Attribution methods

The methods performed in MyTracker work the same way for device and user attribution. The only difference is the attributable event: for devices — the installation or the first site visit, for users — the first event passed with the user ID.

Android Referrer (Android)

Android Referrer works only with Android apps distributed through Google Play. To use this attribution method, the link to the app store must contain a special parameter, referrer, whose data identify the source of referral. Once an app is installed, it will receive the required parameter value through Android OS services. Then, that value will be transmitted to a tracking system server and used to detect the source of installation.

Android Referrer is the most preferred attribution method because of its outstanding accuracy. Android Referrer data are used for attribution, even if there are other clicks closer to the time of installation.

To attribute installs from Facebook, you need to pass an Install referrer decryption key to MyTracker. Learn more

Device ID matching (Mobile)

This method is used when the platform where a tracking link is placed is capable of obtaining user's device ID and transmitting it to the tracking link. The following identifiers are most commonly used for this purpose:

  1. IDFA for iOS devices
  2. Waid for Windows devices
  3. GAID and AndroidID for Android devices

When a user clicks a tracking link, their device ID is captured and saved by the tracking server. After your app has been installed, the tracking library within the app receives that ID value and transmits it to the tracking server, where it's used to find a click record with a matching identifier.

Device ID Matching is a fairly accurate and the most common attribution method. It works very well for in-app ads but is not usable when the tracking link is placed in an environment that is not capable of obtaining device identifiers. For example, email and SMS campaigns, print ads, web pages accessed through a browser, etc.

Redirect (Web)

The method is based on the transfer of a unique identifier when redirecting to the website:

  1. When a user goes through a tracking link like embedded in the ad, they are redirected to the website.
  2. In the processing of redirection, MyTracker generates a unique identifier mt_click_id, adds it to the website URL and also keeps the click data (click time, cookies with user data, etc.).
  3. When a user visits your website, MyTracker will get information about the new visit (with the same mt_click_id and cookies).
  4. The attribution mechanism matches clicks with visits and links new users to referral sources.

Attribution by cookies
Attribution will be done by cookies if MyTracker has not received the redirect identifier mt_click_id for some reason (for example, if the user is redirected to the project's landing where web counter is not set).

When a new user visits your website, MyTracker compares the cookies from the site with the same tracking clicks and ad impressions. If the values match, the tracker will associate the appearance of a new user to the ad by the last click/show closest to the view.

If your partner does not support redirection, you can use direct links like The essence is that MyTracker adds a special parameter mt_link_id to the target URL. This parameter contains the tracking links identifier. MyTracker gets the value of this parameter together with the pageview and links the visitor to the relevant tracking link and campaign.

We recommend using the Redirect as it's the most accurate method. Attribution by Direct links suggests some disadvantages:

  • user can share tracking link with their friends, and MyTracker links friends' conversions to the same campaign;
  • user can put link with mt_link_id in the bookmark, and in case of a long absence (after the inactivity window has expired), when switching from the bookmarks, the reattribution will trigger, and MyTracker will link it to the same campaign.

UTM tags (Web)

Along with the direct link, you can use links with UTM tags like{utm_source}&utm_campaign={utm_campaign}. The essence is that you add the following UTM tags to the target URL: utm_source, utm_campaign, utm_term, utm_content. MyTracker gets the value of these tags together with the first pageview and links the visitor to the relevant tracking link and campaign.

Probabilistic (Mobile, Web)

Probabilistic attribution uses machine learning models. This method identifies the source that brought new users without advertising device identifiers (IDFA, GAID, etc.), maintaining user privacy.

Probabilistic modeling is based on a large amount of historical data. It continually learns from newly available stats from devices that have provided access to the ad identifier and SKAdNetwork stats.

The probabilistic model assumes that the user appearance relates to a particular ad campaign and partner based on device characteristics and information about advertising interactions. Because this method uses probability estimation and multiple device parameters, the attribution time can take longer (about 1 hour on average).

MyTracker allows you to restrict or to disable Probabilistic, when, for example, you know that other attribution methods are in use.

DOOH attribution (Android)

DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home) attribution is valid only for Android. To link ad impressions and app installs, MyTracker uses MAC address as a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller.

When an ad appears on digital billboards, our server receives data on all devices in front of each screens. MyTracker gathers MAC addresses, advertising time, and specific parameters embedded in the banner body (these are attribution window, app and tracking link ids). If some user install an app during the dooh window (by default, 1 day) on a device with a tracked MAC address, MyTracker could associate user appearance with out-of-home advertising.

DOOH attribution priority is lower than Device ID matching (post view) but higher than Probabilistic (post view).

For more details about DOOH ads, refer to DOOH tracking

Pre-install (Android)

For pre-installs attribution, MyTraker supports the following methods:

  • PAI (Google Play Auto Install) when apps are automatically loaded and installed from the cloud after users activate the devices.

    To track pre-installs, generate referrer with PAI parameters in the MyTracker interface and share it with a device manufacturer to insert it in the utm_campaign parameter. When a user launches your app for the first time, MyTracker queries the Google Play Install Referrer API and retrieves pre-install data.

  • This method is available only for apps published on Google Play

  • ApkPreinstallParams, when retailers install the app in the device sale.

    To track pre-installs, generate APK parameters in the MyTracker interface, add them to the app build, and share the APK file with the retailer. With the customer's consent, the retailer installs the APK on the device. When a user launches your app for the first time, MyTracker reads APK parameters and retrieves pre-install data.

  • Use this method when no other options are possible. If the user decides to update the app before the first launch, APK parameters will be erased and the pre-install will not log.

  • System Properties when apps are installed on devices before they go on sale.

    To track pre-installs, generate key-value in the MyTracker interface and share it with a device manufacturer to insert it in the device’s system properties. When a user launches your app for the first time, MyTracker retrieves pre-install data.

  • System Properties (additional method) is an outdated method. A manufacturer places key-value in the special file and specifies the path to the file in the device's system properties.

For details, refer to the Pre-install tracking section

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