What Is Mobile Attribution?

Mobile attribution is the process of tracking where users learn of your app and connecting them to key actions in their journey toward becoming customers. The two major players in mobile apps – Apple and Google – enforce an information gap between what users see before deciding to install your app and who actually installs your app. mobile attribution is the bridge over that gap.


Why is mobile attribution important?

Mobile attribution is important because it makes measuring advertising and marketing effectiveness possible. With mobile advertising expected to reach $247.4 billion in 2020 globally, attribution can tell you which platforms, sites, and ad networks are generating actual advertising-based installs, and which advertising spends are essentially wasted money.

Mobile attribution makes it possible to bridge the “air gap” Apple, and to a lesser extent, Google enforces between sites and in-app advertising on one side and the actions of users installing apps and taking significant in-app actions on the other.

Without mobile attribution, advertising buyers must rely on the metrics offered by advertising networks and sites as to the effectiveness of their advertising. Without mobile attribution, it’s impossible to objectively measure the effectiveness of one campaign against another, or one ad against another.

Examples of Mobile Attribution

Mobile attribution bridges the information gap between before and after a user installs a mobile app. Here are a few examples:

1. Connect in-app advertising to user install. A user sees an in-app video in a mobile app. They click and are taken first through the mobile attribution app; then to the relevant app store where they install the app.

2. Connecting the identity of the user who sees desktop advertising. Connecting the data about a given person who sees and experiences advertising on their mobile and non-mobile devices, such as home and work computers, with the person who installs a given app from one of the two mobile app stores.

3. Answers which ads worked and which didn’t. By going back into the history of which ads the user interacted with before they installed a given mobile app, mobile attribution vendors can measure the effectiveness of specific ad campaigns and specific ads because they have a complete record of what each user saw before that user installed.

4. Answers which ads lead to the most valuable customers. Given the full advertising and in-app experiential record for each customer, the mobile attribution vendor can determine which “advertising journey” led to the largest revenue for the mobile app vendor.

Mobile Attribution for App Marketing

Mobile attribution means app marketers get unbiased data on the effectiveness of their advertising compared to the cost of their advertising.

Without mobile attribution tracking, marketing becomes a dark room where users may or may not emerge for your application, but you won’t know what influenced their decisions slightly or greatly.

Without mobile app attribution, you cannot tell what part of a sudden rise in installs is the result of organic events, such as word of mouth via social networks, and what part of that increase is due to a particularly effective marketing campaign or advertisement.

Mobile attribution tracking fills a data gap. Without this information, it’s impossible to measure the effectiveness of either specific marketing campaigns or advertising. Upland Localytics’ Mobile Attribution feature can help bridge the gap for your mobile app.