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Understanding Impression Attribution


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In a world where mobile app marketers can't rely only on clicks to accurately measure the impact and effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, a different method of attribution needs to be employed. This is where impression attribution comes into play.

During the recent years, mobile advertising and attribution have been focused on click-through conversions rather than impression (view-through) conversions. The main reason was that the direct correlation between the click and the app install seems stronger than the indirect correlation between the impression (ad view) and the install. However, despite the fact that the real value of the impressions can be difficult to quantify, the value gained from the impression measurement should not been overlooked.

Due to the impression measurement methodologies, advertisers and app marketers can see not only clicks that immediately preceded a successful app installation, but also any impressions which played a key role in the attribution lifecycle (particularly those that led up to a conversion).

Impression Attribution vs Click-through Attribution

There are two types of attribution: impression attribution and click-through attribution. Let’s see the difference in detail.

Impression attribution is a means to track installs or other attributable events for users who do not click on an ad, but then take an action that is directly influenced by having seen an ad.

A simple example would be when a user being served an ad by an advertiser, and then instead of clicking, he/she goes directly to the app store and downloads the app. With impression attribution, the advertising activity and the marketing partner is credited (i.e. is not counted as organic).

With click-through attribution, a new download is attributed to an ad only if a user clicks on the ad unit. Here is the scheme: a user clicks on an ad but chooses not to install the app yet. One day later the user views another ad for the same app on his mobile device. After one more hour the user installs the app - attribution goes to the click (and not the impression even though the impression was after the click) as generally last click prevails.

With advancements in impression attribution, app marketing specialists like DSPs and agencies should make the case. It can be mutual beneficial since the advertiser can see the true benefit of the ad spend and it's effectiveness.

Topics: Mobile App Advertising