Trends & Insights
7 questions you should ask before choosing a mobile app attribution tool
February 3, 2022
Minah Lee

Given the wide availability of attribution tools today, choosing the right attribution tool to measure your app marketing campaigns is critical. Make the wrong choice, and you'd face what doesn't appropriately address your measurement needs, the costs of an inappropriate pricing plan, and the technical hassles of converting from one tool to another.

Then what makes a good mobile app attribution tool? While the answer varies depending on your product, objective, and growth stage, here is a checklist of 7 questions to ask beforehand.

1. How flexible is it in exporting raw data?

An attribution tool provides performance visibility into the ads that contributed to conversions such as installs or in-app events by matching touchpoint data and conversion data. It could also function as a data pipeline as it collects, processes, and streamlines a wide range of data from Self-Attributing Networks (SAN), tracking links, and SDKs built inside your app.

With an attribution tool, you could see the performance data on the dashboard or export the raw data for further usage customized to your needs. However, some attribution tools may limit the data types available for export or charge a premium for downloading them.

With Airbridge, over 220 different types of raw data collected from web and app SDKs, tracking links, and SANs are available for export in real-time with no additional charges. 

2. How well-integrated is it with third-party tools?

There is more to an attribution tool than just measurement and performance analytics. 

You could integrate the attribution tool with third-party tools or cloud storages for further usage as your business grows. Checking integration readiness and availability for expansion of the attribution tool is a must. We recommend looking up the attribution tool's user guide, developer guide, and API guide. 

Airbridge does not charge or require extra development effort for data transfer to other platforms. You can easily integrate data in Airbridge with cloud storage like AWS S3 or other SaaS tools like Amplitude and Braze with a simple switch of a toggle button or by programmatic integration via query API.

If you are using Amplitude, you should check whether your attribution tool can send both attribution and events data to Amplitude. Even if you integrate your attribution tool with Amplitude via SDK, there may be some data discrepancies due to time lag or API spec differences. With the new HTTP API V2 integration, all data will be properly recorded on Amplitude, and all potential discrepancies will be eliminated. 

3. How customizable is the attribution window?

The most commonly used attribution model is the last-touch model. Most advertisers use this model because of its simplicity in attribution analysis. It is also widely used in discussing advertisement costs between advertisers and ad channels. 

Attribution tools offer varying customizations for the attribution windows. Here are some questions to consider:

1) Is it possible to set separate attribution windows for installs and in-app events?

2) Is it possible to set different attribution windows for different matching methods - the Device ID matching method and the Probabilistic matching method? (Below two methods are used in Airbridge)

  • Device ID matching method uses Google Play Referrer query string parameter, deeplink, ADID matching, and platform matching.
  • Probabilistic matching is a method that estimates the probability that a user who viewed and clicked an ad and a user who first opened the app is the same individual, using a combination of non-unique values, such as device information and IP.

3) Is it possible to set different attribution windows for each ad channel?

In Airbridge:

You can configure attribution window settings globally, but you can also set different attribution windows for each channel. You can set two different attribution windows for before and after the installation. The Lookback Window tracks touchpoints (click or impression) that exist prior to the install and detects which touchpoints contributed to an install, while the Attribution Window tracks user interactions (in-app events) after the installation. You can also set different attribution windows according to the matching methods (Device ID matching and Probabilistic matching). 

Some attribution tools only analyze installs and no further events. Under this condition, the same channel that was accredited for install will get the final credit for all conversion events after the installation, even if other channels have contributed to those conversions.

4. How customizable is the dashboard for performance tracking?

Running ads and measuring performance for optimization are integral to every marketer. A dashboard that holistically reports all aspects of campaigns can significantly improve work efficiency as the relevant data differs according to each campaign.

If you are a marketer running campaigns on both web and app, check if an attribution tool supports a unified dashboard across multiple platforms (web, Android, or iOS) as it would be a nightmare to check each platform's performance on respective reports or even on separate tools. As customers are present across diverse platforms and channels, a holistic measurement is crucial.

Airbridge supports app and web SDKs that collect conversion data from every platform, even iOS SKAdNetwork. Airbridge then aggregates all data across devices, platforms, and channels, and its dashboard is easily customizable for your reporting needs.

d.code, an industry-leading pre-order commerce service, is an avid user of Airbridge's customizable dashboard. Find out how d.code greatly simplified their performance reporting practices with Airbridge on the case study.

5. Does it offer different access permissions by user type?

There are cases where brands plan and execute end-to-end marketing campaigns themselves, but brands usually cooperate with advertising agencies and media partners for planning and execution. In such cases, different levels of access authorizations must be granted to each type of user to limit access to any sensitive data and further prevent security issues. 

Every attribution tool has its own method of defining user access to various data types. In Airbridge, four different types of users are defined: Owner, In-house Marketer, Agency, and Media Partner.

  • Owner is the first user that registers the app in Airbridge. The Owner has full access to all features, including data export and changing the settings for new users. In addition, only the owner can delete the app in Airbridge.
  • In-house Marketer has equal authority as the owner thus can add new users except, they cannot delete user accounts or the app in Airbridge.
  • Agency can only view agency-generated data. The Agency can view or export data of permitted ad channels with permission.
  • Media Partner can view channel-attributed data in Actuals report and view the list of tracking links, postback settings, and attribution window which the advertiser has set for the channel.

6. How far does it go for consultation and customer support?

While features are important, having the proper knowledge to maximize the use of an attribution tool is equally important. 

Long waiting hours and lack of dedicated support or consultation are common complaints about global SaaS tools, but this does not apply to Airbridge. Airbridge has a dedicated Customer Success team equipped with an organized system and numerous digital marketing experts. Airbridge’s Customer Success team offers product trainings, guided walkthroughs, support for event taxonomy, and SDK installation from start to end. In addition, the Airbridge Customer Success team provides tailored consultation to derive deeper insights, regular business check-ins to share new features and improvement measures to maximize product usage, and knowledge sharing sessions to share industry trends, the latest use-cases, and best practices.

7. How is the pricing plan structured?

While pricing plans vary across attribution tools, they are roughly divided into two types: cost per install and pricing based on DAU/MAU. A good practice is to get a quote for each tool in advance. For DAU/MAU-based pricing, you can easily predict the expense and not worry about overpaying for potential users who drop out immediately after the app installation. For cost per install pricing, however, costs may increase as you execute more marketing campaigns. For example, if a paid install campaign leads to a surge in installs, you may face a rapid increase in costs.

Additionally, many attribution tools require additional payments for access to specific features. Therefore, make sure the package includes all your necessary features when receiving a quote. In most cases, you’ll be able to find a detailed quote of pricing by connecting to the sales team.

In Summary

Finding the right mobile app attribution tool that fits your business is not simple so consider a wide range of aspects before making a decision. As switching to a new attribution tool is more complicated than the first-time implementation, we encourage you to ask the 7 questions above before deciding on an attribution tool. By asking the right questions while comparing each tool, you’ll be able to find the most compatible tool for your product and marketing team.

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Minah Lee
Product Marketing Part Lead
Minah is Airbridge's product marketing part lead. She creates content, plans various marketing campaigns, and collaborates with the growth of teams, customers, and partners.
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