How To Measure Your Most Effective Ad Channels

Brands spend billions annually on promoting their mobile apps to users, and in 2024, more than half of mobile app marketers worldwide are gearing up to increase their spend. Yet, the real challenge lies in how brands will allocate their resources to maximize impact and return on investment. With countless channels available to them –– including traditional methods like email and print and emerging channels like CTV –– how well marketers can measure and optimize their spend will be the difference between app growth and wasted budget. 

The cross-platform challenge and case for mobile measurement tools

Most marketers use four or more channels to market their apps, with 78% using Facebook or Instagram ads and 70% other paid advertising methods. With multiple channels and campaigns, plus the added complexity of user journeys, figuring out what’s driving ROI can be tricky. That’s where measurement tools come in.

Instead of looking at each channel in a silo — with different KPIs, attribution mechanisms, and metrics — use measurement tools to provide a unified solution. They bridge the gap to provide a comprehensive, apples-to-apples view of what truly drives app downloads and conversions. They also address common challenges related to data deduplication and fraud detection to establish a single source of truth for all channel and campaign insights. This enables the calculation of important metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS) and other spending insights across ad partners. Brands rely on platforms like Branch to get the full picture of omni-channel performance and make better, data-driven decisions about their marketing strategy and spend. 

Foundational metrics and KPIs

To identify your most effective ad channel, first decide what “effective” means to you. Are you focused on driving downloads, increasing in-app conversions, or maybe boosting adoption of a new app feature? Understanding your unique objectives will shape the KPIs and metrics that matter most to your brand. 

For those prioritizing app downloads, metrics like install rates, cost per install (CPI), and conversion rates from ad clicks to installs are most relevant. If in-app conversions are your goal, tracking metrics like cost per engagement (CPE), retention rates, and average revenue per user (APRU) will be more indicative of success. Meanwhile, for those aiming to boost the adoption of a new feature, metrics like feature engagement rates, user feedback scores, and time spent in the app are invaluable. These foundational metrics not only provide insights into the performance of individual campaigns but also provide a nuanced understanding of which channels are truly driving the outcomes that matter to your app’s success. 

Finding the right platform

While traditional mobile measurement partners (MMPs) excel in solving ad measurement challenges, it’s important to find a solution that goes beyond conventional boundaries. Typically, MMPs offer measurement for paid ads only, marking all other conversions as “organic” and leaving a major gap when it comes to tracking and analyzing unpaid channels. 

Unlike traditional MMPs, Branch extends its capabilities to provide deep linking and measurement across all marketing channels. This better addresses the needs of omni-channel enterprises and their customers, who expect seamless user experiences across every brand touchpoint. 

Illustrative image showing how Branch provides visibility into marketing efforts. Before Branch: Attribution limited to "organic" or "uknown" and "ads." After Branch: Attribution visibility across channels, including organic search, email, referrals, mobile web, QR codes, social, and ads.

As you evaluate measurement solutions, consider not only their tech capabilities and partner network but also their ability to provide a holistic view across channels. Choose a solution that aligns with your broader marketing strategy, so you can measure channel effectiveness and optimize performance across the entire spectrum of app marketing channels.  

How to get started

Once you’ve selected a partner, you’re well on your way to better measurement. Here are the essential steps to get started: 

  1. Integrate the mobile SDK. To start tracking, integrate the measurement partner’s SDK into your mobile app infrastructure. This lays the groundwork for comprehensive measurement and insights and is key to tracking and analyzing ad campaigns, app installs, and other events. Branch also provides a web SDK if you plan to launch web campaigns.
  2. Track standard events. Once the SDK is integrated, you can track events across ad partners. The Branch Dashboard maps Branch events to the events that your ad partners expect, so you don’t have to code specific nomenclature for each individual ad partner. Branch will then forward standard events to the ad partner to optimize ad campaigns.
  3. Enable relevant ads integrations. Once the mobile SDK is integrated, the next step is to activate integrations with your specific ad partners. This ensures a seamless flow of data between your app and the respective ad platforms. Branch partners with every major ad platform, simplifying connections across the ad ecosystem. For self-attributing networks (SAN) like Google and TikTok, attribution will work behind the scenes, though Branch Ad Links will enable deep linking into your app. For non-SAN networks like Pinterest and AdMob, implement Branch links in your campaign to capture attribution insights.
  4. Analyze and optimize. Once your campaigns are live, the platform will automatically capture attribution data. You can view your data directly in the Branch Dashboard or export it to other analytics or business intelligence (BI) systems using prebuilt integrations. Delve into the metrics across campaigns and channels to discern which strategies yield the highest ROI and ROAS, and refine your approach accordingly. 

Better measurement = better results

Armed with richer campaign data, marketers can move beyond superficial ad metrics and delve into meaningful insights. This not only demystifies campaign and channel performance, it also enables smarter, more strategic decisions. 

The Chefz, a premium food and sweets platform in Saudi Arabia, faced the challenge of effectively marketing its services without a clear method of measuring results. Previously, it relied on ad impressions as its sole indicator of campaign success, mistaking popularity for true impact. By implementing Branch’s linking and measurement solutions, The Chefz gained real-time visibility into campaign and channel performance metrics, particularly across influencer marketing campaigns. Assigning unique Branch deep links to each influencer enabled precise tracking of clicks, conversions, and revenue, which allowed the team to understand which influencers yielded high ROI. This elimination of attribution blindspots led to a 650% increase in app revenue, 718% ROI on digital marketing programs, and 818% ROAS. 

Quote by Abdulrahman Madkhali, Marketing Manager at The Chefz: "As we expand our paid ads program to new ad networks, we can now get immediate feedback on what's working and what's note with Branch Analytics."

Navigate the complex world of mobile measurement with confidence

When mobile marketers harness the insights provided by linking and measurement tools like Branch, they enhance decision-making across the entire marketing spectrum –– from refining campaign copy and optimizing CTAs to strategically exploring new ad networks and allocating budgets. Better data not only fine-tunes the nuances of individual campaigns but also guides broader, strategic choices and ensures that every decision propels an app toward success. 

To learn more about getting started with Branch mobile app measurement, request a demo with our team.