In 2019, mobile is an essential advertising channel for marketers across every industry.
Mobile devices are becoming more ubiquitous than desktop computers and, in the US, mobile has surpassed TV as the medium with the most daily time-spent. Apps account for over 90% of internet time on smartphones, making them an ideal marketing environment—specifically for primarily digital businesses like mobile games or e-commerce brands. To run mobile advertising effectively, however, marketers must understand the complexities of mobile attribution.
Attribution is the practice of measuring and analyzing the impact of an advertisement in driving user engagement. When applied to app ecosystems, mobile ad attribution allows marketers to better understand — and optimize — a user’s journey across the entire conversion funnel.
Unfortunately, on mobile, attribution can sometimes be difficult to accurately track—there are a number of competing models and few industry standards around which data points ought to receive credit. What’s more, the issue of widespread fraud adds another layer of ambiguity and uncertainty. Mobile users might view the same ad creative across multiple apps before ultimately converting. If the user only partially engages with the first placement, how do you attribute ad spend? Should the first or final click be given full credit for the conversion? Or should all placements receive equal credit?
Mobile ad attribution is constantly evolving, but let’s start by taking a closer look as it exists in 2019.
Once a pre-defined conversion has been achieved, mobile marketers must analyze the engagements that led the user through the funnel. But if a user watched a video a year prior to making a purchase, should that conversion be attributed to that campaign? Most attribution providers say no, and exclude data points that fall outside of a certain timeframe — this is called an attribution window.
Often, an advertiser and publisher will agree on a reasonable attribution window, such as a seven day period. Then if a user converts within that window, the publisher will receive credit and payment for that conversion. However, if a marketer is running a robust mobile campaign with multiple placements over many networks, a user may see several different ads from different sources. This is where things get complicated — advertisers and publishers must agree on a mobile attribution model so they may analyze more complex interactions.
All mobile ad attribution models can be separated into two distinct types: Single-touch and multi-touch.
Single-touch models attribute conversions solely on a single click. As such, two models apply to these circumstances:
What happens if you want to account for multiple engagements with an ad placement? Multi-touch models measure these clicks and grant a percentage of attribution to each event. Multi-touch attribution analysis (MTA) is more complex, but it can result in an average of 30% increase in ROI when implemented correctly. Multi-touch attribution models include:
Mobile ad attribution works by measuring user engagement at key points of the conversion funnel. While single-touch attribution measures a single conversion event, multi-touch attribution can measure multiple events leading to conversion and prioritize their importance.
Here is an outline of the typical mobile attribution conversion funnel:
Data sharing for attribution purposes is an essential practice for mobile marketers, but it does raise privacy concerns. New consumer data legislation, including GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, mandates that conscientious data management is practiced across the industry.
Fortunately, mobile marketers have found ways to maintain effective attribution models while supporting consumer data privacy. The Mobile Marketing Association recently published a guide detailing suggestions for updating existing attribution models. The following approaches are recommended:
These recommendations will ensure compliance with regulations and help brands foster trust with customers.
The mobile ecosystem is always changing, and attribution frequently changes along with it. 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!