What is a postback?
A postback refers to an exchange of data between servers that is used to attribute and report on a user’s action and behavior in a website, app, or network. A postback contains the information needed by attribution providers in order to accurately determine what actions a user took on a website or app. Also referred to as a callback, a postback is a type of attribution that notifies an ad network that a user has taken an in-action or performed a conversion event such as an install.
There are two main types of postbacks:
- Install postback: This type of postback tells the media source that led to an install that it was attributed for the conversion.
- In-app postback event: This is used to inform the original media source of actions that users take in-app.
Aside from these two main postback mechanism kinds, it’s important to note that Apple’s SKAdnetwork works differently due to the AppTrackingTransparency update. However, SKAN does also send postbacks with different data payloads, depending on privacy thresholds.
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What are the uses of postbacks?
Postbacks are used by advertisers and ad networks in order to provide key information to both parties about the performance of their ad campaigns. This feedback loop between advertisers and ad networks provides several key benefits, including:
- It helps advertisers optimize the performance of their campaigns
- It helps ad networks accurately report on and bill advertisers for conversion events such installs or purchases
As mentioned, postbacks in SKAdnetwork work slightly different as Apple manages the process of sending postbacks and also controls how much data these postbacks contain. SKAN v3 postbacks combine install and in-app events into a single postback. There is also a randomized time delay of at least 24 hours before this postback data is sent to ensure that the user can’t be identified. SKAN v4 will send more postbacks — up to three — if Apple decides there are enough installs to enable crowd anonymity.
You can learn more about iOS 15 and SKAdNetwork postbacks in our article on the topic here.
How does Singular work with postbacks?
As a leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, Singular works with various ad networks to retrieve, attribute, and report on postback data. These ad networks need to be integrated to work, as highlighted in our guide on How to Configure Partner Settings and Postbacks
Before Singular can track installs and events for an ad network, you need to set up that network as a partner in the Attribution > Partner Configuration page. This is where you set up real-time postbacks (also known as callbacks) to let the partner know about installs and other events.
Remember that Partner configuration is a separate process from setting up a data connector for a network. A data connector pulls data from a network so you can analyze the information in Singular. Partner configuration sets up attribution tracking settings and postbacks.
In summary, a postback event provides advertisers and media sources with the information they need to properly report on and optimize ad campaigns. By working with a solution like Singular, marketers gain access to more granular performance insights that can be used to improve the ROI of their overall marketing budget.