Vancouver’s Tapstream has created a new URL shortening service designed to show app publishers the source of their users.
Released Thursday, Tapstream’s Taps.io creates custom URLs that monitor traffic to app websites and show which users actually download the app. Slaven Radic, the company’s co-founder, said the idea is to show which marketing channels drive downloads. If, for example, most of an app’s users downloaded it after clicking on a Twitter link, the publisher may want to invest in marketing on that channel.
The company’s services are aimed at app development companies, ad agencies and app publishers, many of whom make apps for major brands. When the company launched in May 2012, two of its first big clients were Bleacher Report and Hootsuite.
One of the big challenges in promoting apps is a lack of analytics. Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store both have data fences that don’t show attribution data, meaning app makers have limited ways of seeing how users found them. Tapstream’s goal is to illuminate that pathway.
The company also tracks in-app behaviour, so publishers can see which users make in app purchases, how often they open the app, what features they use and how long each visit is. By using the Taps.io service, publishers can then see where their most engaged users come from.
“That’s the holy grail: to be able to connect an engaged user to the source where they came from,” Radic said. “If the publisher knows where they are, they can acquire more.”
The in-app behaviour is also of particular interest to marketers, many of whom are hoping their apps lead to purchases (many of which still occur in offline retail space). Radic uses the food industry as an example. “If you’re a fast food chain, you want to see people using the app, clicking on the map and locating the nearest location. That’s the kind of engagement brands want,” he said.