How attribution works
How attribution works
Sarah has decided to become an Adjust client. Let's explore their journey.
Set up
Sarah signs up to Adjust and they get a brand spanking new dashboard.
They add their app to the dashboard and get given a unique Adjust App Token.
It's a good start!

To let Adjust start tracking, Sarah needs to integrate a piece of specific code into the app. This code comes in the form of an Adjust SDK, meaning Software Development Kit.
Almost done!
Sarah now can create and customize tracker URLs within the Adjust dashboard and start tracking their ad campaigns.
All set!

What is SDK
Software Development Kit (SDK) is a piece of code, unique to Adjust and to the platform of the app (iOS or Android). SDKs include tools, libraries, documentation and sample code that would help a programmer to develop an application.

What's next?

We record this install by having our Adjust SDK ping it to our faithful Adjust server, along with some handy details such as the unique Adjust App Token. We can recognise the app the install came from and, therefore, which client's Adjust dashboard we display this install in.

Whenever the user chooses to open the app or do anything there, we will track this activity.
Okay! Now I can launch my marketing campaigns.
But what if users find and install apps themselves, not from a marketing channel?
How Adjust tracks users
How Adjust tracks users
There can be two basic groups of users. Let's look at an example
Adjust tracking link
Marketing campaigns, run by an Adjust client, Sarah, will all share one important thing in common: an Adjust tracking link, which looks something like this:
This magic link leads to the specific app in the App Store/Playstore that was added to the Adjust dashboard initially by Sarah.

To retrieve the link
1. Click "create new tracking link" on the Adjust dashboard.
2. Assign it a name, such as "track me!"
3. Pick one of Adjust's partners (ad networks/publishers who own ad servers).
4. Provide them with the Adjust tracking link, they place it behind an ad within an app.
5. Set the campaign live.

Whenever the user chooses to open the app or do anything there,
Adjust will track this activity.

Ad server
a service that places ads on mobile sites or within apps
Okay! In the example above, the campaign is being served within the tickling kitty app. Let's say a user, Bob, clicks on the link and is redirected to Pizza sounds pretty good to him right now, so he might indeed go ahead and install the app. What happens next?
At this point we have tracked Bob's click, and the partner serving the ad is so kind as to share with us Bob's Advertising ID.

They do not always share the Advertising ID on click, but the majority of the time they do. Bob's Advertising ID is unique to his device however he can change it at any time he wishes, it is not a permanent id which means it is legal to track.

Bob then chooses to download and install the app, our SDK awakens tracks his install and gets ahold of his Advertising ID, pings it back to the Adjust server.
So what data do we get?
Within Adjust's server, we then make a match between the Advertising ID coming from Bob's click on the banner and the Advertising ID coming from Bob's install.

Then we display Bob's install next to "track me!" in the client's Adjust statistics, on their dashboard.

We can also ping this install back to the network partner (to whom the install was attributed to) via what we call a "callback", if they wish to receive it, in order to optimise on the advertising campaigns they are running for the client.
What would happen if the Adjust partner serving the ad didn't provide an Advertising ID on click?
Well, in that case, we receive additional information coming through on click to the Adjust server, such as IP address, which we also receive on install, communicated to our Adjust server via our Adjust SDK. The IP address is a numerical label assigned to each device. This can change depending on how a user is choosing to access the internet on their mobile device, whether it be for example over 3G or Wifi.

Using the IP address and other variables we can still make a match on click to install. However, it is not as accurate as matching based on Advertising ID, so this is our primary method of attribution matching. We will always prioritise Advertising IDs over anything else when it comes to matching.
It's pretty smart! One last question.
Who does Adjust work with?
Who does Adjust
work with?
Who does Adjust work with?
creates the app and integrates the amazing Adjust SDK
Marketing team
promote the app via advertising campaigns or advertise WITHIN the app (maybe promoting more apps!)
Networks / Publishers
provide the capability for marketing to run advertising on mobile sites or in apps
Optimisation team
work with the data coming from the marketing campaigns with the aim of the resulting data getting bigger and better
Business Intelligence team
transform the bigger and better data into meaningful and useful information with the aim of growing their business
do the heavy lifting in terms of managing the distribution of more and more marketing campaigns going live
Thank you! Now I have everything to launch the greatest marketing campaigns. Got to go!
Before you go
Before you go
Test what you have learn

  • What is attribution?
  • What kind of analysis can Adjust provide?
  • How attribution can help marketers
  • How to start working with Adjust attribution?
  • What is Adjust SDK?
  • Who is an "organic user"?
  • How client can use the tracking link?
  • What happens when the user clicks on the ad link within the app?
  • What is Advertising ID?
  • Who does Adjust work with?

Want to learn more?

Visit Adjust resources for clients and dive deeper into detail.

See you in the next course!