What Is App Set ID on Android and What Can It Be Used For?

By Vungle | February 25, 2022

The App Set ID Android feature helps publishers interlink their entire portfolio in a more privacy-centric ads industry.

The shifting landscape for ads on mobile devices means new tools such as App Set ID are becoming increasingly important for advertisers, developers, and publishers alike. Changes brought on by growing privacy concerns among consumers mean disruption to old methods, but they also bring new opportunities to become a more self-sufficient and data-driven business.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with one of the most important new additions to your kit. This article will lay out the basic purpose of the App Set ID Android function, explain what differentiates it from other tools you may already be familiar with, and offer some examples of its uses in mobile marketing.

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What is App Set ID on Android?
What can App Set ID be used for in mobile marketing?
How does App Set ID compare to IDFV on iOS?

What is App Set ID on Android?

Broadly speaking, App Set ID on Android is a unique ID that can be used by publishers to know which of their apps any given user has installed — that’s the “set” in App Set ID.

Here’s a more specific example: Say a user has a single app from Example Publishing Co. installed on their device. If Example Publishing’s app asks Android for the device’s App Set ID, Android will return one particular string of characters. If the same user then installs another app from Example Publishing, when that app asks Android for the device’s App Set ID, it will receive the same string of characters.

Even without knowing anything else about the user in question, Example Publishing Co. now knows which of its apps the user has installed. If the user later installs a third app from a different company, Alternative Developments Inc., the App Set ID that app returns for the device will be a different string of characters. Alternative Developments Inc. doesn’t get any of the additional context about the user that Example Publishing Co. has access to, nor does it work the other way around, because the device’s App Set ID is only consistent across each publisher’s portfolio. The App Set ID will also be reset if all the apps in the set are uninstalled from the device, or if they go more than 13 months without being used.

App Set ID was first introduced in preview form in July 2021 as part of a broader set of privacy-focused changes to Google Play policies. According to the Android Developer documentation, App Set ID still isn’t complete in implementation, with some new scope-related features due to arrive in the future.

What can App Set ID be used for in mobile marketing?

One of the primary use cases for tracking the App Set ID Android feature is as a limited replacement for Android Advertising ID. Due to recent changes to Google policies, Android users can now opt out of making their AAID available to apps, which means advertisers can’t rely on accessing this singular, device-wide ID as much as they could in the past. Google has not provided any such device-wide way to opt out of sharing App Set ID; given the feature’s significantly reduced scope and lessened impact for privacy concerns, the company probably won’t need to any time soon.

Also Read: What Is Android Advertising ID (AAID)?

A broad enough portfolio of apps and their associated data can still give advertisers a great deal of useful information, even with organization-specific limitations. App Set ID rewards publishers for diversifying their portfolios, making it possible to reach new users through a variety of entry points, then convert them via in-app advertisements or cross-promotional offers. Even if one particular app isn’t a big moneymaker, a few well-placed tie-ins could start a user on a more lucrative journey throughout a publisher’s broader portfolio.

How does App Set ID compare to IDFV on iOS?

Android and iOS differ in several key areas for advertisers, but this particular feature isn’t one of them: Apple’s Identifier For Vendor and Google’s App Set ID are extremely similar in function. Just like App Set ID, IDFV’s purpose is to let publishers, in this case referred to as App Store vendors, identify which of their apps are installed on a particular device. Each set of apps from a publisher installed on the same device will return the same IDFV, while a different publisher’s apps on the same device will return a different IDFV.

One key difference between the two operating systems is how pressing the need for alternative ad tracking solutions is on Android compared to iOS. The Limit Ad Tracking feature introduced in iOS 14 requires people to specifically opt in to share their device’s Identifier for Advertisers on an app-by-app basis, presenting users with the choice via a pop-up window the first time they use any app. The equivalent limit ad tracking feature on Android is found nested several layers deep within the device’s settings menu, where fewer users are likely to use it unless specifically prompted by external factors.

In short, device-wide tracking solutions remain a safer bet on Android, however their time as the key to mobile advertising frameworks is likely still limited — it just may take longer for that endpoint to arrive on Android than it did on iOS. That means now is the perfect time to start building future-proof alternatives into your business model, and Vungle can help.

Partnering with Vungle will give you instant access to the intricately detailed contextual data of GameRefinery by Vungle as well as the predictive intelligence of AlgoLift by Vungle, helping to create and guide campaigns based on measures that keep you in control. Our integrated approach to ad intelligence and automated bid management will make sure your business continues to grow and thrive in this new era of mobile advertising.

Want to learn more? Contact us today to get started.