Mobile Attribution – 4 Best Practices Every Mobile Marketer Should Know


Mobile devices are more than the entertainment platform of choice for millions of people around the world: They’re highly effective marketing channels as well. That makes mobile attribution an essential practice in 2019. Attribution helps marketers understand the impact of every advertising campaign while determining precisely where ad spend should be directed.

So how can marketers effectively leverage the power of mobile attribution platforms? Here are some best practices all mobile marketers should should adopt:

Opt for multi-touch mobile attribution

When preparing to implement mobile attribution solution, advertisers and publishers need to agree on an attribution model that will fuel actionable analysis and clearly illustrate resulting revenue. There are two common model types — single-touch and multi-touch — and both have their uses for different types of campaigns. In most cases, mobile marketers should opt for multi-touch whenever possible. This is especially relevant for campaigns that involve multiple placements across different ad networks.

Where single-touch models attribute conversions with a single click, multi-touch tracks multiple engagements across the conversion funnel. This allows attribution solutions to gain a complete picture of the user journey and assign a revenue percentage to each event. While multi-touch attribution analysis (MTA) is more complex than single-touch, its insights are far more valuable to marketers. Multi-touch models generate a 30% ROI increase on average.

Depending on your campaign’s conversion event, there are three multi-touch attribution models to choose from:

  • Linear: Attributions are divided equally among every single clicked ad placement, from the first engagement to the final conversion.
  • Position-based: Attributions are divided between the first and last clicks. Any clicks or engagements between these points are ignored.
  • Time Decay: The final click gains the highest attribution share, while each preceding click gains a percentage of attribution based on how close the event is to the final click.

Define key performance indicators

Mobile attribution lets marketers analyze massive volumes of user data to understand how customers interact and engage with advertising campaigns. That being said, the bulk of campaign data will be not be relevant when assessing its performance. That’s why it’s important to define key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you can easily eliminate extraneous data.

Choose one or more KPIs that measure the success of conversion events and highlight the effectiveness of ad campaigns. This will help you obtain the best insights from attribution data and more effectively optimize campaigns to achieve your goals.

Here are a few examples of common attribution KPIs:

  • CPA: Cost-per-action is a measurement of total advertising spend against total attributed conversions.
  • CPI: Cost-per-install is a measurement of total advertising spend against total attributed app installs.
  • CPM: Cost-per-mille is a measurement of total advertising spend against every thousand attributed impressions.
  • ROAS: Return on advertising spend is the metric that informs advertisers how much revenue their ad impressions are generating.

Define your attribution window

The core philosophy behind multi-touch attribution is that no single interaction determines whether a user will engage with your brand. And that’s true! But it doesn’t mean that all interactions are relevant — if a user watched a video ad six months ago and installed an app today, that install cannot be attributed to that video view with any degree of confidence.

To address this issue, marketers and publishers must define an attribution window. This timeframe determines which pre-conversion events should be included in the final attribution tally. In short, all events that occur within this window are non-organic traffic while outside events are considered organic traffic.

Any attribution window will vary depending on the campaign, publishers, and attribution solution, but there are a few common standards:

  • 7-day click-through standard: If a user is converted within seven days of clicking on an advertisement, that click will be attributed.
  • 24-hour fingerprinting click-through standard: When an attribution solution cannot attribute a click with a user ID, installs are attributed based on publicly available “fingerprints” such as platform, IP address, or carrier. Since this information is only accurate in the short-term, the window length is decreased.
  • 24-hour view-through attribution: Sometimes users will view advertisements and download marketed apps directly through an app storefront. In these cases, attribution windows are set to 24 hours.

Adopt an attribution data privacy policy

Considering how easily user data can be accessed by an attribution platform, it’s crucial to ensure that personal information is protected. With the rise of legislation like Europe’s GDPR, mobile companies are increasingly likely to face stiff regulatory penalties for failing to protect consumer data. The good is news that brands that embrace data security will be better equipped to thrive in this changing market — and attract valuable customers.

The Mobile Marketing Association recently published a guide detailing suggestions for marketers securing their attribution models. The following techniques and best practices are highly recommended:

  1. Work with publishers who offer a “clean room” approach. In this model, marketing and publisher data are merged before extracting multi-touch attribution points for analysis.
  2. Use attribution providers who use data tagging systems approved by major platforms.
  3. Implement secure ad servers with unrestricted IDs.
  4. Create new models that aggregate findings from disparate sources and provide a high-level media impact summary.

While these are great first steps, don’t forget to consider the big picture as well. Mobile marketers should implement official data privacy plans that establish precisely how data is gathered, stored, and distributed within the organization. Ultimately, these steps will help you secure data and help marketers be more efficient in how information is accessed and used.

Mobile attribution solutions require comprehensive datasets to maximize their impact. That’s why partners like Tapjoy are essential: As an advertising network, we are committed to timely and accurate reporting. We also uphold stringent anti-fraud measures — ensuring your attributed conversions are always accurate.

For more information on how Tapjoy can help you navigate the world of mobile advertising, contact one of our talented growth consultants today!


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