on iOS: With Apple’s iOS 14 update, the use of Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) has been restricted, making it more difficult for advertisers to track users and target them with ads. SKAdNetwork allows advertisers to continue tracking and measuring their ad campaigns’ effectiveness on iOS.

        SKAN enables advertisers to test contextual campaign parameters and optimize for both click- and view-through conversions without relying on user-level identity.

        These transformations from Apple could pose problems for advertisers who utilize specific measurement tools for optimization, campaign budgeting, and reporting. Advertisers must use contextual marketing to understand which ad campaign performance is the best. There are a few things advertisers are asking themselves.

        Challenges when using SKAN and How to Overcome them

        SkAdNetwork has become the main method to measure attributions on iOS because of its significant benefits. But SkAdNetwork is far from perfect. Here are seven limitations to the framework.

        1. Limited granularity

        Under the old attribution model in iOS, you had perfect granularity. The IDFA was available to publishers, advertisers, and other players in the ad tech stack. So you could have divide-level data on metrics such as views, clicks, installs, and conversions. Now, you can still do that, but you need permission for every app on the publisher and advertiser’s apps.

        Here are some ways granularity is limited with SKAdNetwork:

        • It doesn’t provide device or creative-level data.
        • Allows up to 100 campaigns
        • Provides only 24 hours of post-install conversion data by default
        • Allows only six bits of post-install conversion data

        2. No retargeting

        In the earlier era of IDFA, you could retarget people that formerly used or installed your app but not anymore. You could use the IDFA to target ads with offers so that they can reengage. Since iOS 14.5, there isn’t a real retargeting option. You have limited functionality as a redownload flag, but you cannot re-target the user via ad networks.

        3. Distributed postback data

        A postback is, in simple terms, a digital notification of an event, such as app installs, views, or clicks. With SKAdNetwork, every time a user sees an ad for the app clicks on it, and installs it, it generates a postback. The challenge is that your data is distributed among those servers when you use multiple ad networks.

        4. No lookalike campaigns.

        Previously, you could use the IDFA to make lookalike campaigns. That means you can take your attribution data and conversion values and use them to build a list of the best users. You can then export the list to other ad partners. Guess what? SKAdNetwork does not support IDFAs. So you cannot make lookalike campaigns.

        5. No direct link between impressions and postbacks.

        You can measure app-to-web journeys in SkAdNetwork with the Private Click Measurement feature. The challenge comes when you try to measure web-to-app journeys. You can easily measure the app to the web because you have an app on iOS that connects to the SKAN framework. In addition, you can be on a browser that Apple doesn’t control on the mobile web, such as Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.

        6. Easier to manipulate by fraudsters.

        Although the Apple postback for app installs is cryptographically signed, the payload of the post-install conversion data is not. As a result, malicious actors can easily manipulate these unencrypted data in several ways.

        • Fraudsters can easily fake post-install conversion data.
        • Because there is no geolocation data, the traffic can be from anywhere.
        • A fraudster can replay fake SkAdNetwork postbacks repeatedly.

        7. Data siloing

        SkAdNetwork helps you get the data you need, but it won’t be the only data you need. There is data on IDFA users that opted in or other campaign data that SkAdNetwork does not cover. It can be challenging to decide which dataset you will use to optimize campaigns and how to manage other data types, such as partial IDFA or creative data.

        Conversion Values of SkAdNetwork 4.0

        What is considered a conversion value in the SKAN 4.0 framework? A conversion value is a single number sent to the ad network by a newly installed app. 

        SKAdNetwork 4.0 is the version available in iOS 16.1 and later.

        Who can use SKAN 4.0? To receive a version 4 postback, all parties must meet the following conditions:

        • The ad network should generate a signature for version 4.0
        • The app should be built with iOS 16.1 SDK. 
        • Web ads should appear in Safari 16.1 or later.

        These advertised apps can opt for up to three conversions resulting in winning ad impressions.

        New features of the SKAdNetwork 4.0

        • Multiple postbacks:  Now when you call the update methods:

        updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:completionHandler:) updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:lockWindow: completion andler:),

        The app can update the conversion in three different conversion windows, sending multiple postbacks for the winning ad attribution.

        1. Lock a conversion during a conversion window: 

        a. Call

        b. Set the lock to =true.

        2. Coarse and fine-grained conversion values: In SKAN,  every conversion value sent can include a fine-grained or coarse-grained value.

          • Coarse-grained conversion values: can result in three different values, low, medium, or high. The value is set according to the event completed by the user and the conversion values set in the advertiser’s mapping. To use them, you call them in the method: 

         updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:completionHandler:) and updatePostbackConversionValue(_:coarseValue:lockWindow:completionHandler:).

          • Fine-grained conversion value: These are the conversion values of a 6-bit value that allow up to 64 combinations. 

        3. Hierarchical source identifiers. Another new feature of SKAN 4.0 is that it allows ad networks to provide hierarchical source identifiers when signing an ad. This feature replaces the old campaign identifiers. This new source identifier is a four-digit integer. A winning postback may have two, three, or four digits of the source identifier.

        How to make the most of SkAdNetwork 

        iOS marketing is now all about SKAN, and many marketers still find it challenging to use it fully to measure the performance of their campaigns. If you are in this group, don’t worry, we compiled a list of recommendations you can follow to maximize your strategy when setting conversion values:

        With SKAN, your only way to measure post-install performance for users out of the ATT prompt is by setting your conversion values strategically. By setting your conversion values to measure performance, you can gain insights that can help you find valuable app users that can turn into leads.

        Take time to configure your conversions values to give you additional KPIs, such as retention, engagement, and revenue. You can also add measures of fraud protection.

        So, how do you do it? The golden rule for networks is the earlier the postback, the better. For instance, use one of the most important metrics in marketing, the Return on Advertising (ROA), to track the revenue you earn from each dollar spent in marketing, if possible. However, because you cannot always track ROA accurately, you can still have insights by getting an earlier indication of performance.

        Why? Earlier signals give a network more incentive to optimize the campaigns and earn more of your budget. Sending a postback on day one instead of day four can increase your overall conversion value by increasing the number of experimentations available.

        Understanding Apple’s conversion value mechanism

        We discussed the challenges and limitations of SKAdNetwork compared with previous attribution methods. The key to making the most of the framework starts by understanding how Apple’s conversion value mechanism works. This section will give you a primer on this.

        First, let’s understand what bits are

        Apple’s conversion values are configured, so a single conversion value is included in the postback iOS sends to the ad network. The conversion value contains all the information you can get about a user’s post-install.

        A conversion value is defined by 6 bits on 64 possible combinations. You can use these values to measure revenue, engagement, gender, and device, assigning the KPIs that are most valuable to you. These values, with their own decoding, are attributed to the source of the install.

        To make the most of your conversion value strategy, you must define what you assign to each bit. What events matter most to your campaign goals? There are several ways to combine those six bits, but we can categorize them broadly into three:

        • Flat – All 6 bits measure a single KPI, for example, measuring revenue. The bit combination shows a specific binary value that informs the app the user generated a specific amount of revenue.
        • Split – Three bits measure one KPI and the other three another KPI, for example, revenue and time on the app.
        • Combo-split –  Here, the six bits are divided into three sets, a set of three values, another of two, and another single value, which measures three different KPIs.


        SKAdNetwork is a framework developed by Apple to help app developers measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns while protecting user privacy. The SKAdNetwork framework allows for measuring ad clicks and conversions without revealing any personally identifiable information about the user.

        One of the main benefits of SKAdNetwork is that it enables app developers to better understand their ad campaigns’ performance and optimize them accordingly. This can lead to more effective ad targeting, higher conversion rates, and, ultimately, increased revenue for the app developer.

        In addition, SKAdNetwork helps protect user privacy by limiting the amount of data that is shared with advertisers. This can help build user trust in the app ecosystem, which is especially important given the growing data privacy and security concerns.

        SKAdNetwork has already been adopted by a growing number of app developers and ad networks and is expected to become an increasingly important part of the mobile advertising landscape. As more and more companies seek to balance the need for effective ad targeting with the importance of user privacy, the benefits of SKAdNetwork are likely to become even more apparent.


        How do I set up SkAdNetwork?

        Please bear in mind that SKAN is only available on devices running iOS 14 and later. For ad networks, you first need to register as an ad network with Apple in order to get your Ad Network ID. Publishers displaying SKAdNetwork ads must include this id in the app configuration. You can find more information about registering an ad network in the Apple documentation.

        Then you need to provide signed ads to the source application. When the application loads the ad, they call the loadProduct() method and give a signature that combines the following values.

        • The version of the ad network API you are using.
        • The ad network identifier
        • The campaign identifier (integer number from 1-100)
        • Ad network nonce ( a unique number generated for each impression)
        • App Store ID of the app displaying the ad
        • Timestamp

        Then the ad network verifies the postback, including the transaction ID, source app Id, and conversion value.

        What version of iOS is SKAN on?

        SKAdNetwork is available for iOS version 14, but the new version SKAdNetwork 4.0, is available in iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1.

        Why don’t I see Apple Search Ads (ASA) data in the SkAdNetwork report?

        Because Apple Search Ads doesn’t support SKAN but uses a different mechanism for measuring a campaign’s performance.

        Why are installs lower than expected?

        Note that SKAdNetwork does not register all installs. The following are not supported:

        • Web-to-app installs
        • Re-engagements
        • The install postback is usually sent at least 24 hours after the install

        Why are Revenue metrics lower than expected?

        If the revenue metrics are significantly lower, check if all the postbacks have a conversion value.

        Does Google support SKAdNetwork?

        Google initiates SKAN attribution by Google Mobile Ads SDK if the click action lands in Apple App Store. Learn more about Google attribution with SKAdNetwork.

        Does Facebook use SKAdNetwork?

        Facebook partners with Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) to support SKAdNetwork for Facebook ads. Learn more about Facebook’s guide on SKAN.

        What is Universal Linking? A Quick Guide

        What is Universal Linking? A Quick Guide

        Apple launched Universal Links on iOS9 in 2015 as an alternative solution to deep linking and URI schemes.

        Let’s begin with a definition of universal linking 

        Universal linking is Apple’s solution of pointing a link to a website page or application regardless of whether the application is installed on the user’s phone. It is a deep linking protocol exclusive to Apple devices version 9 and later. 

        What is unique about Universal Linking?

        Universal links allow users to intelligently follow links to content in your app or your website. They provide users with an integrated mobile and desktop experience, even when your app isn’t installed on their phone.

        Some of the benefits of universal links, according to Apple, are

        • Security,
        • Flexibility,
        • Simplicity,
        • Uniqueness,
        • Privacy.

        What are Universal links used for?

        Developers use universal links to create a two-way association between their mobile applications and website. A universal link can open both, depending on the user’s preference.

        How does iOS Universal Link Work?

        A universal link is a single link that can take the user to a specific place in an app or an associated webpage. The link’s path depends on whether the app is installed on the user’s phone and the preferences based on previous interactions with universal links.

        A universal link aims to respect where the user wants to view the content if a web browser or an application. When users click on a universal link, the system redirects the link directly to the application without going through Safari.

        Universal links are standard HTTP or HTTPS links. Therefore, a single link can connect to an app and a website. If a user installs your app, the system verifies your website and allows your app to open URLs on its behalf.

        In addition, apps can communicate with each other through universal links. 

        An app that supports universal links allows other apps to send small amounts of data, directly to the app, without using a third-party server.

        The Apple documentation brings the following example of using universal linking to communicate between apps: 

        A photo library app that specifies parameters, including the name of an album and the index of a photo to display.



        Other apps can create an URL based on the domain, path, or parameter. Then they can ask the app to open them by using one of these methods for calling:

        1,  open(_:options:completionHandler:) method of UIApplication in iOS and tvOS

        Here is a code example of an app calling the universal link in iOS and tvOS

        if let appURL = URL(string: "https://myphotoapp.example.com/albums?albumname=vacation&index=1") {

         UIApplication.shared.open(appURL) { success in

          if success {

         print("The URL was delivered successfully.")

            } else {

             print("The URL failed to open.")



        } else {

        print("Invalid URL specified.")


        2. openSystemURL(_:) method of WKExtension in watchOS

        Here is a code example of an app calls your universal link in watchOS:

        if let appURL = URL(string: "https://myphotoapp.example.com/albums?albumname=vacation&index=1") {


        } else {

            print("Invalid URL specified.")


        3. open(_:withApplicationAt:configuration:completionHandler:) method of NSWorkspace in macOS

        Here is a code example of an app calling an universal link in macOS:

        if let appURL = URL(string: "https://myphotoapp.example.com/albums?albumname=vacation&index=1") {

           let configuration = NSWorkspace.OpenConfiguration()

          NSWorkspace.shared.open(appURL, configuration: configuration) { (app, error) in

         guard error == nil else {

         print("The URL failed to open.")



          print("The URL was delivered successfully.")


        } else {

          print("Invalid URL specified.")


        How do you support universal links? 

        According to Apple developer documentation, an app developer that wants iOS users to connect to the app with universal links must take the following steps:

        1. Creating a two-way association between the app and the website, specifying the URLs of the application.
        2. Updating the app delegate to respond to user activity when a universal link routes the app.

        Benefits of Universal Links

        There are several advantages to using universal links:

        Simplified User Experience 

        Before universal links, users that wanted to connect to an app from a link, were served a pop-up prompt asking where they wanted to open the app. This disrupted the user experience and often resulted in users bouncing away.

        Universal links take the user where they want to go with a single link. Thus simplifying the user experience. Because there are no disruptions, the chances of conversions are greater.


        Universal links are also a way to increase user engagement. Marketers can direct the link to the best location in the app for conversions. Users then can go exactly where they need, resulting in more efficient use of the app.

        User Retention 

        Happy users come back. Not only there is an improved user experience, but users can convert faster, — complete purchases in fewer steps—. Therefore, universal links tend to increase retention and conversion rates.

        Enhanced Analytics 

        The improved analytics capabilities of universal links, makes them a versatile tool for marketers. For instance, they can use universal links for accurately attribute and reattribute events.

        Deep Linking Definition

        Deep linking was the standard method for iOS apps. App developers implemented Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) schemes to simplify the path of linking users directly to a destination inside the app.

        For example, fb:// opens the Facebook app, and when adding profile details, it can direct the user to a specific profile.

        The problem with deep links is that they work great when the app is installed on the user’s phone.

        But if the user doesn’t have the app installed, it shows the user a “Cannot open Page”, prompt in Safari, which impacts the user experience, as shown in the diagram below.

        Universal Linking vs. DeepLink Differences

        Universal Linking Definition

        Universal links and app links are two powerful technologies that allow app developers to easily link their apps with web pages or other apps. These links offer a seamless user experience by directly taking users to the relevant content within the app or website, without the need for a web browser or a separate app.

        Universal links are routed directly by the operating system, associating the app and the web page securely. The goal of universal links is to improve the user experience, whether the user has the app installed or not, creating a more secure connection between the web and the app.

        Deep Linking vs. Universal Linking 

        Despite deep and universal links similarities, they have key differences. Let’s start by defining them:

        A deep link links to a specific section within an application, such a specific page. 

        A universal link, works similarly to deep links but for iOS device, so Apple users can navigate directly to a specific point on an application.

        There are several advantages to universal links, such as enhanced security features. Another advantage is that an universal link can be shared across multiple platforms and devices, while a deep link uses a custom URL which only works within a specific app.

        Here is a summary of the main differences between Universal Links and Deep Links.

        Universal Links
        Match a webpage to an in-app location.
        Exclusive to Apple devices
        Works regardless the app is installed on the user’s device or not.
        Uses a web URL
        Doesn’t support redirects
        Not suitable for email marketing
        Not suitable for social media
        Deep Links
        You can only use it within a specific app.
        Doesn’t work if the app is not installed on the user's device.
        Uses a custom URL scheme
        Can redirect
        Can be used in email marketing
        Can be used in social media

        How to create and set up a Universal Link 

        Different platforms may have different dashboards to create universal links. On a high level, here are the basic steps to get universal linking working for your app. 

        1. Set your app to register approved domains 

        1. Register your app with Apple at developer.apple.com
          • Log in to developer.apple.com.
          • Click on Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles. Then, on Identifiers.
          • If you have an App Identifier, follow to the next section. If not, click on the + sign and fill out the form.
        2. Allow Associated Domains on the app identifier.
        3. Allow Asociated Domains on your Xcode project.
          • Make sure your Xcode project has the same Team selected as your App Identifier.
          • Go to the Capabilities tab and choose your project file
          • Enable Associated Domains. Check your Bundle Identifier for your project matches the one registered with your App Identifier.
        4. Add the right domain entitlement. Ensure the entitlement file is included at build
          • Prefix applinks: to your domain tag.

        2. Set your website to host the apple-app-site association

        1. Buy or use your existing domain name
        2. Purchase the SSL certification for the domain
          • Go to a third-party service and fill out the form to generate an openSSL command.
          • Log into your remote server
          • Execute the OpenSSL command and generate a certificate signing request (.csr) and certification file (.cert)
        3. Create the apple-app-site-association JSON file.
        4. Sign the JSON file with the SSL certification.
        5. Configure the file server.

        Setting up on iOS

        Add the following in AppDelegate.m file so the app can listen to the incoming universal links.

        // Add the header at the top of the file for RCTLinking:


        // Add this above the `@end`:

        - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)app openURL:(NSURL *)url

         options:(NSDictionary<uiapplicationopenurloptionskey,id> *)options</uiapplicationopenurloptionskey,id>


         return [RCTLinkingManager application:app openURL:url options:options];


        // Add this above `@end` for Universal Links:

        - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application continueUserActivity:(nonnull NSUserActivity *)userActivity

         restorationHandler:(nonnull void (^)(NSArray<id> * _Nullable))restorationHandler</id


         return [RCTLinkingManager application:application




        Once you add the scheme to your Xcode project configuration, you need to setup the Associated Domains  on your server

        Run the following JSON code for an example of a simple association file:


        "applinks": {

        "details": [


        "appIDs": [ "ABCDE12345.com.example.app", "ABCDE12345.com.example.app2" ],

        "components": [


        "#": "no_universal_links",

         "exclude": true,

        "comment": "Matches any URL whose fragment equals no_universal_links and instructs the system not to open it as a universal link"



        "/": "/buy/*",

          "comment": "Matches any URL whose path starts with /buy/"



                 "/": "/help/website/*",

               "exclude": true,

              "comment": "Matches any URL whose path starts with /help/website/ and instructs the system not to open it as a universal link"



             "/": "/help/*",

             "?": { "articleNumber": "????" },

               "comment": "Matches any URL whose path starts with /help/ and which has a query item with name 'articleNumber' and a value of exactly 4 characters"






          "webcredentials": {

         "apps": [ "ABCDE12345.com.example.app" ]


           "appclips": {

         "apps": ["ABCED12345.com.example.MyApp.Clip"]



        Setup on Android

        Setting up on Android

        Configuring external linking in Android requires to make changes to the manifest file. To do that:

        1. Open android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml file:
        2. Go to MainActivity/launchmode and choose the setting to singleTask
        3. Inside the MainActivity, select VIEW and add a new intent-filter
        4. Ensure your new has an android:autoVerify=”true”
        5. Add a new entry inside the with your domain’s URL scheme and host.




            <intent-filter android:autoVerify="true">

                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />

                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />



                <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />

                <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />

                <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />

                <data android:scheme="your_URI_scheme" />

                <data android:scheme="https" android:host="your_URL" />

                <data android:scheme="http" android:host="your_URL" />



        How to Test Universal Links

        Let’s explain it better with an example:  imagine you create a React Native application. How do you test the universal links on iOS? Source

        1. Open prompt and run the following code:

        npx react-native init react_native_deep_links_master

        Cd react_native_deep_links_master

        2. Create the RootNavigation.js file using the following code:

        import * as React from 'react’;

        export const navigationRef = React.createRef();

        export function navigate(name, params) {

        navigationRef.current?.navigate(name, params);


        3. Build an app in React Native containing two screens. Open the App.js file and enter the following code:

        import React, {useEffect} from 'react';

        import {View, Text, Button, Linking, Alert} from 'react-native';

        import {NavigationContainer} from '@react-navigation/native';

        import {createStackNavigator} from '@react-navigation/stack';

        import * as RootNavigation from './RootNavigation';

        function HomeScreen({navigation}) {

          return (


             Home Screen

            <button< code=""></button<>

            title="Go to Details"

           onPress={() => navigation.navigate('Details')}




        function DetailsScreen() {

          return (

          Details Screen 



        const Stack = createStackNavigator();

        function App() {

         const linking = {

          prefixes: ['https:', '://'], //to configure react navigation to handle the incoming links


          useEffect(() => {

           // Get the deep link used to open the app

           const getUrl = async () => {

           const initialUrl = await Linking.getInitialURL();

            if (initialUrl === null) {



            if (initialUrl.includes('Details')) {







          return (   



        export default App;

        4. Configure the React Navigation and the dependencies.

        yarn add @react-navigation/native @react-navigation/native-stack

        react-native-screens react-native-safe-area-context

        Testing on iOS

        1. Check your app allows Associated Domains 

        Allowing associated domains enable the app to listen to incoming universal links requests. Follow the steps in the above section to enable this feature in your app Xcode project.

        2. Set up a Digital Asset Links  JSON file, like the following example:


        "relation": ["delegate_permission/common.handle_all_urls"],

         "target": {

         "namespace": "android_app",

          "package_name": "com.example",






        3. Run the following command:

        npx react-native run-ios

        4. Test Universal Links Using Safari

        According to the Apple’s developer forum, there are a few methods to test the universal link before releasing the application using Safari.

        • You can simply embed the link in any webpage and then access the page from the Safari browser. If it opens the link then it works.
        • If the application has a banner that shows up when scrolling, you can use that banner to enable universal links for the user.

        There are limitations to testing universal links in Safari. For instance, you cannot use Safari wrappers to test universal links on some devices.

        5. Test Universal Links Using Xcode Simulator 

        Until 2019, universal links wouldn’t work in the simulator, but could be tested from a device. Now you can use the User Interface Testing, released with iOS 9. Because universal links don’t work unless a user clicks on the link, it can be frustrating to try to test this in the simulator, so typing the link into Safari or redirecting with javascrip won’t open the application. But there is a simple workaround.

        1. Open the simulator’s iMessage app
        2. Select a contact and open up a chat
        3. Type the URL into the message bar and send the message
        4. Click the message bubble.
        5. The universal link should open the app.

        Testing On Android

        1. Technically, there are no universal links in Android: 

        Universal links are an Apple’s exclusive feature. Android has App Links, which behave similarly to universal links. Before testing universal links on Android, you should ensure your application can handle the incoming requests for universal links. As we mentioned above, the intent filters must include your domain scheme and host for the app’s universal links.

        2. Test Universal Links Using Chrome:
        Once your app’s intent filters are properly configured, you can test universal links on Android using Chrome. While universal links work when opened in Safari or Chrome, they don’t work if  you enter the universal link in the Chrome address bar and press Enter. You should host the links in a web environment to test them.

        Start by creating a testing page in HTML, the follow these steps:

        • Add your complete universal link to the test webpage
        • Install the app in the test device
        • On the test device open the test web page from Chrome
        • Click the universal link.
        • If the link is configured correctly, your app should launch and take you to the relevant content.

        3. Tips to debug Android App Links 

        •  To debug your universal link for an Android app, first you need to ensure the device browser is not the default handler for the app link. If the user clicks the link before app links are enable, they have the option to select where they want to open the link, if they choose to open in browser “always”, the domain will not open the app, ever.
        • If this happens, you can reset browser to default by following this path: Settings/Apps/select browser/defaults/”Clear Defaults”.
        • All domains should pass verification. If you don’t have autoVerify=”true” in all intent filters, Android will verify all domains, and if one domain fails verification, App Links will be disabled for the rest.

        4. Test Universal Links Using ADB: 

        You can also test universal links on Android using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). To do this, connect your Android device to your computer, open a command prompt, and enter the following command: “adb shell am start -a android.intent.action.VIEW -d universal-link-url”. Replace “universal-link-url” with the actual universal link you want to test. If the link is configured correctly, your app should launch and take you to the relevant content.

        Other Tips to test universal links

        • Test the link on different channels. Not only on the web but also in social media, SMS, and messaging platforms.
        • Keep in mind that universal links only work when clicked on.
        • When testing, ensure the app is installed on the devices you will be testing.

        Universal links have limitations too.

        They are not Universal

        The way that Apple implements Universal Links forced social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook to significantly change how they handle external links.

        Currently, these apps intercept the link and open with an internal review to track the user’s web activity. A universal link must send the user externally, losing their track capabilities.

        So, if you want to use universal links in social media, you must work around deep linking with legacy methods. Apple builds most apps that support universal links.

        You can’t use universal links for email campaigns.

        Many organizations use email to interact with their users and as a marketing tool. Tools like MailChimp or Sendgrid are commonly used to handle the volume of email campaigns. They provide services such as click-tracking, where they wrap the original link in a redirect so the user goes to the provider’s server before the final destination. That’s where the problem lies with universal links. You cannot wrap a universal link in a redirect.

        Users can disable them.

        It is simple to disable Universal links on the phone. Click the domain name in the top right-hand corner after clicking a universal link. If you do that, it opens the link in safari and permanently disables universal links from the device.

        Universal links are complicated to debug and test.

        Debugging a feature is an essential part of development. However, debugging universal links is a 7-step process involving configuring the web server, the native app project, and the developer portal. With many steps along the way, the chances of mistakes are increased. And even when there are several ways a universal link can break, Apple doesn’t have a validator tool to help with debugging.

        Phantom Banners

        This is a known Safari issue. Apple may randomly install a banner into your site in Saari when you enable universal links. You cannot control this, customize it or measure it. While most users just ignore this, it can be annoying.

        Why allow apps to Link to your content?

        Despite its limitations, allowing universal links has several benefits.

        • Improve customer experienceUniversal links take the user straight to the in-app content instead of having the user install the app and then find the content they are looking for. By doing that, they create a seamless user experience.
        • Increase app conversions.When users get to what they want right away, they are satisfied and happy users tend to make purchases. Therefore, the improved customer experience often leads to a boost in conversion rates.
        • Increase retention rates.Finally, the improved experience results in higher user engagement and retention rates.
        • Provide a secure path for users.
          Universal links can prevent malicious actors from hijacking links and redirecting users to fraudulent applications.

        Why a Universal Link Improves the performance of your app

        Implementing universal links may take some time and effort to implement, but if you can do it, it will ultimately improve performance:

        1. Universal links can fall back to the store if the app opening breaks

        Universal links are a feature that can be used in conjunction with MMPs to redirect users to the App Store to prompt an app install if an app-open trigger fails to launch  This is a big plus for mobile-first advertisers who want users to re-engage in their app. The user flow for universal links significantly improved from URL schemes and deep links where the user would have arrived at a dead-end when the URL scheme failed to respond.

        While a fallback was also possible for URL schemes in the past, Apple has since removed that feature. Therefore, universal links are now the preferred method for redirecting users to an app from a website.

        While having a mobile website is still beneficial for mobile-first advertisers, it is no longer required to redirect users to the App Store. Universal links have made it possible to redirect users directly to the App Store without needing a mobile website.

        However, it is still recommended that advertisers have a mobile website to provide a better user experience and to attract potential customers who may not have the app installed yet.

        • They are necessary for re-engaging users

        When deep links bring the users back from an ad into your app, the links prompt a pop-up message on the user’s screen, impairing the user experience and performance. By directing the user straight to the app content, universal links prevent this. 

        • Improves re-attributions accuracy and decreases rejected re-attributions

        A re-attribution is an association between a click and an open application such as the future in-app events happening after the click will be attributed to the advertising party that delivered that last click. If the app open happens after a given time frame,  a mobile measurement partner usually rejects the reattribution. Because universal links create a smooth flow, the number of rejected re-attributions decreases.


        What does a universal link look like?

        Universal links look like regular HTTPS URLs. When the user clicks on it, the device opens the app in the content of the link directed to.

        How do I set up Universal links for my app?

        There are two basic steps:

        1. Set your app to register approved domains at the developer. Apple.com
        2. Configure your website so it can host an apple-app-site-association file.

        Why don’t universal links sometimes work as tracking links?

        Link-wrapping is not supported by universal linking, meaning you cannot wrap the link with a link redirect. Therefore, universal links sometimes fail as tracking links.

        Is the universal link only on iOS?

        Apple created these links protocols for launching apps on iOS from any website; therefore, are iOS-specific.

        How do I reset my iOS for universal linking? 

        Long press on a universal link and it will take you to a message with an “open in `AppName`” option. Select the option to set opening the links in your app again.