What is a postback?
Meet us on the road! Check out where we'll be next! View Events ×

Get Fluent in Performance Marketing

Plain language explainers to help you keep up with the evolving digital landscape.


What is a postback?

A postback is generated when web servers communicate with one another to report a user's actions, like app installs or in-app activities, providing crucial data for advertisers and media sources to optimize their ad campaigns effectively.

How do postbacks work?

When a user clicks on an ad and completes a conversion on the advertiser's website, the advertiser's server sends a postback to the affiliate network's server. The postback contains details about the conversion, such as the user's (anonymized) ID, the conversion type, and the conversion value.

The affiliate network's server then processes the postback and updates the affiliate's account with the conversion information. This allows the affiliate to track their earnings and the advertiser to track the effectiveness of their campaign.

Types of postbacks:

  • Install postback: This informs the winning media source that it was credited for an app install. Advertisers can also choose to send limited data through a postback to partners that did not win the attribution.
  • In-app event postback: This updates the media source about a specific action taken by a user within the app after installation, like a purchase or level completion.

How to measure postbacks:

  • Delivery rate: The percentage of postbacks that are successfully delivered to the target server.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of postbacks that result in a desired action, such as a purchase or sign-up.
  • Accuracy: The percentage of postbacks that contain accurate information about the conversion.

Why are postbacks important to marketers?

Postbacks allow marketers to:

  • Track the effectiveness of their campaigns and attribute conversions to the correct sources.
  • Automate their campaigns and make more informed decisions about their marketing investments.
  • Prevent fraud and ensure that they are only paying for legitimate conversions.

Who needs to know what a postback is:

  • Performance marketer
  • Digital marketer
  • Affiliate marketer
  • Media buyer
  • User acquisition specialist
  • Campaign manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Agency owner
  • CMO

Use postback in a sentence: “Based on post-install activity delivered via postback, we were able to optimize campaign performance and deliver more highly engaged users.”