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How to Optimize Mobile App Install Attribution (and Why It’s Essential)

By July 23, 2018 No Comments

So far, this year has become a year of many emerging mobile trends, but it’s undeniably been a year of exciting advancements in mobile app install attribution.

Cross-platform, cross-channel attribution is now at the fingertips of today’s best and brightest mobile leaders, and brands are benefiting tremendously from enhanced analytics syncing users across all of the channels and platforms that define their mobile experiences.

But let’s back up for a second and quickly review what mobile app install attribution is, and why it’s important.

What is Mobile App Install Attribution?

At the most fundamental level, mobile app install attribution is the marketing practice that assigns the value of a mobile app activity back to the source tactics, channels, or campaigns that drove the intended app behavior. In multi-channel mobile app marketing campaigns, app marketers likely deploy their ad budgets across a variety of different channels, platforms, and devices to achieve a desired result or measurable event—a link click, a webpage visit, a completed survey, a form completion, a sign-up or registration, a purchase, a mobile app install, or any other meaningful and measurable outcome.

As the number of marketing channels (email, advertising banners, search ads, mobile ads, video ads, social media ad, webinars, blog posts, etc.) continues to increase and overlap, it becomes more complicated for marketers to understand the impact that each of these channels has on their marketing goals.

What is Mobile App Install Attribution?

In order to solve this problem, marketers rely on tracking codes that are built into each advertisement that allows them to detect whether that ad has been viewed or acted upon. Once the marketing campaigns have been deployed, a marketer can then review the performance of all of their campaigns, and determine which of those campaigns influenced or were partially or completely responsible for the outcome they are measuring in a process referred to as attribution. To learn more, keep reading or request a Branch demo

Types of Mobile App Install Attribution: Cross-Channel, Cross-Platform, & Cross-Device

Many times, a user behavior can be influenced or “touched” by multiple campaigns, in which case the desired event should be attributed to more than one factor. Therefore, attribution of one single channel or platform rarely satisfies mobile marketers and product professionals today, and breaking down mobile app install attribution into each real-world application becomes necessary.

Cross-Channel Attribution

Cross-channel attribution encompasses tracking user conversions from their original digital sources. Companies use paid channels and organic channels for cross-channel marketing, but when users are acquired or convert, it is important they can be tied back to the channel or channels (be it email, the mobile web, social media, or another channel) with precision, accuracy, and confidence.

Say, for instance, a user clicked a Facebook advertisement, bounced, but then a few days later remembered your app, visited the website from Google Search, and downloaded the app using a web-to-app smart banner displayed on your website. In this example, a conventional attribution provider may report that this install was acquired via the mobile web-to-app smart banner, but a cross-channel attribution provider would be able to rightfully recognize the role that the initial Facebook advertisement played in initiating the app install.

Cross-Platform Attribution

By contrast, cross-platform attribution involves tracking these sorts of user conversion events across different platforms—namely, mobile web and mobile app. While it’s possible to track users across the isolated platforms of mobile web and mobile app, it has been notoriously trickier to collect attribution data across platforms. This can directly threaten the validity of the mobile app install insights you’ve come to know, love, and strategically depend upon, unless you’ve converted your app’s attribution process over to a People-Based Attribution Model (more on that solution later!).

Example: Imagine that you’ve just moved to a new city or town, and you’re looking to get to know your neighbors—you might see a Facebook App Install ad for Nextdoor, and you click it and open the Nextdoor website. Then, perhaps you get distracted for a couple of days before remembering Nextdoor and searching for the app directly in the App Store. Finally, you install the Nextdoor app and begin networking with your neighbors. With an old-fashioned legacy attribution provider, this install registers as an organic App Store download, while a cross-platform attribution provider rightfully recognizes the role the initial Facebook ad played.

Types of Mobile App Install Attribution: Cross-Channel, Cross-Platform, & Cross-Device

Cross-Device Attribution

Finally, cross-device attribution syncs user insights across all of the devices that comprise a given user’s experience. Say the same scenario as the Nextdoor example above unfolded, except this time the ad was clicked on the desktop web, and the app was downloaded from the App Store on a mobile device—a reliable cross-device attribution provider would recognize that multiple devices were involved in the initiation of that mobile app install.

It is extremely important that mobile marketers select an attribution provider that prioritizes cross-channel, cross-platform, and cross-device attribution models—in this day and age, when users’ digital experiences span multiple channels, platforms, and devices—there’s simply no other option.

How to Optimize Mobile App Install Attribution

Finding an attribution solution that ticks each channel, platform, and device box can be daunting at the onset. Luckily, Branch is uniquely positioned to help out—our People-Based Attribution Engine powers mobile user attribution from a given user’s first interaction with a given mobile app until their latest.

How to Optimize Mobile App Install Attribution

Branch’s People-Based Attribution gives you the power to connect touchpoints from every channel with conversions on any platform. You’ll finally be freed from the frustration of debugging discrepancies caused by legacy attribution tools that can’t tell you when one user shows up in multiple places.

Furthermore, Counting conversions is an important part of attribution, but it’s only the beginning. Digital leaders from top cross-platform brands like The Knot and Boxed use Branch’s People-Based Attribution Engine to optimize individual user experiences no matter which channel or platform they are using to interact with your brand.

How to Optimize Mobile App Install Attribution

What does this look like in practice? It’s simple—with the enhanced ability to reliably attribute across every user touchpoint, you’ll be able to understand and interpret customer intent better than ever before, and you’ll be able to optimize product development and budget allocation across each user touchpoint to maximize future growth. Better yet: Branch integrates with your other advertising and marketing partners to ensure your data ends up exactly where it needs to be.

It’s time to start thinking about your customers the same way your best customers are thinking about you—as deliverers of value across every platform that encompasses their digital experiences. You want to give your users the best possible experience, and that begins with connecting user behaviors and actions across every touchpoint they share with your brand. You deserve attribution that’s cutting-edge, reliable, and so much more—learn more about Branch’s People-Based Attribution Engine today.

Branch is a mobile linking platform providing unified mobile experiences and measurement for more than 30,000 mobile apps, including Airbnb, Slack, Reddit, Tinder and Amazon. Branch’s free linking platform can help you grow your mobile app through features like deep linking, sharing, referrals, mobile banners and interstitials, custom app onboarding, and unified attribution across platforms and channels. Learn more about Branch or request a demo today.
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