Glossary
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What Is Mobile Attribution?

Mobile attribution helps mobile advertisers discover where their app users come from and how they behave inside the app.

Advertisers benefit from attribution when they set up install and non-install campaigns because it allows them to better understand which channel or campaign has helped them acquire users – that is, they can understand how users have interacted with an ad and if the ad has led to an install. They can also track what their users do in an app after installing it.
Key Takeaways
  • Advertisers can better understand which channel or campaign has helped them acquire users
  • View-through attribution and click-through attribution specifically help UA managers see how users have reacted to their ads
  • Attribution providers collect and share user data about device, ad campaign, advertising ID

How Does Mobile Attribution Work?

UA teams often work with mobile attribution partners to monitor the success of their ad campaigns and initiatives. They can do this by tracking certain events, such as app installs, clicks, engagement, and in-app purchases, for example. 

They will look at two types of attribution to monitor how users react to their ads: view-through attribution or VTA (when users view an ad and then later install it). The install could happen a matter of days after the user has viewed the ad. There is also click-through attribution (when users click on an ad and install an app).

phone mockup showing how view-through and click-through attribution work

Various attribution models give credit to different user actions during their interaction with an app – these include 

  • last-click attribution – credit is only assigned to the last action a user takes before the final conversion
  • first-click attribution – credit is only assignment to the first action a user takes before the final conversion
  • linear attribution – equal credit is assigned to all actions a user has taken before the final conversion 

The final conversion is usually an install or re-engagement with an app. Apps must first determine which user actions and conversion events are most valuable to them to evaluate their marketing efforts – do they want to look at installs, in-app purchases, or engagement?

What Data Is Collected by Attribution Providers? 

The attribution provider – often a mobile measurement partner (MMP) – receives data points for user acquisition campaigns and shares this data with UA managers. The MMP collects this data from ad networks and their SDK integrated in an advertiser’s app. These data points include the following:

  1. Device: This provides information about the device type (whether a tablet or mobile phone), name and model
  2. Advertising ID: GAID for Android devices, IDFA for iOS devices
  3. Campaign-specific details: This includes campaign ID, targeting group ID, creative set ID, name of campaign, CPI value, currency, view ID and click ID – this information is often determined through a tracking link
  4. IP address
  5. User agent: This provides information about a user’s browser and operating system
  6. Install referrer (for Android only)

These data points altogether help create a clearer picture of how users behave in an app and where these users have come from.

Why Is Mobile Attribution Important?

Mobile attribution reports allow app marketers and UA teams to monitor the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and channels and subsequently identify initiatives to boost their KPIs – such as tweaking creatives to boost CTR – or adjusting CPI bids on certain channels or with certain audience segments to get higher ROAS.

 It can help them understand their users’ behavior at certain in-app events and find the link between ad spend and the number of conversions.

UA managers can observe how a user journey from a certain UA source – such as Facebook – compares to another UA source. 

Privacy regulations have tightened over recent years, meaning that advertisers must ask for consent to obtain GAID and IDFA identifiers for tracking and attribution.  This has made mobile app attribution more challenging; it is now more important than ever to track other data points – such as device ID and campaign-specific information – to understand app user behavior better.

Conclusion

Mobile app attribution plays a crucial role in the ad ecosystem. With it, advertisers can monitor how well a campaign has performed – and gain insights into how to refine future strategies and campaigns to acquire more users or re-engage them. 

With privacy regulations becoming stricter for iOS and Android devices, it is more important to UA teams to fully utilize every insight gained from their attribution providers to ensure they are using their campaign budgets as wisely as possible.

What Is Mobile Attribution?

Mobile attribution tells mobile advertisers where their app users come from and how they behave inside an app. 

UA teams look at two types of attribution to monitor how users react to their ads: view-through attribution or VTA (when users view an ad and then later install it). There is also click-through attribution (when users click on an ad and install an app).

How Does Mobile App Attribution Work?

UA teams often work with mobile attribution partners to track the progress of their ad campaigns and initiatives. They can do this by looking at certain events, such as app installs, clicks, engagement, and in-app purchases, for example.

Why Is Attribution Important?

Mobile attribution reports help teams analyze the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and channels and identify ways to lift their KPIs – such as tweaking creatives or adjusting CPI bids to get higher ROAS. 


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