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Deep Linking

TermRelated TermsDefinition
Universal Resource Identifier (URI)A “Universal Resource Identifier” is an address that can be registered by an application, telling the operating system that it can be opened by links with that address (i.e. http://, etc). If no apps on a device are registered for a URI, the OS will display a “resource not found” error modal.
Deep LinkingMobile app deep links point to content that exists inside an app. If a user clicks a link and has the relevant app, the link will take them directly to the app and the specific content featured in the ad.
Universal LinksA deep linking technology only available on iOS that allows you to open the app without a browser modal asking for permission. If the app is not installed, this technology can gracefully redirect to a web browser. This technology typically only works in platforms owned by Apple (i.e., Safari, iMessage, etc).
Apple App Site Association (AASA)The “Apple App Site Association” file is required by Apple to be hosted by a domain, in order to enable that domain to open an app via iOS Universal Links technology. The AASA file contains a reference to the app ID the domain would open.
Android App LinksA deep linking technology only available on Android, which can open the app without ever requiring the Android “chooser” modal that asks the user to select the app to open. If the app is not installed, this technology can gracefully redirect to a web browser.
Digital Asset Links (DAL)The “Digital Asset Links” file is required by Google to be hosted by a domain, in order to enable that domain to open an app via Android App Links technology. The DAL file contains a reference to the app ID that the domain would like to open.
Facebook App LinksA deep linking method required in Facebook, which uses Facebook-specific meta tags on a web URL that enable opening the app via URI scheme.
Chrome IntentsA deep linking method only available in Android & Chrome, which can open the app directly by embedding specific HTML code directly on a given webpage.
Deferred Deep LinkWhen deep linking executes through an install.
App IndexingFirebase App Indexing is a 1:1 mapping of website to app links. It is no longer recommended by Google.

Matching & Attribution

TermRelated TermsDefinition
Browser CookieA small file stored in a browser cache that can record user identity & behavior. Browser cookies cannot be accessed from outside the browser, so other browsers & apps cannot access them for attribution purposes.
Query ParameterA key/value pair or “tag” that is appended to the end of a URL to add metadata that is accessible in a web session. In regards to web analytics, these are typically used to attribute web sessions back to a marketing channel.
i.e., in the URL, “utm_medium=email” is a query parameter that sends a metadata key of “utm_medium” into the web/app session, with a value of “email.”
Device IDA unique identifier made available by iOS and Android core libraries to enable app developers to track individual instances of a device. A Device ID is not accessible from within a web browser by a webpage.
IDFAIDFA, or Identifier for Advertisers, is Apple’s standard for allowing mobile ad networks to track users and show targeted ads. It is persistent across all apps in a device. IDFA allows users to opt out of ad tracking or reset their IDFA at any time.
Google's version is the GAID or the older AAID.
IDFVA persistent identifier that is different for each app vendor (for example, it would be the same for Facebook & Facebook Messenger, but different for Twitter). This will be the fallback if an IDFA is unavailable.
AttributionAttribution is the practice that allows marketers to measure the value and effectiveness of specific ad campaigns in achieving measurable results. In mobile attribution there are three attribution providers: web only, app only, and web and app (cross-platform).
Biased Attribution“Biased attribution” is used to describe measurements from platforms that have a conflict of interest when it comes to attributing traffic, installs and conversions. Using a third party unbiased attribution provider will give the most accurate data.
Attribution WindowAn attribution window is the length of time in which a conversion event (like an app install) can be claimed by an event caused by an advertising campaign (like a link click).
People-Based AttributionPeople-Based Attribution is an attribution system that tracks touchpoints and conversions across all platforms. It combines ways of identifying users across mobile and web to keep the same user from being counted multiple times.
Last-Touch AttributionAttribution logic that gives credit for an event to the most recent click or impression.
Multi-Touch AttributionAttribution logic that gives credit for an event to all clicks and impressions leading up to the event.
View-Through AttributionThe ability to attribute a downstream event back to an ad impression, regardless of whether a click occurred.
Monthly Active Users (MAU)The number of device-level interactions indicating at least one session of a unique user in a given calendar month.

Branch Core Platform

TermRelated TermsDefinition
SDKAn SDK, or Software Development Kit, is a set of tools to help developers build applications. They can be general, like to develop an app for iOS, or specific, like to set up the Branch platform. Branch has SDKs for iOS, Andriod, web, and other platforms.
APIAn API, or Application Programming Interface, is a software intermediary that allows two apps to communicate. Not all APIs are SDKs (Software Development Kits), but all SDKs are or have APIs included in them. The difference is that SDKs are client-side libraries that facilitate the usage of an API, but often include more than just the API.
Branch DashboardA Web UI where users can access analytics, enable core integrations, create links and smart banners, build deepview templates, add users and set permissions, and export data.
LiveviewReal-time feed of event data.
Quick LinkA Branch link built from within the dashboard.
App LinkThis is the default Branch domain given to all brands when they build their own Branch links. App Links take people to an app or specific app content. All app links require a live, functional website to work.
Short LinkA Branch link uniquely identified by its "alias," a unique path appended to the end of a Branch subdomain.
i.e., in the link, "sms" is the alias.
Dynamic Long LinkA Branch link that's customized by appending a series of query parameters to the end of a Branch subdomain.
i.e., the link https:// will send the key/value pairs of example/on and ~campaign/test into the ESPN app.
3p LinkA specially formatted Branch link tailored to the requirements of a given marketing third party, like an ad network or SMS provider.

Branch Analytics

Event Ontology (EO)The name of the event taxonomy used by Branch for analytics.
PageviewA Pageview is measured every time a webpage loads with the Branch Web SDK. Put differently, a Pageview is tracked whenever the Branch Web SDK initializes.
Branch CTA View (View)A banner or Deepview that renders in a user's browser.
Web Session StartA Web Session Start is measured every time a webpage with the web SDK opens in a new tab, or when a user clicks on a Branch link and is redirected to a page with the web SDK.
ImpressionAn impression is when a paid ad is rendered in a user's screen. It is tracked via MMP API or Branch impression link.
ClickA click occurs whenever a Branch link is clicked.
InstallAn install is the act of downloading a piece of software onto a device. It is measured by Branch the first time the app is opened on a device.
OpenAfter the initial install, an Open occurs every time an app is opened on a device.
ReinstallThe first time a user installs an app after previously uninstalling it.
UniqueEvents like clicks and opens de-duped or consolidated via Branch Link Graph.
i.e., two clicks on a link by the same user would count as a single click.
Click-to-Install (CTI)The number of app installs divided by the number of views
Click-Through Rate (CTR)The number of clicks divided by the number of ad impressions or views.
Click-to-Open (CTO)The number of app opens divided by the number of views.

Branch Product-Specific Terminology

TermRelated TermsDefinition
In-App SharingUsing Branch mobile or web SDKs to allow to share deep links from the app or website to drive conversion.
ReferralsBranch's rewards tracking tool that connects to in-app sharing to reward users for sharing links that drive conversions.
App-to-AppUsing Branch links in one app to route users to another app.
Event TrackingUsing Branch's SDK to track custom events and connect those events to Branch's attribution engine. This will show how many downstream events were driven by specific campaigns.
Cohort AnalysisCohorts are groups of people who share behavioral characteristics or take part in certain events in a given time period (e.g., “users who signed up in the last 10 days”). Cohort analysis allows marketers to to compare both the volume of engagement attributed to a campaign as well as the quality of that engagement.
Web-to-AppPremium products that drive traffic from the web into an app.
JourneysBranch's smart banners that render on web pages to drive users towards installing or opening the app.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)AMP, introduced by Google, is a framework for building web pages for mobile that provides faster loading speed and better formatting for mobile and higher visibility on search since AMP results are prioritized. AMP is able to load pages quickly because it renders content strategically. However, links take users back to a search page rather than further content.
Text Me the App (TMTA)A web SDK feature designed for desktop web UIs that enables a form for users to text themselves a Branch link to download an app or deep link to content.
DeepviewsDeepviews are dynamically generated webpages, programmatically built based off data contained in a Branch link. They display a preview of app content a user would see if they download or open the app.
Data FeedsA Premium product to surface and export data.
WebhooksAlso referred to as "postbacks," webhooks are real-time network pings that notify a server location when a specific event occurs.
Data IntegrationAn analytics service that sends tracked Branch data to a third party analytics provider through a series of preset webhooks. Event Ingestion is the reverse, where Branch imports events from a third party.
Export APIAn API endpoint that allows customers to download all user-level data, in a list of CSV files, for one day within the last week.
Query APIAn API endpoint to pull the same campaign-level data that is surfaced in the dashboard.
Universal AdsA Premium product that allows customers to create ads that will deep link into an app and provide last-touch attribution across all ad networks and platforms.
PublisherA website or app that sells ad space on their digital property.
AdvertiserA company that buys ad space to market their own products and services.
Ad NetworksAn ad network is a company that connects advertisers to apps and websites that want to host advertisements to promote their products and services.
Supply-Side Platform (SSP)An SSP, or Supply-Side Platform, allows ad publishers to manage, sell, and optimize their impression inventory by having the SSP surface their listings and source bids.
Demand-Side Platform (DSP)A DSP, or Demand-Side Platform, refers to a company or a platform that allows media buyers to manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts through one interface because a DSP handles a marketer's bidding across available networks and publishers.
SAN, non-SAN"Self-Attributing Networks" are ad networks that have infrastructure to track users and conversions to attribute downstream behavior that occurs within their ecosystem. Non-SANs require a third party like Branch to provide attribution data.
MMPA "Mobile Measurement Partner" is a designation used by SANs to identify third parties that are approved to connect to their private APIs.
FraudSince ad engagement has a dollar value, malicious publishers are incentivized to falsely generate engagement through various means. Branch provides a fraud detection service that can surface areas of potentially fraudulent activity.
Cost IngestionBranch's ability to ingest ad spend data from an ad network to surface it alongside campaign-level data in the dashboard. Only a few select networks provide this data in their API.
Universal EmailA Premium product to track the usage of Branch links in marketing emails and deliver click data back to the ESP for reporting.
ESP"Email Service Providers" are marketing platforms like Salesforce that enable large-scale email sends.
CTD"Click Tracking Domains" are web redirects applied to links sent in emails, funneling traffic through an ESP or third party provider. This can cause issues, as Universal Links on iOS don't work if triggered by a redirect.
Simplified IntegrationA Branch email integration that can automate certain implementation processes by applying a CNAME to the CTD that points to Branch. Auto-Branchify is a feature of this that will automatically convert web links to Branch links.

Other Related Terminology

Ad StackingAd stacking is a type of mobile display fraud in which an ad network or publisher stacks multiple ads in one ad placement unit. In these situations, only one ad is seen by a user but multiple advertisers are billed.
Click HijackingClick hijacking is a type of attribution fraud generated by mobile malware that gets embedded in legitimate-looking apps. A fraudulent click from a different ad network is created and sent immediately after a legitimate click is detected, claiming the last-touch position for the app install event.
Click InjectionClick injection is similar in concept to click hijacking. When a user has a fraudulent app on their device and downloads a legitimate app, the fraudulent app will know about it and the fraudulent app, possessing the tracking codes and device ID, will report a click and be traced as the last-touch event.
Click FloodingClick flooding typically happens when a bot cycles through as many device IDs as possible and repeatedly fires off clicks from each ID. Click flooding leads to fraud when the fake clicks claim organic installs or steal the “last touch” on an ad before an install is completed.
Device ID Reset FraudApple’s IFDA allows users to reset their IFDA at any time. However, fraudsters can use this effect to install, use, uninstall, and reinstall an app over and over, resetting the IFDA each time.
Mobile Ad FraudMobile Ad Fraud refers to fraudulent activities that steal advertising budget, usually by claiming the last-touch position for conversions (which companies have to pay for).
Emulated DevicesEmulated devices are mobile operating systems running on non-mobile devices. They are useful in helping developers test their apps on different operating systems but create an opportunity for fraud when scripted emulators repeatedly interact with an ad campaign.
Phone FarmPhone farming is a method of creating passive income by using multiple phones to perform the same action simultaneously. The term can also be applied to operations that enlist dozens or even hundreds of phones to create a certain outcome.
Cookie StuffingCookie stuffing is an illegal affiliate marketing practice where a third-party cookie from a website unrelated to that which is visited by the user is dropped in the background without the user’s knowledge.
ARPUARPU stands for “Average Revenue Per User”, and is helpful when trying to determine an app’s sustainability or its path to profitability. It is calculated by dividing total revenue by the number of subscribers or paid customers over a time period (usually monthly or annually).
CPACPA, or Cost per Action, is used mainly for paid digital marketing campaigns and calculated by dividing the overall campaign cost by the number of user actions. Some ad networks can be paid to track CPA, but the ad network will retain the benefit if they perform well.
CPCCPC, or Cost per Click, tracks what a marketer is paying for each click for their ads and is calculated by dividing the total cost by the total number of clicks. Most advertisers and publishers will use a combination of CPC and CPM (cost per mille) models.
CPICPI, or Cost per Install, is calculated by dividing the ad spend by the number of installs over a specific period of time. For mobile, CPI campaigns are made up of digital ads published across a range of media to try and drive installs, with the company being charged by the publisher for each install.
LTVLifetime Value, is the worth a user brings to a company over the course of their whole user lifecycle.
Retention RateRetention Rate tells marketers what percentage of users still use an app after installation, and is calculated by dividing the total number of users who activate a session by the number of installs in a time period.
KPIA KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is a way to measure success over time. Most KPIs fall into one of four categories: cost reduction, revenue/profit improvement, customer satisfaction, and process improvement.
K-FactorK-Factor is a way to measure app virality - that is, how many new activated users are generated by an existing one. K-factor is calculated with this equation: (download -> activation)(activation -> share)(share -> new viral-driven download) over a set period of time.
Matching AccuracyWritten as a percentage, Matching Accuracy describes the level of confidence an attribution provider has in their ability to match web and app users.
Conversion RateThe rate at which users take a desired conversion action.
FragmentationMajor web platforms have all designed their user experiences independently of each other, so they all have different standards of deep linking and the functioning of a deep link becomes context-specific to the platform.
RetargetingRetargeting is a specific type of targeted advertising that relies on the identification of a user across visits to an app or website (people-based attribution).
Dormant UserDormant or inactive users are users that have at one time performed a relevant activity but have not been active for a long time.
User AgentA User Agent is a field in a browser request header that helps a server understand what type of device a browser is running on. User agents are also part of the information used for attribution techniques like device point in time modeling.
Hosted Deep LinksHosted Deep Links are deep links that run through a hosted linking platform that manages all the different deep linking standards.
Mobile Banners and InterstitialsMobile banners use a portion of the screen on a mobile webpage to encourage users to open content in the app. "Smart" banners will automatically adjust the text to say either “Open” or “Install” based on whether the user has the app. Interstitials use a large portion of the screen compared to a banner's small portion.