App Marketing

How to perfect your campaigns with customized attribution settings

Marne Litfin
Content Manager

Mobile marketer? Chances are good that you’re running more than one ad campaign at a time. If you’re a gaming app in Asia, you could be retargeting your biggest spenders alongside your broader user acquisition campaigns. Likewise, if you’re a shopping app in Europe, you might be appealing to users who last logged in thirty minutes ago with one coupon, while trying to re-engage a cohort of less-active window shoppers with another.

What makes these campaigns unique are their overall goals - you’re targeting different groups and you want to engage them differently. But no matter what your goals are, reaching them requires custom settings with your attribution platform. Why?

Customized attribution windows (or tracker windows) allow you to separate the most frequent shoppers from the ‘just looking, thanks!’. Once you can customize your attribution settings beyond the network level (and down to the ad group level), you can run campaigns that are different in every way possible. You get to set the standards for the kinds of traffic you want to receive and the users you want to target. You can use your settings to test out new networks for your future campaigns and protect your ad spend.

Attribution windows and inactivity window settings are some of your campaigns’ key parameters. Let’s take a look at what they actually are. We’ll go into which attribution and inactivity windows are appropriate for certain types of campaigns, and how you can utilize your custom settings to define the right conditions to help you meet your marketing goals.

Attribution windows - what are they?

An attribution window (or conversion window) is the defined period of time in which a publisher can claim that a user’s click or view led to their install of your app. Let’s say in real life you see an ad on your mobile phone and then click on the ad. The app sounds interesting but you don’t have time to install and open it at that moment. A day later you remember the app, and go back to install it. That period of time in between clicking the ad and installing the app is the attribution window. Instead of clicks, some campaigns operate on impressions - the time between when you viewed the ad rather than clicked on it - and when you first installed and opened the app.

Your default attribution window settings

For campaigns run with Adjust, default attribution windows look like this:

  1. For clicks that come with device IDs: 7 days
  2. For clicks that come without device IDs: 6 hours
  3. For impressions: 24 hours

For clicks that come with device IDs, seven days is the period of time during which we can safely assume that most of the installs tracked are attributed due to the ad. The period of time is much shorter - six hours - for clicks that come in without device IDs. This is because the data we receive from those clicks (for example IP address) is volatile and can change, whereas device IDs are generally stable. We developed these settings in order to set a standard for the industry that is fair and equitable for both advertisers and publishers in mobile marketing.

Re-engagement, retargeting and your inactivity window

An inactivity window is the period of time in-between a known user’s in-app engagements. A user whose last in-app session ended an hour ago has an inactivity window of zero days. Another person might have downloaded your game, played it a few times and then forgotten about until an ad reminded them a few weeks later, giving them an inactivity window of 21 days. Mobile ad campaigns are often differentiated by what the targeted user’s inactivity window is.

Once you’ve acquired your users, you’re going to want to keep as many of them as you can. For most verticals in most countries, it’s far more cost-effective to hold onto the users you already have than constantly go out looking for new ones. Returning users are familiar with your app and don’t need to be onboarded again, and may have already made a purchase or subscribed.

Adjust also found that users who were re-engaged stayed active in the associated app up to three times longer than users who weren’t targeted with a re-engagement campaign.

There are two types of mobile ad campaigns designed to bring users back into your app: re-engagement and retargeting.

  • Retargeting campaigns are designed to appeal to specific, known users in your app you know you’re going to target. For example, users who abandoned their shopping cart and were last active 24 hours ago - and your goal is to get them to convert, or complete a purchase. Retargeting can be seen as a separate type of sales channel. For this reason, it’s important to get retargeting campaigns right and not lose these users - they could be your best customers.
  • Re-engagement campaigns are cast with a much wider net towards a large quantity of dormant users. These are users who used to be active in your app but haven’t been around for a while. Maybe they played a few puzzles in your gaming app a few months ago, but then they forgot about it completely. The goal of re-engagement campaigns is to get them back in your app, engaging once again.

A re-engagement campaign might focus on a cohort of users you haven’t seen in sixty days - they’ve almost forgotten about your app, but they’re at that sweet spot where a little nudge can go a long way. You can run a campaign just for them, letting them know about your app’s new features. At the same time, you might want to run a retargeting campaign for users whose inactivity window is 0 days - maybe these are users who put a few items in their cart an hour ago but didn’t finish shopping, and a coupon-based campaign will push them to convert.

Why would I want to change my default attribution window and inactivity window settings?

There are several reasons why you might want to change your default attribution and activity window settings. For one, you can change your default settings in order to run different campaigns simultaneously. For example, if you have a karaoke app, let’s say there’s cohort of users who lapsed sixty days ago (in other words, their inactivity window is sixty days). You want to re-engage them. SImultaneously, you also want to target users who had a session during the past week, encouraging them to buy access to a set of new songs. You can customize the inactivity window of each campaign in order to tell your networks who should be targeted in both cases.

Another main reason is to test out a new network. Let’s say you have a karaoke app and you want to run a video campaign with two different ad networks. You’ve gone with network A before and you completely trust them and the quality of their traffic. However, you’ve never worked with network B - but you’d like to try them out for the first time, using a campaign based on fingerprinting (rather than on device IDs). By limiting their attribution window to one hour rather than twenty-four hours, you can take control over the kind of traffic that network B will be allowed to claim. This allows you to weed out some potentially untrustworthy traffic from network B - and you can still leave the attribution window on network A at 24 hours, as usual.

Adjust’s tracker links are customizable at the network, campaign and adgroup levels, offering a level of personalization. In your attribution settings, you can define an inactive user from 0-365 days. You can also define your reattribution window as 1-365 days. We encourage you to experiment with the windows that work for you, so you can create campaigns that get your users coming back to your app again and again.

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