Deterministic Attribution

Mapendo Team
March 31, 2022
Deterministic Attribution

In Mobile app install campaigns and mobile app marketing, measurement is very important and deterministic attribution technology is the most accurate way to measure your campaign impact.

What is deterministic attribution?

The attribution technology is used to attribute every action in app install campaigns to a given source that generated it.

The attribution model is the strategy used by the attribution platform to identify the channel that generated an action. There are many models, the most common ones are:

  1. Last-touch attribution: the conversions are attributed to the last click before the conversion action
  2. Multi-touch attribution: this model assigns varying weights to different traffic sources for an advertising interaction. This leads to multiple channels sharing the responsibility for a conversion
  3. View-through attribution: this model attributes a conversion generated by an impression and not a click.

The attribution technology is the piece of software that links the marketing channel with an action/conversion.

Deterministic attribution technology is the most accurate way to link marketing actions and sales/conversions, as it uses a unique identifier (IDFA for Apple and GAID for Google) for every action (i.e. impression, click) and every device that is involved in the process.

This makes the attribution very precise, as opposed to probabilistic attribution models that don’t rely on such unique identifiers.

Why is it important?

The impact of attribution models on mobile advertising campaigns for apps is very important. The attribution model used impacts the way conversions are generated, budget is spent and in the end the ROAS of the mobile app campaign.

In particular, deterministic attribution is the more precise way to link marketing channels and actions/sales on mobile apps. With deterministic attribution you know for sure which specific app install campaign drove a particular conversion. This means that when an app install is deterministically attributed to a campaign, there is a 100% probability that that app install campaign led to that installation.


What you need to know about deterministic attribution

  • Deterministic attribution technology uses the device identifier (IDFA or GAID) to link a marketing channel with an action/conversion in mobile app install campaigns;
  • In the so-called post-idfa world, deterministic attribution is not generally available anymore (on iOs, for the moment);
  • We could say that deterministic attribution technology is the best way to respect the final users’ privacy, as no personal data is shared with the ad network/DSP;
  • Apple’s SKAdNetwork is the only way to perform deterministic attribution on iOs after the release of iOS 14.5;
  • Deterministic attribution is (at the moment) still available on Android, but there are changes coming in the near future;
  • When deterministic attribution is not available, marketers might use a probabilistic model instead of it. Obviously probabilistic attribution technologies are less precise than deterministic attribution models.