What are Tracking Parameters and how do they work?

Tracking parameters are variables that are added to URLs and links within an app. When users click on these links or perform actions, the parameters send data to analytics platforms.

The parameters allow this data about how users are interacting with the app to be tracked. This enables developers to view analytics on user behavior in the app.

 How do Tracking Parameters Work?

We’ll explain what tracking parameters are at a basic level, how they are implemented in apps, the types of data they can collect, and their benefits for gaining insights into user behavior and improving app performance. 

Whether you’re new to app analytics or looking for a refresher, this guide will outline the fundamentals of how tracking parameters function to monitor engagement and conversions within apps.

Types of Tracking Parameters

  • UTM – The UTM set tracks traffic sources, campaigns, keywords and more.
  • User ID – Identifies individual users to track behavior over time. 
  • Device ID – Distinguishes devices to see performance across them.
  • Ad ID – Identifies users who clicked on a specific ad to attribute installs.
  • Timestamp – Records the date and time of user actions.

These parameters pass data to analytics platforms like Google Analytics when users click URLs or tap on screens. The collected data provides valuable behavioral insights.

Why Track Parameters Matter?

1.  Pinpoint Acquisition Sources – Identify the most effective channels, campaigns, and creatives driving installs. Double down on what works.

2.  Attribute Conversions – Tie revenue events like purchases back to user acquisition sources. Know your highest ROI sources. 

3.  Segment Users – Group users based on behavior, demographics, devices, and more. Target them accordingly.

4.  Optimize User Flows – See how users navigate through the app over time. Improve friction points.

5.  Monitor Retention – Track the churn rate of users from different channels. Focus on retained users.

Parameters fall into five main categories

  • Traffic Sources – UTM parameters, social network IDs, referring domains
  • Attribution – Ad IDs, click IDs, campaign IDs  
  • User Identity – User IDs, account IDs, hashed email addresses 
  • Device Identity – Device make/model, OS version, mobile carrier
  • Engagement – Timestamps, pages viewed, button clicks

Pick parameters strategically based on what data would be most impactful for your app. Avoid collecting personally identifiable information when possible.


Q1: What is a tracking parameter?

A1: A tracking parameter is data appended to a URL to track user behavior.

Q2: How do URL parameters work?

A2: URL parameters allow passing data through the URL that can be read server-side.

Q3: What is a tracking parameter or a URL?

A3: A tracking parameter is data appended to a URL to monitor user activity.

Q4: What is an example of a tracking link?  

A4: A link with UTM parameters like utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign.

Q5: Why generating URLs with tracking parameters is important?

A5: It allows attributing actions to specific campaigns and optimizing marketing.

Sunil Gill
Sunil Gill

A digital entrepreneur with over 9 years of experience in digital marketing. Over the years, I have developed a strong passion for app marketing and love to create engaging and informative content around it.