[UA] Set up install tracking for mobile apps

See how traffic that installs your app finds your marketplace page.
This article is about install tracking for mobile apps in Universal Analytics. See the following resources for similar information related to Google Analytics 4:
This article describes Analytics SDK functionality. For the most up-to-date mobile app reporting in Analytics, use the Firebase SDK. To learn more, read Get started with app analytics.

Install tracking allows you to collect and send data from your mobile apps to your Analytics account and have it appear in your Mobile App Sources report.

You must complete the steps in this article to set up install tracking for your mobile apps.

In this article:

Step 1: Enable app install tracking in your account.

For Android

Install tracking is automatically enabled in Analytics for Android apps. You don’t have to do anything!

For iOS

Follow these steps to enable install tracking in your Analytics account:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics..
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the property you want to edit.
  3. In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings.
  4. In the iOS Campaign Tracking section, click the toggle to turn it ON.
  5. Click Save.

Step 2: Update your Analytics SDK.

For Android

Android developers need to change a few lines in their manifest file. Refer to the Developer Guide for Android for a specific example of how to do this.

For iOS

Update your app to use the Analytics iOS SDK. To use Analytics app install tracking, your app will have to access the iOS identifier for advertising (IDFA). You need to add the libAdIdAccess.a library to your XCode project to do this. Refer to the README file in the SDK for more information, or refer to the Developer Guide for details and an example.

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Step 3: Set up Custom Campaigns.

Custom Campaigns are an Analytics feature that add parameters to the URL of your marketplace page where users download your app. It’s these parameters that tell Analytics what marketplaces your traffic comes from. Get an overview of Custom Campaigns in Analytics and how they work.

You must set up Custom Campaigns for each platform you’re using. To make this easy, we’ve created a tool to help you build your URLs so you don’t have to do it manually. For more details on how to set up Custom Campaigns, refer to our Developer Guides in each operating system:

For Android

For iOS

Next steps

Create and manage ad campaigns (on the ad network of your choice).

After you’ve completed the steps to set up mobile app install tracking using Analytics, you can start to think about your advertising strategy and content. How you create and manage your ad campaigns will have a big impact on the number of users you get to download your app. You’ll need to decide who your target audience is, what message you want to convey, and which ad network you’re going to use.

No matter how you decide to answer these questions, it’s critical that you create custom URLs for each of your ads or campaigns that lead to your download page, and include the tagged URLs in each ad. This way, you can find out which of your ads was the most successful at driving traffic to your download page.

Analyze your data using the Mobile App Sources report.

If you complete the steps outlined above, your data will appear in the Mobile App Sources report. Use this report to find out what brings users to your download page in each marketplace.

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