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Understanding Click-Through and View-Through Attribution in the Post-IDFA Landscape

Team InMobi
3 min read
Posted on May 11, 2021

Now that iOS 14.5 is live, Apple is officially enforcing its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework. As a result of these changes, apps will be required to get users’ permission to collect and share their data.  

This all means that IDFAs, the device-level identifiers currently used for attribution and other advertising purposes, will be largely unavailable. Exact opt-in numbers vary, but some estimates point to 20% or fewer users opting in. 

While these changes will impact just about all aspect of in-app advertising in the iOS ecosystem, the changes will especially affect attribution for app install and user acquisition (UA) campaigns. Let’s deep dive into two particular aspects: click-through and view-through attribution. 

Understanding Click-Through and View-Through Attribution Today 

Before highlighting what’s changing, let’s level set on what click-through and view-through attribution looked like before iOS 14.5 was live. How does it work now? 

Quick definitions: Click-through attribution describes how advertisers can trace how someone clicks on an ad and then installs an app, while view-through attribution (VTA) shows how someone viewed an ad and then later installed the app. Ultimately, both types of attribution tell a UA-focused advertiser whether they responded to their app install campaign. 

Right now, IDFAs, as device-level identifiers, are used to determine who saw and/or clicked on an ad and who later installed an app on their mobile device. This fingerprinting and tracking often is monitored and reported on by a mobile measurement partner (MMP). 

Understanding the Future of Click-Through and View-Through Attribution 

Now that iOS 14.5 is live, all app install and UA tracking will have to go through SKAdNetwork, Apple’s own tracking solution. While SKAdNetwork does provide some basic reporting, it is not nearly as granular as what MMPs have historically provided. 

In the post-IDFA landscape, there is no real-time attribution and no specific user-based attribution. While MMPs are still figuring out alternatives to support device-level user campaign measurement, there are various measurement models, like probabilistic attribution, that could be available but are compliant with Apple’s policies only for those who have opted in. 

Going forward, both click-through and view-through attribution will be handled by SKAdNetwork.  

  • For click-through attribution, SKAdNetwork will only measure and record a click when the App Store is opened. This is a different view and definition of clicks vs. what many advertisers are used to seeing. 
  • For view-through attribution, when users have seen a rendered ad for three or more seconds, the publisher fires an impression to Apple with the signature of the ad server. This is again happening at the exchange level, and exchanges need to make changes to their SDKs to support VTA supply.   

Before running any app install campaigns, it’s important to test out SKAdNetwork to see how click-through and view-through attribution is being measured and recorded. Since SKAdNetwork is very new for most UA-focused advertisers, testing is imperative. Also be sure to look at how different exchanges are handling reporting. 

Overall, InMobi DSP is ready to help advertisers manage this transition smoothly, and we will ensure our partners are adhering to these policies from Apple. If you have any additional questions and want to know more about how InMobi DSP will be handling UA campaigns in Apple mobile devices, be sure to reach out to us today. 

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