About App Event Optimization
Last updated, May 2024

As the global app market matures, marketers are having to think beyond the install event to maximize user Life Time Value (LTV) and ROI. This change means finding new users who will not only install but go on to trigger specific, valuable in-app events, such as Purchase, Subscribe, Achieve Level, etc. App Event Optimization (AEO) provides the power to do just that, all while controlling costs.

For example, a travel app has a high install volume but low customer LTV. By introducing AEO into their user acquisition strategy, this app can set Purchase as the key event they would like to optimize for in a campaign. TikTok will use data insights to serve the ad to users who fit the target criteria and show a propensity to purchase. Similarly, a gaming app can select Achieve Level to target users who are likely to reach a level that the advertiser has deemed valuable.

Key to success

  1. ​The Learning Phase: When a new campaign is launched, AEO takes time to ingest sufficient data signals from users taking the action for which an advertiser wishes to optimize. Although events will become available for optimization once one event conversion is reported, each campaign may take a little more time to warm up and reach its potential. We call this the Learning Phase. It is important to have patience and allow an AEO campaign to run for some days before making significant changes to the bid/budget/creative.

  2. ​Understanding Dedicated Campaigns: TikTok created Dedicated Campaigns to work with Apple's SKAdNetwork. To target iOS 14 (and above) users, advertisers must create a Dedicated Campaign, which has unique configuration requirements and best practices to keep in mind.

  3. ​Apple's Privacy Threshold: Serving AEO campaigns to iOS 14 (and above) users requires SKAdNetwork, which enforces Apple's Privacy Threshold. It is important to monitor AEO campaign performance to ensure that each AEO campaign of this type returns at least 90 daily app installs. Failing to reach this install volume may result in SKAdNetwork withholding conversion data, and preventing TikTok AEO campaigns from being correctly measured. These withheld conversions will be reported as Null Conversions by SKAdNetwork and will skew accurate AEO campaign performance on TikTok.

  4. ​High-quality creative: Having engaging and entertaining ads go a long way toward achieving a successful AEO campaign. Create ads that look like organic TikToks, and lead with user-generated content. Do not use the same creative across ad groups. Monitor performance to refresh creatives if performance degrades. The best practice is to update creatives every several days.

  5. ​Sufficient ad group budget and event bid: When using Cost Cap bidding, please set your bid according to the historical CPA for that event.

    • The daily ad group budget for a deep-funnel purchase event should be greater than or equal to 10 times event bid (or historical CPA for no bid).

    • For shallow and mid-funnel events such as Login, View Content, etc., the daily ad group budget should be greater than or equal to 20 times the event bid (or historical CPA for no bid).

AEO Solutions

Event count

There are two AEO solutions that differ in the way they optimize and measure purchase event conversions, AEO Once and AEO Every (only available for Android). Besides their event count settings, the two solutions share basic product structures and best practices.

AEO Once

AEO Once optimizes and measures based on a single purchase event per user, so it looks for users likely to make at least a single purchase, and will only attribute the unique purchase (first purchase) of that user back to the campaign even if a user goes on to make more than one purchase. This solution is best suited for app monetization models that rely on a single purchase event and for whom multiple purchases in a short window are not relevant.

For example, say a Utility App runs an AEO Once campaign and acquires User A. User A goes on to make only one purchase, signing up for their utility service. This unique purchase is reported and factored into the total Cost Per Purchase and ROAS for that campaign. However, if User A went on to make any additional purchases, they would not be factored into the total Cost Per Purchase and ROAS for that campaign.

AEO Every

AEO Every optimizes and measures based on multiple purchase events per user. It looks for users likely to make more than one purchase and will attribute all purchases made by that user back to the campaign within a 7-day window. This is best suited for app monetization models that rely on multiple purchase events per user. This is particularly relevant for gaming apps, including social casinos, sports betting, and casual genres. Non-gaming apps can also benefit from this solution, including food delivery, dating or lifestyle, and eCommerce.

For example, the Social Casino App runs an AEO Every campaign and acquires User B. User B goes on to make 3 purchases, all sports bets. All 3 purchases are reported and factored into the total Cost Per Purchase and ROAS for that campaign.

Please note that AEO Every is only available for Android In-App Event campaigns optimizing for purchase events.





Campaign Type


Bid Strategy




- TikTok

- Pangle

App Install

In-app event

- Maximum Delivery

- Cost Cap


Activating AEO Every

AEO Every will be chosen by default. To change between AEO Every and AEO Once, select the pencil icon next to Attribution setting to expand advanced attribution and event count options, and select Once.

The setting is only applicable to each individual ad group.

Once the setting is selected and the ad group is activated, no changes to the event count can be made.

A/B testing is supported to compare the performance of AEO Once vs. AEO Every settings.

AEO every Measurement

Cost Per Purchase and ROAS are the primary KPIs by which AEO Every performance should be measured

Once the AEO Every setting is chosen, CPA and Conversion reflect every purchase logic.

Please note that with this update, Value Based Optimization inherits every measurement change. This impacts the way conversions are reported for VBO campaigns. Now, Conversion reflects all purchase conversions, not just unique purchases.

The Learning Phase

At the beginning of an AEO campaign, the system may temporarily have a higher CPA due to insufficient samples. We call this period the Learning Phase.

As the number of event conversions increases, the system model will gradually improve, and the optimization effect will also improve.

  • ​​After 20-50 event conversions, optimization will improve, while CPA will reduce.

  • ​After 50 event conversions, the Learning Phase will end, and you will see efficient optimization.

The deeper the event you wish to optimize, the longer the system may take to pass the Learning Phase.

  • Any drastic change to bid, budget, ads, or targeting demographics will interrupt or restart the Learning Phase.

  • ​If changes are necessary during the Learning Phase, please do not make them more than once daily, and avoid a bid or budget change of greater than 10%.

Ad Group Budget

  • Greater than or equal to 20 times the average CPA for upper and mid-funnel events such as Registration or Achieve Level.

  • Greater than or equal to 10 times the average CPA for lower-funnel Purchase events.

Note: Daily ad group budgets should never be lower than $100 for both Cost Cap and Maximum Delivery bid strategies.

Bid Strategies

  • There are two bid strategies for AEO: Cost Cap and Maximum Delivery (no bid). The availability varies by operating system.

    • iOS Dedicated Campaign: Maximum Delivery

    • iOS regular campaign, Android: Cost Cap or Maximum Delivery

Cost Cap

  • Cost Cap allows advertisers to control the bid for their AEO conversions, and is suitable for those looking to control costs closely.

  • Please refer to the historical CPA for that event, and use this as a guide to set a reasonable bid.

    • Note: Please do not adjust your bid by more than 10% during the Learning Phase.

      • Subsequent adjustments should also be as minor as possible, and should not exceed a 50% change at any time.

    • Note: Cost Cap bidding for AEO for iOS DC is not yet available for App Profile Page. Advertisers must uncheck the App Profile Page checkbox at the campaign creation level, otherwise, the Cost Cap bidding option will not show as available at the ad group creation level.

Maximum Delivery

Maximum Delivery allows advertisers to maximize their daily ad group budget by having the system control the bid, maximizing budget consumption to drive the most results possible given a specific budget over a selected period.

Events overview

  • Event Type: Advertisers can select an event to optimize based on their category and use case needs. For example, an eCommerce advertiser may choose to Add to Cart as their optimization event, whereas a gaming advertiser may choose Achieve Level as their optimization event.

  • Event Depth: Advertisers can target two levels of optimization based on which optimization event they choose: shallow-funnel and deep-funnel events. These are categorized based on where in the user journey these events are triggered. Although all event types only require one conversion to be unlocked for use, they require different amounts of data to optimize performance.

    • ​Upper and Mid-funnel events: These events are posted back within a few days of installation, and include events such as Login, Register, View Content, etc. Because the events are shallow and the volume of potential users is relatively large, it is easier to obtain more of these events in a shorter time frame.

    • ​Deep-funnel events: These events are not posted back as quickly, and the time of that post back cannot be predicted, such as Purchase. The volume of potential users is relatively small and more difficult to acquire, so advertisers must be more patient when optimizing for deep-funnel events.

Event Unlocking Logic

To more flexibly meet our advertisers' needs and increase adoption, App Event Optimization is now easier than ever to unlock and quickly deploy to realize success. You must verify your TikTok App ID with your MMP to take advantage of the below features. 

  • ​Threshold: One event.

  • ​Window: None, events remain unlocked once the first conversion is received.

  • ​Source: Attributed and unattributed event conversions will unlock AEO.

  • ​Level: TikTok App ID level.

    • For example: If App A unlocks Purchase in Advertiser Account 1, App A can optimize for Purchase in Advertiser Account 2 without needing to unlock the event again.

  • ​Your TikTok App ID must be verified with your Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) in each Advertiser Account in which it is used.

Event Availability

Campaign Type

Non-DC (Android and below iOS 14)

DC (iOS 14 and above)


- Purchase

- Registration

- ​Add to Cart

- ​Subscription

- ​Achieve Level

- ​View content

- Checkout

- Start Trial

- Search

- Login

- Loan Application

- Join Group

- Complete Tutorial

- Add Payment Info

- Unlock Achievement (Retargeting only)

- In-App Ad Impression (Retargeting only)

- In-App Click (Retargeting, SDK only)

- Launch App (Retargeting only)

- Generate Lead (Retargeting only)

- Purchase

- Registration

- ​Add to Cart

- ​Subscription

- ​Achieve Level

- ​View content

- Checkout

- Start Trial

- Search

- Login

- Loan Application

- Join Group

- Complete Tutorial

- Add Payment Info

Unlock Threshold

One event was recorded at the TikTok App ID level.

One event was recorded at the TikTok App ID level.

Bid Strategy

Maximum Delivery or Cost Cap

Maximum Delivery

For more information on Maximum Delivery and Cost Cap, refer to Bidding Strategies.

Attribution Settings (Android only)

Once and Every count options are available for purchase events under advanced attribution settings.

Impact of Unattributed Events

Beyond their ability to unlock AEO events, sharing unattributed events with TikTok can help improve AEO performance by as much as 6%. The larger the volume of events, the better the performance potential.

iOS 14 Impact and Dedicated Campaigns

After Apple announced the enforcement of its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, TikTok launched its iOS 14 Dedicated Campaigns (DC) to adapt to this change. App Event Optimization is available for iOS 14 dedicated campaigns, but there are some unique factors to keep in mind to achieve success using iOS DC campaigns.

You must choose a Dedicated Campaign that conforms to SKAdNetwork setup and data restrictions to target iOS 14 (and above) traffic.

For more information, refer to the iOS 14 Help Center.

Before ATT Enforcement (Before April 26, 2021

After ATT Enforcement (After April 26, 2021)

Dedicated Campaign (DC)

iOS 14 and above

iOS 14 and above

Non-Dedicated Campaign (Non-DC)

Full Traffic

Android and iOS 14 and above

Campaign Setup Guide

Campaign and Ad Group Settings

  1. Click Create new under the Campaign page on TikTok Ads Manager.

  2. ​Select Auction as the Buying type and App Promotion as the advertising objective.

  3. ​Select App install as the App promotion type.

    • You can select App retargeting as the App promotion type to run an AEO retargeting campaign.

  4. Input a suitable campaign name under Settings.

    • We suggest you include AEO in the title. Select Continue.

  5. Input your Ad group name. Then, select the appropriate Buying type, and choose your app from the drop-down list.

  6. Choose your ad placement.

    • Automatic Placement will show your ad across multiple placements (TikTok, Pangle, etc.) where available.

    • Select Placement limits your ad to show on selected placement only. AEO is compatible with both.

  7. Select your audience targeting mode under Targeting.

    • ​We suggest using Automatic Targeting to keep the audience broad. Select your target Location(s) and Languages.

  8. Select a Daily budget under Budget and Schedule.

    • ​Upper and mid-funnel events: Greater than or equal to 20 times historic CPA.

    • ​Lower-funnel events: Greater than or equal to 10 times historic CPA for lower-funnel events.

    • ​Schedule setting can be based on your preference and strategy.

  9. Select your optimization goal under Bidding and Optimization by choosing In-app event.

    • Then, choose the desired in-app event you wish to optimize toward.

  10. ​Select your bid strategy under Bidding and Optimization:

    • Cost Cap: sets a bid and controls cost.​

      • For Cost Cap bid amount, please refer to the historical event CPA.

    • Maximum Delivery: lets the system choose the bid and maximize the daily ad group budget.


Can I run AEO campaigns immediately?

Yes. Choose the strategy that best meets your business goals (installs, event conversions, or value).

Can running install campaigns first increase my AEO success?

Running MAI can be helpful before running AEO campaigns as they may provide good insights on a baseline for historical creative performance, audience performance, and budget and bid best practices.

What is a Trigger Point?

A Trigger Point is an event you have identified as particularly valuable; one that is a leading indicator of a purchase or other deep funnel event.

For example, a gaming app may identify users who reach level 5 in the app are 10x more likely to continue playing and, as a result, more likely to make purchases. In this case, Achieve Level 5 would be a key trigger point when optimizing for revenue and LTV.

What is Event Mapping?

Using the above Trigger Point example, you can link the specific Achieve Level 5 event on your MMP to connect to the standard Achieve Level event on TikTok. This way, all AEO campaigns optimizing for Achieve Level on TikTok will be optimized for your valuable trigger point.

Does event unlocking work across apps?

No. You must unlock each event on both your iOS and Android version of the apps, even if they share an advertiser account.

Does event unlocking work across advertiser accounts?

Yes. Events will carry over based on the app. However, you must verify the TikTok App ID with MMP each time you load it into a new TikTok advertiser account.

Under what circumstances should I close and reconfigure my ad groups?

If within the first 2 days of the campaign you notice any of the following:

  • ​0 impressions

  • ​0 budget consumption

  • ​Very low install volume with high CPI (Cost Per Install)