Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via VisualHunt / CC BY

Day 18 of #productidea — Open-source mobile attribution system

This is part of my #productidea 30 day challenge on which each day I write about a new product idea.

This idea is a bit more technical than others so let me explain the problem. Imagine you have developed an app and you start to market it through PR, Facebook Ads and partners. You need to know which channels and ads are working better than others so you can reorientate your marketing campaign as you have more data available.

In order to track your app downloads and attribute them to one campaign or other, you currently need to use companies like Appsflyer, Adjust or Tune. They charge you up to $0.05 per tracked download. So if you have 100,000 downloads per month, you’ll have to pay them up to $5,000 each month. It’s the price of growth they say!

I was facing that situation a year ago and it hurted me a lot to pay that kind of money. Also, the provider I was using didn’t have a great API where I could get the data to mix it with our own. And that was a problem because we had to do some dirty tricks to mix attribution and user engagement data. We didn’t need to focus on optimizing CPIs (cost per install) but CPAUs (cost per active user). The situation has improved on the last year, but it’s not ideal yet.

The other day Adjust decided to change their pricing, in 10 days their clients will have to pay 5–10x what they were paying. Several friends were really angry at them because of the pricing change and the short notice. One of them mentioned we should look at building our own system, and this idea came back to me.

There are dozens of thousands of app developers with this problem, and we all rely on 3–5 companies to provide us with this data. What if we build an open source mobile attribution system? We could install it on our own servers or pay it monthly for the hosting. We could build a plugin system so anybody can contribute more marketing providers and better algorithms and stats to analyze our data. We could build an API to unleash creativity from other developers and open a new era on mobile analytics.

The only problem we have is with Facebook. You need to be a premium partner so they give you access to their data. I’m sure this problem can be solved once it’s talked with them.

Anyone ready for a challenge?