Mobile Attribution Methods

Multiple Identifiers Enable Robust Measurement

Mobile attribution relies on advanced technologies that enable a variety of highly accurate identification methods at scale. There are three main methods:

  • Google Play Referrer
  • ID Matching
  • Fingerprinting

These methods are chosen to perform attribution based on each one’s availability and general reliability in a given situation. Google Play Referrer is the most accurate method for matching installs to clicks/views, but is cannot be used if an install happened outside of the Google Play store, even if it’s on an Android device.

ID matching has better reach than Referrer, but it requires ad networks to configure device IDs (which doesn’t always happen), and users can disable ad tracking. ID matching also does not work on the mobile web.

If the first two methods are not doable, the fallback method becomes fingerprinting. Fingerprinting uses publicly available parameters to form a digital fingerprint ID that can be analyzed and attributed. If any of these attributes are changed, a new fingerprint is created and the old one is no longer usable. Fingerprinting is based on statistical probability and not 100% accurate. This is why it is used as a fallback method when other identifiers are not available. But within its attribution window of up to 24 hours it is very accurate.