An attribution window (or conversion window) is a defined period of time in which a publisher can claim that a click or impression led to an install. For example, an advertiser sets an attribution window of seven days. If a user clicks on a publisher’s ad and installs within that time, that publisher receives the credit.
Note that mobile measurement partners (MMPs) use last click attribution as their attribution model. This means, in the example above, the publisher will receive payment as long as they can claim the last click before an install.
Attribution windows are an essential tool for helping advertisers and publishers understand when a conversion takes place. Often there’s a gap in exposure to an advertisement and an install, such as seeing a game on Facebook while commuting to work in the morning, seemingly forgetting about it, then remembering to install the app on the way home from work in the evening.
Without allowing for potential gaps between viewing an ad and installing an app, users could be mistaken as organic, instead of being paid for, which would cause publishers to lose money. Setting an attribution window creates the ability to include users who are technically brought in from an advertisement, just not directly in the instance of seeing it.
The right length for an attribution window should be determined based on the objective of a campaign. For example, an advertiser running an install campaign boosted by “seen and gone” formats (such as banner ads) might want a shorter window. Although thousands of people might see an advert briefly, an impression-based form is unlikely to drive an install five days later. On the other hand, an advertiser running a campaign prompting interaction – such as playable ads – may want to choose a longer attribution window. If an advertiser has secured a prime position within an app and wants to see its long-term value, then a 21 or 30-day window would help them see if it delivered the results they aimed for.
Attribution windows can also be used to test out different networks. For example, if you have a karaoke app and would like to run a video campaign with two different ad networks, Network A and Network B. You’ve built up trust with Network A already, having run campaigns with them before, while Network B is new to you. You want to test the performance of Network B for the first time, using a campaign based on fingerprinting. You can limit their attribution window to one hour, rather than the default 24 hours, to control what traffic can be claimed by Network B. Even with this in place, you can still keep the attribution window at 24 hours for Network A.
From clicks to impressions, Adjust can track every kind of attributable action that leads to an install. Adjust’s tracker links are customizable at the network, campaign and adgroup levels, offering advertisers a unique level of personalization.
As a default, we track clicks over a seven day window, and impressions for 24 hours. However your attribution window is customizable up to thirty days for install, which is more than enough time to allow for a majority of installations. For more on exactly how this works, you can find Adjust’s attribution settings here.