What Does Install Attribution Double-Counting Cost You?


As leaders in mobile app attribution and measurement, one of the key benefits we provide is to act as a third-party check, determining which media company deserves credit for driving a download or retargeting event. This can be a big issue for an app publisher because lots of clicks occur before a download occurs – you might think the figure is 3 or 4, but the reality in many countries is in the triple digits. Yep, more than 100 clicks occur before a download on average. Even in the country with the lowest click to conversion ration, the number is 20:1.

Many of those clicks will be “organic”, meaning that they were not necessarily driven by a piece of marketing. But many won’t be as well. And if a media company drives a click, they may naturally believe (if their SDK is in your app) that they drove the conversion. What that means is that without a third-party mobile attribution tool like Apsalar Attribution, several media companies may take credit for the same sale. And if you have a CPA contract with them, you’ll be paying double, triple or more for that one sale.

I want to emphasize that by claiming credit for a sale, these companies are not trying to rip you off. It’s simply that their SDKs only have access to their data. A third-party measurement and attribution platform eliminates this challenge by using an attribution rule like “last click” to ensure that only one vendor is credited with a transaction, and so you only pay once. There are companies out there anxious to rip you off, of course, but most are simply acting on the best informaiton that they have.

Third-party attribution providers may use different models to allocate credit, but the important thing for you is that they limit your CPA exposure so you only pay once for a conversion.

Does that really make all that big a difference to your media costs? It can. We worked with a large mcommerce retailer to calculate savings and saw a 21% reduction in acquisition media costs – this was a company that had a significant portion of its media in CPA programs.

Whether or not you are CPA-focused, third-party measurement matters because clicks are ultimately not that great of a predictor of future installs. Not when 100 clicks often occur before an install. That means that if you are relying solely on click measurement as a determinant of the quality of a media partner, you may find that those that drive the most clicks don’t actually drive the most sales. This is true even if we take the possibility of click fraud out of the picture.

Where we are seeing even more interesting and financially relevant data is in the sphere of remarketing. Again, there is the potential for multiple media companies to claim the same purchase event, if you don’t have third-party measurement. There is also the issue that many mobile attribution platforms – particularly those at the bottom of the pricing scale, may have problematic retargeting measurement methodologies. And bad data warps your efforts to optimize.

And if you compare the cost of third-party measurement to the cost of double-paying for conversions, third-party measurement almost always wins.

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