This post originally appeared on MediaPost.
Mobile attribution is the glue holding a fragmented and disparate ecosystem together. Every day, hundreds of millions of dollars are gained and lost between the hordes of mobile advertisers, ad networks and publishers.
And it is all based on the data provided by attribution.
To correctly attribute an install to an ad, several separate parties have to provide unbiased data to the attribution firm. Due to a lack of common industry standards, individual agreements and rules end up creating friction and only introducing further complexity into the equation.
Both Google and Apple block attribution companies from tracking the behavior of users in their respective app marketplaces. The success of mobile advertising rests on knowing whether the user made the download after they saw the ad.
As a result, attribution companies have developed clever ways of figuring out if the user who clicked on the ad is indeed the same user who downloaded and opened the app.
Ad clicks, engagement and impressions within apps, Web and social networks could all contribute to a single install. Attribution firms shoulder the responsibility to keep track of this chaos and ultimately make the judgment about who gets paid.
When the stakes are high–millions of daily downloads and billions in yearly ad spend–precision comes at a premium. Attribution has to continue evolving to achieve the precision that this frenetic industry demands.Read on to learn more about the mobile attribution window.