In mobile advertising terms attribution can merely be stated as determining which source or sources of marketing was responsible for the conversion of the user for the specified action. The action may be an install for instance. As marketeers especially for large scale organisations spend tens of thousands of dollars per day on marketing activities it is essential that these budgets are allocated in such a manner so as to maximise the return on investment. By analysing data of where users are most likely to convert or exit the application a marketer can optimise the offering or advertising to enable acquisition and retention of users.
It is important to note that for the most part that the last partner that contributed to the download is credited with the installation and is paid. Please refer to the diagram above whereby since ad-partner 2 provided the last click as opposed to ad-partner 1 which might or might not have provided an ‘assist’.
Methods of Attribution?
There are a number of methods by which attribution can occur and these are described below-
  • Google play referrer- This is the most accurate method of attribution but it has certain limitations. Not only is this constrained to android apps but it is also constrained to solely those downloads that happen on the Play Store.
  • ID matching- This is the second method of attribution where device ID is matched to see if the click and install happened on the same gadget. Fraudsters attempt to deceive networks or advertisers by constantly resetting device ID’s. This type of attribution is possible on IOS & Apple devices but restrictions exist in terms of user’s disabling tracking through this ID or attribution through mobile web via this technique.
  • Fingerprinting- The last method of attribution is also the least reliable. This takes into account publicly available information to match clicks and installs. In the case that any of the information is modified then a new fingerprint is created. It usually has high accuracy for attribution windows that fall under one day.

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