What is attribution?
Attribution in mobile marketing or advertising terms signifies the crediting of a particular channel, media source or campaign with the relevant performance metric. This metric could be an install, conversion or some other form of success.
Attribution is provided only till a specific period of time. It’s not the case that an install or conversion would be credited to a particular source after several months or years. A standard period commonly used is 7 days but big companies like Facebook or Google define their own period. Facebook has a period of 28 days and Google has a period of 30 days until which the metric can be attributed to them.
Typically an attribution model has existed whereby the last source has been the one which was credited with the install or download. For example if the CPI was valued at 3 dollars then the last marketing channel whose ad led the user to the app install will be paid those 3 dollars.
But marketeers increasingly came to the conclusion that a source other than the last one which the user experienced may have also made a relevant contribution to the success of the activity. This formed the basis for cross device attribution.
What is cross device attribution?
Cross-device attribution is the process of the identification of all means of marketing that contributed to a conversion during a customer’s journey spread across different channels & devices.
Let’s use an example to illustrate how cross device attribution may work- A gaming application developer might be using significant budgets in terms of their daily user acquisition activity. These could be in the form of re-targeted advertisements on desktop, in-app advertisements and sponsored posts on social media.
After a 2 week period the marketeer notices that the persons converting from the re-targeted ads and in-app advertisements are significantly more after they have experienced the sponsored posts. In such a scenario the sponsored posts may have been a valuable assister in contributing towards the conversion despite not being the last source before the conversion.
Thus with a broader perspective on how a user interacts with various modes or channels the marketer can more effectively allocate budgets to derive maximum ROI.

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