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Mobile Attribution 101: What Every Developer Needs to Know

By Dvora Goldstein



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Optimizing the user experience of your app is crucial for its success, and the best way to do so is by collecting data on how users interact with it. While regular analytic tools do a good job, there’s an even better way now.

Welcome to mobile attribution. This approach to measuring app performance allows you to discover where and how users are interacting with your app and connect them with key points in the app journey.

But what exactly is mobile attribution and how do you use it? Keep reading to learn.

Mobile Attribution Explained

Mobile attribution is the process of measuring two metrics, such as ad spend and app installs. Given that the mobile advertising industry will exceed $244 billion by 2020, you need to know which strategies and channels are wasting your money or generating the most returns.

Mobile attribution also helps mobile app developers and companies determine how users are interacting with apps and mobile ads. This information can then be used to optimize marketing campaigns, the user experience of an app, and more.

In a nutshell, the process looks like this:

How mobile attribution works: user clicks ad; user ID saved to network; user installs app; user opens app; attribution SKD launches; attribution tool collects dataHow mobile attribution works

Not taking advantage of mobile attribution means that you won’t have the most detailed and accurate data on your mobile app and its advertising performance. This can result in missing opportunities when they arise, or discovering problems too late.

Appsflyer: people-based attribution. One view of all devices, platforms and channelsAppsflyer is a market leader in ad attribution and analytics with their proprietary “People-based Attribution” technology

Next, let’s talk more about why you should be using mobile attribution.

The Benefits of Mobile Attribution

These are some of the main benefits you will experience by taking advantage of mobile attribution.

Track user events to optimize your app

You will be able to track every little detail of how users interact with mobile ad campaigns in your app. This includes where they found your app originally, which pages they navigate to, and what features they interact with the most.

This information is priceless. It’s telling you exactly what pages and features users enjoy the most, which channels drive the most traffic, and what campaigns are generating the most results for your app.

You can then invest more capital into profitable channels, push favorite features to the forefront, and improve how every user engages with your application.

Reduce ad spend and improve campaign performance

Imagine being able to quickly discover which ad campaigns and channels are and aren’t driving results. You could cut the losers and invest more into the winners. That’s possible thanks to mobile attribution techniques.

Mobile attribution will present you with data on which advertisements, campaigns, and individual networks drive the most traffic, installs, and conversions to your app.

Many companies throw incredible amounts of money into poor performing campaigns and channels because they don’t have the data that mobile attribution can provide. Don’t be one of them.

How to Use Mobile Attribution

Mobile attribution is great and all, but how do you actually do it?

The first way is to use mobile app deep linking. This can be used to collect data on how users interact with your app. Deep linking is also capable of increasing installations and brand awareness.

Deep linking is available for both iOS and Android devices. By adding specific lines of code to a mobile app, developers are able to push users to the app store to download their app if they don’t have it and then forward them to the intended location.

Mobile app deep linking example: user clicks mobile deep link from search results; user forwarded to appropriate app store; app opens on intended pageMobile app deep linking example

Deep links, as the name suggests, link to deeper features within an app versus the welcome screen. This saves users time and allows them to get to where they want to be faster.

You can follow the official Android and Apple documentation to learn how to add deep links into your app to begin reaping the benefits of mobile attribution.

Additionally, companies can invest in mobile attribution services. These give you all the tools and dashboards you need to collect deep analytics on your userbase and app.


Mobile attribution allows developers to bridge the gap between users and apps to collect critical information. This data can then be used to optimize the user experience, ads, and marketing campaigns.

You can start using mobile attribution today by enabling deep links within your or app or investing in attribution services that do most of the heavy lifting on your behalf.

What’s your experience so far with mobile attribution?

Dvora is a freelance writer residing in Tel Aviv, Israel with 5 years of internet marketing experience. She frequently writes about SEO, Social media and all-things blogging. Learn more about Dvora on

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