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Double Attribution, Double the Trouble

Posted on December 15, 2015
By Shani Rosenfelder, Senior Marketing Manager at AppsFlyer (Guest Author)Senior Marketing Manager at AppsFlyer (Guest Author)

Can you imagine being charged for a pair of jeans you tried on at one retailer even if you actually bought the pants at another? Probably not. But that’s exactly what happens all too often in the app marketing ecosystem because of double attribution.

Double attribution is when two different media sources take credit for a single install. Why does it happen? Mostly, because many app marketers still work directly with a number of ad networks. They add the networks’ SDKs which enables them to attribute their campaigns.

Beyond the problem of multiple SDKs slowing down app performance, marketers are often charged by each network for the same installs as they are blind to the activity of others. Add to that the inconsistent attribution modeling across networks with different windows ranging from 7 to 30 days, not to mention networks that charge for a view - and you get why it becomes a major headache that even the most potent drug cannot alleviate.

The problem of double attribution is not just about budget waste. It also messes up your optimization efforts as it is impossible to optimize your media or calculate your cost per install (CPI), cost per action (CPA) or return on investment (ROI) using network-provided attribution.

Despite all the talk about the importance of data and analytics in today’s marketing, the reality is that many still do not apply basic data measurement best practices. We see it every day and our growth attests to the increased adoption of 3rd party mobile measurement tools by apps that have not done so before.

Getting it Right

Efficient app promotion involves working with an independent, 3rd party mobile attribution and measurement solution that has a bird’s eye view of the ecosystem and can be the impartial judge that rules on attribution. After all, it is only natural for advertisers to be weary of first-party reporting by parties that have a financial interest in the matter. Instead, an impartial player can accurately credit the last click before an install to only one source - under the dominant last click attribution model.

You may protest that last click attribution is flawed because the consumer journey is longer and more complex than ever, with users being exposed to multiple touchpoints before they act. You’re right of course, but when it comes to billing, it’s the standard and makes things much easier to handle, for now.

But just because that’s the way billing goes, doesn’t mean that the consumer journey should not be measured! Understanding what your users are doing during each stage, which networks play a role in moving users down the funnel and which play a role in converting the users is vital information.

Gaining these insights through what is known as multi-touch attribution has a major impact on optimization. If you ignore the user’s path, you will most likely end up investing in networks that are closers but not in networks that are good at delivering assists. And that will break up your funnel.

Without assisting touchpoints, the closers probably won’t get their chance to seal the deal! So instead of increasing spend with networks that play a pivotal role in driving assists, you end up downsizing their budgets or even removing them from your mix, while overspending with down funnel networks.

The bottom line is that effective marketing in today’s app ecosystem involves the use of independent last click attribution to prevent wasted dollars, in addition to multi-touch attribution to make sure you have a full view of your users and your campaigns are optimized to their full potential.

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