Demystifying in-app measurement with The Trade Desk

Consumers and advertisers have shifted their attention to handheld devices. Here we give you the ins and outs of mobile measurement — yes, it is possible.

According to findings from eMarketer, U.S. Android users spent an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps on a mobile device in 2021.1 This is up from 3.8 hours per day in 2020 and 3.3 in 2019. Given that Americans spend over one-sixth of their day on their mobile devices, and with advertisers projected to allocate 67.9 percent of their total digital budget in 2022 and 2023 to reaching mobile users,2 it’s more important than ever to be able to measure mobile campaign performance and conversions.

How it works
To help advertisers connect their digital campaigns to various outcomes within their mobile apps, The Trade Desk has integrated with several mobile measurement partners (MMPs).

An MMP is an impartial third-party provider that works with demand-side platforms to successfully attribute the brand’s advertising campaigns to different user behaviors within mobile apps, which are known as conversion events, or simply conversions. These conversions can be anything from installing an app to adding an item to your cart to signing up for a loyalty program.

We currently work with several mobile measurement partners, including but not limited to:

  • Adjust
  • AppsFlyer
  • Branch
  • Kochava
  • Singular

Through this partnership with us, each MMP receives the ad impressions and click data from us, while in return we receive the conversion data from each MMP.

Tracking impressions and clicks
The advertiser appends impression- and click-trackers from their preferred MMP to the creatives within our platform. These trackers automatically fire and send data to the MMP when an impression has been served or a user has clicked on an ad.

Tracking conversions
The MMP works directly with mobile app advertisers to implement the MMP’s software development kit (SDK) into the brand’s app. (An SDK can be used in different ways; in this case, it is used to track the conversion events that occur within the mobile app. If you’re interested in reading more about SDKs, visit this page from one of our partners, Adjust.) The advertiser determines which conversion events they would like to track within their app, such as creating a profile, making a purchase, or adding an item to a wish list. Once the conversions have been identified, they are copied into our platform. After this setup is complete, the MMP will automatically fire an HTTP POST request to us anytime a user completes a conversion event.

What is a postback? An HTTP POST request is used to send data — in this case conversion data — to a server (in this case, TTD’s server).

Now the MMP and The Trade Desk both have the impression/click data along with the conversion data, so each party can perform attribution. This means the brand has the option to use attribution from either source.

For advertisers that are running omnichannel campaigns and want to attribute conversions to different touchpoints across in-app as well as mobile web, display, and Connected TV (CTV), we recommend using our attribution. We’ve partnered with leaders in cross-device data to bring you a holistic identity graph that helps you increase match rates when using Identity Alliance (compared to using a single cross-device graph). This means you can attribute lower-funnel outcomes like app installs to traditionally upper-funnel tactics like Connected TV.

Advertisers that are very focused on in-app campaigns, with most of their touchpoints occurring within mobile app environments, will often use the MMP as their source of truth. Since the MMP can gather data from not only us but also all other media buying partners that the advertiser may be working with, the MMP will only count each conversion once, whereas each media buying platform would count it individually. As a result, app-focused brands may prefer to use the MMP’s attribution.

How does this impact advertisers?
With real-time conversion reporting, you can gather insights about the customer journey and understand which tactics are driving outcomes during the campaign. And our Koa AI can automatically optimize toward in-app conversion KPIs to drive performance midflight.

You can also use the data provided from working with MMPs for first-party audience segmentation and retargeting. For example, if your goal is to drive more subscriptions or purchases within an app, you can work toward achieving that goal by retargeting people who have downloaded the app or ended their free trial.

These are just a few ways that advertisers can use our marketplace of MMP integrations to uncover actionable insights at every stage of the customer journey, connecting upper-funnel tactics like Connected TV to lower-funnel outcomes like app installs and in-app purchases.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to your account manager at The Trade Desk.

1 “Average Daily Time Spent Using Apps Among Android Users in Select Countries, 2019-2021,” eMarketer, January 12, 2022,
2 “Mobile Ad Spending, US, 2022-2026,” eMarketer, March 2022,