Adjust's attribution methods

Here, you'll learn how and when Adjust uses different attribution methods.

For instructions on managing attribution settings, see these articles:

What are Adjust’s attribution methods?

Adjust supports two attribution methods—device matching and fingerprinting for both clicks and impressions. The type of conversion and quality of user engagement determine which method we use.

  • We use device matching and fingerprinting to attribute installs (first app opens)
  • We use device matching to reattribute (assign new attribution sources to) inactive users
Adjust follows this order when making attributions:
  1. Click-based device matching
  2. Click-based fingerprinting
  3. Impression-based device matching
  4. Impression-based fingerprinting
At install, we look for clicks with a matching device identifier. If there aren't any, we move on to clicks with matching device characteristics. If there are no eligible clicks, then the process repeats with impressions. Adjust always prioritizes clicks (the more deliberate user engagement) and device matching (the most reliable attribution method).

Tip: To track impressions and allow fingerprinting, turn on impression-based attribution and fingerprinting for clicks/impressions in your Adjust dashboard.

Device matching

Device matching is Adjust's main attribution method. We collect a unique identifier from recorded engagements and installs, and if both IDs match, we can attribute that engagement to the install. With a 100% accuracy rate, click-based device matching is the most reliable attribution method.

Adjust uses these device identifiers for attribution:

  • Advertising IDs like the IDFA (for iOS) and GPS ADID (for Android)
  • Device IDs like the IDFV (for iOS) and Android ID
  • Adjust reftags, which are unique IDs we create for clicks/impressions. Reftags are passed through the Android referrer.

Here's how Adjust uses device matching with advertising IDs and with the Android referrer: 

User-added image
User-added image
 

Device fingerprinting

Device fingerprinting is Adjust's secondary attribution method. We use device details to attribute installs to clicks and impressions with matching characteristics.

The details Adjust relies on for fingerprinting include:

  • Device type (e.g., Google Pixel XL)
  • Operating system (e.g., Android)
  • Operating system version (e.g., 7.1.2)
  • Language (e.g., en)
  • IP address (e.g., 77.185.208.234)
  • User agent (e.g., browser and operating system)
Since some of these details can change (e.g., IP address), device fingerprinting is most reliable over short time periods. We only attribute a click or impression if all of these details match with the install.

Note: You can turn on fingerprinting (for clicks and/or impressions) at the app level and/or tracker level anytime.

Here's how device fingerprinting attribution works in Adjust:

User-added image

 

Reattributions

Reattribution is when an inactive user engages with a retargeting campaign, returns to your app, and gets assigned a new attribution source in Adjust. We reattribute users through clicks, deeplink reattribution, and impressions.

Attributing impressions

Adjust records an impression when a user views your mobile ad. You can turn on (or turn off) impression-based attribution in your Adjust dashboard anytime. We only consider impressions for attribution when there are no eligible clicks.

Note: Adjust automatically attributes impressions via device matching only. You can turn on fingerprinting for impressions at the app level and/or tracker level.

After you turn on impression-based attribution in Adjust, you can share impression tracker URLs with your ad network. There are two ways to find your impression tracker URLs in Adjust:

  • Finish creating a new tracker in the Campaign Wizard
  • Go to your app's settings, select Tracker URLs, and select Settings (gear icon) next to any tracker

Attributing TV campaigns

TV attribution is matching mobile app installs to TV impressions. To get started, turn on Adjust’s integration with any TV tracking partner in your app’s partner setup. Adjust is fully integrated with TV partners like Admo.TV, Teads, and TVSquared.

Note: TV tracking attribution is available with a Business Pro (or higher) pricing plan.

Only organic installs (i.e., installs that Adjust can't attribute to a click or impression) are eligible for TV attribution. Adjust sends your organic installs to any connected TV partners, and they have 7 days to make attributions based on their own criteria and resources. If the TV partner claims an install, we confirm that their attribution data meets our requirements, then update the attribution from organic to TV in your Adjust dashboard.

How do TV tracking partners make attributions?

TV attribution methods vary from partner to partner. Here are some of the ways TV partners make attributions:

  • By comparing the volume of user engagement after a TV campaign to the typical volume of user engagement for that region, time, and/or day
  • An algorithm that analyzes the probability that a specific user was influenced by a TV campaign
  • Audio fingerprinting technology that identifies the audio track of a TV campaign

On this topic