How attribution affects app users | AppsFlyer

Oren Kaniel Oren Kaniel Jul 30, 2020

Over the years, marketers and developers have learned that attribution is crucial in running a mobile business. As the upcoming iOS14 changes will impact everyone in the ecosystem, I’d like to show you how attribution affects app users as well.

Since the founding of AppsFlyer in 2011, we’ve seen how conflict of interest can negatively impact both consumers and the entire ecosystem at large. That’s why we chose to be neutral and impartial from the beginning, creating software that represented the app markets and app developers of the app economy. Our independent positioning has generated a lot of confidence in the ecosystem and today remains one of our greatest principles and commitments.

We also aim to keep our customer’s customer, the app user, at the center of everything we do. We are constantly striving to impartially represent users and their interests.

When you think about attribution, you might immediately think about the value it offers to marketers and sophisticated application developers. But in reality, attribution makes the entire ecosystem more effective, providing a better user experience and improving consumer privacy.

So how do consumers benefit from attribution? We can divide it into four main areas:

1. Attribution improves user experience

2. Attribution it is not tracking

3. Limited attribution → limited monetization → limited innovation

4. Attribution improves user privacy

1. Attribution improves user experience

If you can measure something, then you can improve it too. Questions such as: Did the consumer find value in what was offered to him? Was the user experience good? They are answered thanks to the attribution, which measures the true value that is delivered to consumers.

Good and relevant ads

Without attribution, app developers won’t be able to tell if ads are adding value or annoying consumers. Ads don’t have to be a hassle. They can and should be a way to discover good products that were previously unknown. Furthermore, without an effective ROI measurement, app developers may not be able to justify their ad spend, thus creating more irrelevant ads – which will eventually negatively affect the user experience.

an uninterrupted journey

Attribution makes contextual connection possible, allowing apps to direct their users exactly to the desired destination within the app, rather than just directing them to the home page. Through attribution, many developers use deffered deep linking to significantly improve their users’ experience, seamlessly synchronizing emails, social media posts, referral programs, and website to the web-to-app journey.

Imagine you are booking your next vacation destination on your mobile web browser. How can you complete the transaction in an app if you lose your booking details in the download process? This would be the equivalent of Google’s search targeting only landing pages rather than the specific page you were looking for on the site. None of us would like to have such a “broken” experience.

2. Attribution it is not tracking

The assignment connects the apps to the own ads, which are running in other apps. Attribution measures campaign and creative details own from the app developer, not the data of the apps in which the ads are displayed. Also, in most cases, you don’t know which app the ad is showing on. The attribution seeks to answer a simple question: whether consumers have found value in their paid media, owned or organic.

Not all SDKs are the same. AppsFlyer, for example, is a CRM-like SaaS platform that enables application developers to manage, analyze and maintain the security of their customer data. The AppsFlyer SDK acts as an extension of the developers’ technology tools and as an interface to AppsFlyer’s cloud-based software. Although we are, in essence, third party software, we act as primary software that is an integral part of the application developer’s technology tools.

3. Limited attribution → limited monetization → limited innovation

Application developers generate tens of billions of dollars in ad revenue. This revenue stream, which is reinvested in the innovation ecosystem to improve and develop new products that delight consumers, is in danger of disappearing without proper attribution.

Without the attribution, marketers are unable to justify their ad spend, which will have a direct impact on app developers who rely on ad monetization to innovate and continue to create amazing products that we all love and use.

4. Attribution improves user privacy

Is a broad user-level profile necessary to delight consumers with relevant ads? The answer is simple – no.

Machine learning allows ad networks to ensure that the ads they display offer value to consumers sem that it is necessary to develop invasive profiles of users, through the execution of experiments and observation of results. For example, by incorporating contextual and non-custom parameters like weather, weather, location, intent, cohorts and more, you can teach your machine learning models what works and what doesn’t. In marketing, and more specifically in app economics, attribution is a feedback loop.

The feedback loop, or attribution, does not need to be based on user-level data. Feedback at a certain level of aggregation is enough, which is a big step forward in consumer privacy. Effective attribution is essential to closing the feedback loop and improving user privacy.


Over the next few days and weeks, we’ll be introducing our iOS14-enabled solutions, always keeping privacy and user experience first, while supporting ecosystem innovations.

We are and will always be passionate about doing the right thing for the customers, whether ensuring your privacy or enhancing your experience. As contradictory as this may seem, since we are not a company that deals directly with users, we adopt this attitude as our main mission.

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