Postback & Postback URL - what's up with that?

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What's a postback?

A postback (callback, server-to-server tracking) is an essential tool for tracking conversions and perfecting ad campaigns in digital marketing. Real-time notifications about user actions, such as installs, in-app purchases, and other conversion events, can be sent to app developers through postback. 

It offers accurate and trustworthy information about user behavior, allowing marketers to maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns by making data-driven decisions.

How does it work?

Postback URL is used in mobile app advertising campaigns to track conversions via server-to-server (S2S) communication. When a user completes a conversion event, such as an install or in-app purchase, the Postback URL is triggered and the tracking system is updated with pertinent data. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how it works:

  • Advertiser and mobile measurement partner (MMP) agreement: The advertiser and the MMP agree on the precise actions that must be tracked, like installs or in-app events.
  • Integration with ad networks: To track user actions and give credit to the appropriate party, ad networks and MMPs are integrated, and Postback URLs are shared between them.
  • Unique tracking link: The ad network or MMP generates the tracking link with an identifier, such as a click ID or transaction ID. Users can access the app or landing page of the advertiser using this link.
  • User interaction: The unique identifier is passed along with the action when a user clicks on the unique tracking link and completes the desired action in the advertiser's app, such as an install or in-app event.
  • Server-side tracking: The server of the advertiser logs the completed action and the unique id. The server then gets ready to inform the MMP or ad network that the action has been completed by sending a postback.
  • Postback URL activation: an HTTP request from the advertiser is sent to the Postback URL that the MMP or ad network has provided.  The unique identifier and any other pertinent details agreed upon by the parties are included in this request.
  • Conversion verification: After receiving the postback request, the MMP or ad network compares the unique identifier with the tracking link that was previously created. This demonstrates that the user action was successfully carried out and that it can be linked to the particular marketing campaign.
  • Reporting and payout: Any agreed-upon payout or commission is handled by the MMP or ad network, which also updates reporting for the advertiser and publisher.

Install postbacks and In-app event postbacks are the two main types of postbacks used in mobile app marketing. While an in-app event postback notifies the advertising source of an in-app event, such as a signup or level completion, an install postback notifies the advertising source of an install attribution.

Developers for iOS operating systems must take non-consenting iOS users into account and work with the SKAdNetwork (SKAN), Apple's attribution and ad measurement framework. To avoid single-user identification, SKAN only permits one postback per event, combining the install postback with the in-app event postback, and sends it with a delay.

Source: Apple Developer Documentation - the path of an ad impression that wins ad attribution

Postback URLs in mobile app marketing campaigns provide a more dependable and secure way to track user actions, ensuring the success of their campaigns and enabling real-time performance assessment and optimization.

How to implement it

Following a few straightforward steps will enable you to quickly and easily create a postback URL. Advertisers must first configure their tracking program to accept data from the postback URL. The next step is for them to create a postback URL unique to their marketing campaign. The mobile app marketing campaign needs to include the postback URL as well. Some troubleshooting advice for typical postback implementation issues is to work with the ad network or publisher to ensure that the postback URL is correctly configured and that any problems are promptly resolved. Advertisers should frequently review their conversion tracking data to ensure that every conversion event is reliably and accurately tracked. 


To sum it all up, postback and postback URLs are essential tools for mobile app advertising because they enable marketers to monitor user behavior and optimize their campaigns. By using postback URLs to track conversions, advertisers can gain a better understanding of how users interact with their apps. They can then make decisions based on data to improve user experience and increase ROI. 

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