The bigger picture: the benefits of view-through attribution for mobile ad campaigns

Anne Freer | June 15, 2023

Mobile Advertising

Optimising mobile and app advertising campaigns has never been easy. But for those still focused on tracking click-throughs only, it’s time to consider the wider picture, according to a brand new guide by measurement experts Adjust. Let’s take a look at the alternative – so-called view-through attribution (VTA) and how it helps app marketers improve their ROI.

How VTA improves campaign measurements

When using VTA, marketers track the number of times an ad is seen by potential customers (impressions), and this information helps them analyse and optimise their campaigns. It helps marketers understand the impact of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitch on their marketing efforts, assessing how these platforms contribute to purchase intent, brand awareness, and favourability.

Adjust conducted a study on apps around the world that used VTA, and they found that sometimes an increase in ad views can also lead to more clicks on the ad. On the other hand, a decrease in clicks doesn’t always result in fewer app installations.

For example, in February 2022, there was a 16% decrease in clicks compared to the previous month, and this correlated with a 21% drop in app installations. However, in the following months, the number of clicks increased slightly, while app installations increased by 10%.

Clicks vs impressions

Source: Adjust

By May 2022, the number of app installations attributed to ad views was 19% higher than the February decrease, even though the number of clicks had only recovered by 11%.

“VTA is crucial to measuring and understanding overall campaign performance strategically and holistically,” said Reggie Singh, Adjust Director of Partnerships. “In light of greater privacy measures, such as Apple’s iOS 14.5 and Google’s upcoming Privacy Sandbox on Android, every little bit of insight into the user journey counts. It’s great to attribute an install to a click, but it’s even more powerful to know if more clicks, and ultimately conversions, occur after impressions have been served on a specific channel.”

First impressions aren’t everything

According to Youmna Borghol, the Head of Marketing Science at Snap Inc., Snapchatters tend to open the app multiple times a day and often seek guidance from their friends and creators when making purchasing decisions. However, when users encounter ads on Snapchat, they may not click on them immediately. Instead, they prefer to continue their experience within the app. Nevertheless, many users eventually complete their purchases at a later time after being influenced by the ads they viewed earlier.

Delving into vertical-specific data, it becomes evident that the food and drink sector reigns supreme with an impressive 43% of impression-based installs worldwide. Fintech follows closely behind at 36%, while the travel industry captures 30% of such installs. E-commerce holds a respectable 24%, while entertainment and social apps both claim 11%, and gaming trails at 5%.

Impressions vs clicks by app vertical

Source: Adjust

The study also notes that among the top five regions boasting the highest share of impression-based installs are Japan with a commanding 17%, followed by France and Benelux at 14%, MENA at 11%, INSEA at 10%, and the US with nearly 9%.

When to utilise VTA?

As VTA window lengths can vary significantly across industries, Adjust advises adopting vertical-specific windows to optimise VTA initiatives effectively.

For gaming apps, a 24-hour window proves adequate, whereas fintech apps benefit from a slightly extended period of 32.5 hours. By tailoring VTA windows to specific verticals, app marketers can enhance their attribution strategies and gain more accurate insights.

Install shares vary widely between operating systems. Android holds an average share of 9.2%, whereas iOS enjoys a significantly higher share of 14.1%. The app categories most frequently downloaded on iOS, such as eCommerce, food and drink, and lifestyle, largely contributed to this discrepancy, as they are more conducive to VTA. Conversely, Android dominates the mobile game download landscape, driven by high-intent, click-centric campaigns.

When it comes to diversifying their advertising mix, marketers are urged to focus on Connected TV (CTV) due to its exceptional ad recall rates. With CTV boasting an impressive 46% ad recall, significantly surpassing the mere 9% recall rates of website ads, it emerges as the highly recommended channel for holistic ad measurement. By leveraging VTA in the CTV space, marketers can unlock valuable insights and maximise their advertising impact.

Key takeaways

  • VTA improves mobile ad campaigns
  • Tailor VTA windows based on verticals
  • like a 24-hour window for gaming apps and a 32.5-hour window for fintech apps.
  • CTV has a significant impact, with a 46% ad recall rate, surpassing website ads’ 9%
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