Mobile Attribution Accuracy | AppsFlyer

360° Mobile Attribution

Attribute Every Install To It's Source

What is Mobile Attribution?

Mobile attribution determines which campaigns, partners and channels delivered each app install. Marketers rely on these insights to measure and optimize their marketing performance for both user acquisition and retargeting campaigns.

Mobile app attribution utilizes a number of advanced technologies including real-time integrations with leading ad networks, universal deep linking, fingerprinting and secure postbacks for data sync across thousands of integrated providers. Each of these capabilities must be expertly developed and properly deployed in order to measure accurately. While this may sound complicated, a strong attribution platform will do the hard work for you, so you can focus on your marketing.

Mobile Attribution Vs Web Attribution

Mobile attribution is unlike traditional web attribution. On the internet, marketers use pixels and cookies to determine which marketing efforts drove each sign up, engagement or purchase. However, there are no cookies for mobile apps or devices. Reliable mobile app attribution requires the use of a variety of techniques and partnerships to accurately identify each user and attribute each install to the appropriate campaign, partner or channel.

NativeTrack™ - Seriously Accurate Attribution

Not all attribution platforms are created equal. AppsFlyer’s NativeTrack™ is a proprietary, patent-pending set of heuristic algorithms that combines statistical analysis and machine learning along with a blend of attribution technologies to deliver the most accurate attribution in the world. This multifaceted solution provides real-time data at unparalleled scale, speed and accuracy. With five times the scale of the closest competitor, and over twelve billion dollars in annual media spend measured, the world’s leading mobile marketers rely on AppsFlyer for their mobile attribution and marketing analytics.

In short, AppsFlyer tells you where every mobile app install came from, in real-time, across every marketing channel and ad network, anywhere in the world.

Exclusive: Dynamic Fingerprinting Based on IP Uniqueness

Fingerprinting is a primary component of all mobile attribution. Over the last few years, we have developed a new set of technologies we call dynamic fingerprinting, improving the accuracy of our attribution by up to 50%. Or, to put it another way, marketers that upgrade to AppsFlyer often find that up to 50% of their paid growth was actually organic growth, misattributed due to misleading IP data.

Why Dynamic Fingerprinting

In mobile fingerprinting, attribution providers typically look to match a few data signals such as device OS, OS version and the user’s IP address. In an ideal world, every device would use its own unique IP address. However, most mobile networks utilize a limited number of public IP addresses in a given region, dynamically provisioning them across tens of thousands of users. When tens of thousands of users share an IP address, fingerprinting loses its accuracy.

When an attribution platform relies on non-unique IP addresses, the likelihood of finding a false positive, matching an unrelated click with a random organic download increases dramatically. In the above example, two completely unrelated actions were mistakenly connected, leading the advertiser to pay for an organic install. This misattribution further introduces a bleeding cash cycle, costing advertisers far more over the long run.

AppsFlyer is the only attribution provider to dynamically adapt our fingerprinting based on the uniqueness of every IP address. With billions of new interactions recorded every day, our unique scale and machine learning powers an IP address uniqueness rating. NativeTrack then tightens or even closes our fingerprinting based on the IP uniqueness rating, lowering your false attribution and organic cannibalization by up to 50%.

The Nuts and Bolts

iOS, Windows and Android are very different platforms and each need it’s own unique attribution solution. In order to prevent fraud, we cannot reveal the full scope of our methodology. Below is a technical overview of the internal workings of NativeTrack™. For more detailed information, please feel free to contact us.

iOS and tvOS

For attribution on iOS and tvOS, NativeTrack™ analyses multiple data points including the device profile, the full fingerprint profile, traffic, carrier and application data – among others to statistically determine the unique user of the device, app download and conversion with unparalleled accuracy. AppsFlyer then assigns an internal unique user identifier to the user profile developed for that individual. This user identifier is not based on a UDID or MAC address, and is completely anonymized, respecting the customer’s privacy settings without compromising the marketers data or insights.

AppsFlyer also supports ID-based attribution (when available) in concert with fingerprinting for iOS attribution. Unlike PC browsers and many Android devices where individual device fingerprints are fairly unique, iOS devices often exhibit similar fingerprints. This makes accurate fingerprinting-based attribution particularly difficult for iOS devices. AppsFlyer was the first platform in the world to apply device fingerprinting on iOS, and have since developed a number of next-generation solutions that have significantly improved the scope and accuracy of iOS fingerprinting.


AppsFlyer’s attribution for Android supports installs from Google Play, the Amazon App Store, pre-installed or bundled apps and out-of-store installs. On the technical side, NativeTrack™ utilizes signals including the Google Play referrer parameter, full-profile fingerprinting and ID-based attribution technology to deliver optimal coverage without sacrificing quality.


AppsFlyer works across all Windows 10 devices, including mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Attribution data points include both the Device ID, as well as the install referrer.

Last-Touch Attribution, Multi-Touch Attribution and Fractional Attribution

Users will often interact with more than one promotion before installing an app. Therefore, mobile marketers need insights into their entire customer journey. Advertisers want to understand which promotions assisted each install, as well as which promotions successfully drove the install. AppsFlyer’s NativeTrackTM provides marketers with the insights they need to understand every step in the customer journey leveraging last-touch, multi-touch, or fractional attribution models.

The primary AppsFlyer dashboard leverages last-touch attribution, attributing each install to the last promotion the user engaged with before installing the app. Oursoccer2-for-website-01 Assisted Installs Report and Raw Data Reports provide further insight into which networks contributed to or “assisted” each app install, delivering multi-touch attribution insights.

Some advanced marketers also leverage fractional attribution models. Fractional attribution models use a statistical breakdown to award an increasing percentage of the install to each promotion across the user-acquisition funnel. For example, using a fractional attribution model, a customer who saw three ads before an app install could be 20% attributed to the first network, 30% attributed to the second network and 50% attributed to the third network. Our robust Raw Data Reports contain the full customer journey, starting with first impression attribution (on supported networks) and on down the funnel, providing marketers with the data they need to optimize based on their preferred fractional attribution models.

How It Works

How AppsFlyer' Attribution Works

AppsFlyer’s mobile app user attribution is built on five key components:


Integrated Partners

Once initially configured, AppsFlyer will automatically recognize and attribute any install from any of our 3,000 integrated partners. With AppsFlyer, setting this up couldn’t be any easier. Just select your desired partner and follow the simple guide. We have done all of the hard work, and preconfigured available data to sync seamlessly between AppsFlyer and all integrated partners. Set it up once, and you’re good to go.


Certified Network Integrations

Some networks, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest, only offer mobile attribution to certified measurement partners. Any platform that is not a certified partner cannot accurately attribute installs on these platforms. On the backend, AppsFlyer’s custom server-to-server integrations with these platforms allow marketers to manage all of their conversion data, attributing each install at the user level, without needing to leave the AppsFlyer dashboard.


View-Through Attribution

AppsFlyer supports both impression-data collection and view-through attribution (when supported by the partner ad network). View-through attribution will attribute an install to a media source based an ad being viewed, even if it wasn’t clicked. View-through attribution is baked into NativeTrackTM.


NativeTrack™: Dynamic, Full Profile Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting is a useful way to identify a user when direct-conversion data is not available. However, not all fingerprinting solutions are created equal. At AppsFlyer, we collect every available parameter, maximizing your ability to attribute each install. Furthermore, NativeTrack automatically identifies invalid fingerprinting parameters, such as public IP addresses, and automatically removes these signals from consideration, dramatically improving your data accuracy.

In contrast, a new client recently noted a large discrepancy between their historical data and their AppsFlyer reporting. Further research revealed that their previous attribution provider relied on incomplete profile data. We have also seen similar issues with an over-reliance on IP information.


OneLink™ Universal Deep Linking

AppsFlyer also supports user acquisition attribution from your owned and earned media. OneLink™ universal deep links are the ideal platform for attributing installs from your email marketing, SMS campaigns, social media, out of home media and more.

Learn more about OneLink™ universal deep links.

Best-In-Class Solutions

Data Accuracy

Mobile marketers rely on their analytics to inform their media spend and optimize their campaigns. At AppsFlyer, we take great pride in our data accuracy, offering marketers the best mobile attribution in the world. With over twelve billion dollars in annual ad spend measured, data accuracy is our number one priority.

In contrast, other providers have misappropriated pre-existing solutions in an attempt to deliver attribution insights. As a result, their data accuracy has proven disappointing to advertisers. For example, two attribution providers continue to use deep linking to attribute Facebook paid media installs. However, in order to determine which network delivered the final click and drove installs from Facebook media, the attribution provider must be part of Facebook’s Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) program. Those not in the MMP program simply do not have access to “last click” data. As both of these attribution providers are not Facebook MMPs, they are unable to collect click data or accurately report on Facebook campaign performance. Many advertisers that have upgraded from these providers to AppsFlyer have been shocked at the accuracy of their previous data.

AppsFlyer’s multi-faceted technology stack including our deep integrations with leading platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat ensure that every install is accurately attributed to the right source. There is no substitute for clean, accurate data.

Rock-Solid Attribution - Resolving Double Attribution and Misattribution

Many ad networks offer their own proprietary attribution solutions. Often, popular ad networks use their own proprietary attribution lookback window, resulting in double attribution and unfortunately, the misattribution of installs. This confusion limits mobile marketer’s abilities to effectively measure and optimize marketing campaigns.

In mobile advertising, a lookback window is the amount of time a network or attribution provider will look back when attributing an install. AppsFlyer allows you to configure your lookback windows per attribution link, so you can optimally measure every campaign. For example, using the default lookback window, a network with a 14 day lookback window will take credit for any user who clicked on one of their ads in the last 14 days. However, users often interact with multiple promotions before installing an app. A user may have engaged with this network’s ad, and then went on to view a video ad on a different network, and then installed the app after clicking on a social ad. In this case, all three networks could end up taking credit for the same install.

AppsFlyer’s configurable solutions will automatically resolve these discrepancies based on the advertiser’s preferred lookback windows. This provides better data clarity, and allows advertisers to tweak their attribution lookback windows with unparalleled flexibility and granularity.

Flexible Reattribution Windows

With AppsFlyer, advertisers can define their preferred re-attribution lookback window. A reattribution lookback window is a period of time after the original install during which a reinstall will not be reattributed to the new network. As a marketer, if I define a 90-day reattribution window, all installs that occur 89 days after the original install will not be re-attributed to the new source, but installs 91 days after the install will be attributed to the new media source.

Unlimited Data Retention

Regardless of the marketer-selected reattribution window, AppsFlyer retains all of your data forever. Whether you want this data in raw data reports or for aggregated calculations (e.g. lifetime value), AppsFlyer’s data retention gives your unlimited flexibility.

Global Reach, Ready To Help You Go Global - Like a Local

While the mobile app marketplace is truly global, regional and vertical specific ad networks often deliver outstanding performance in their respective areas of expertise. With well over 3,000 integrated network partners, AppsFlyer has the experience, connections and preconfigured integrations for every brand, in every vertical, anywhere in the world.