Google believes its latest API will provide developers with the app install data they need to make effective marketing decisions. The Play Referrer API grabs core information directly from the Play Store to help validate referral content.
"Understanding how people find your app and what they do once they've installed it is crucial to helping you make the right product decisions," explained Google in a blog post. "This is especially important when you're deciding your advertising strategy and budget."
In the modern app economy accurate referral data is a key component that app measurement and advertising companies rely on to correctly attribute app installs. It ensures the proper parties are given credit for referrals while also preventing fraudulent attempts to score install credit or discounts. Hence the Google Play Referrer API.
According to Google the API gathers precise information straight from the Play Store. Details include the referrer URL of the app package, the timestamp (down to the second) of when the referrer click happened, and the timestamp (again, down to the second) of when the install began.
Google says early trials of the API have led to satisfactory results.
"The new Play API provides us with the data we need to effectively detect and prevent click injection; it's a monumental step in securing a crucial information exchange on Android," exclaimed Paul Müller, CTO & Co-Founder, Adjust. Other early testers of the API include Tune, Singular, and AppsFlyer, all of whom had positive remarks about its functionality and the information derived.
The Google Play Referrer API works with the Play Store app from version 8.3.73 and up for all developers. In order to help developers get started, Google released the Install Referrer Library 1.0 for Android. It is available in Google's Maven repository. Google has lots of information about the API in the Install Referrer Client Library page, as well as in dedicated reference documentation.
Google notes that all communication with the Play Store takes place via a Service, so developers will need to establish a connection between their app and the Play Store. Other steps include implementing a listener, which can be current activity or other class. Once the core connection and listener are set, developers can start binding their app to the Play Store app service.
Developers who are unable to use Google's client library can use the AIDL interface to establish the proper connection with the Google Play Store on their own. Information on how to do that is available here.