Adjust supports several attribution methods based on how a user interacts with your ad and the quality of their engagement. Here, we review how each attribution type works, Adjust’s order of operation, and when each method is used. For information on understanding and maintaining attribution windows, click here.

1Attribution methods

What are Adjust’s attribution methods?

Adjust offers several attribution methods, depending on ad engagement and conversion type:

Install (first app open)

  • Ad Click
    • Device matching
    • Device fingerprinting
  • Ad Impression
    • Device matching
    • Device fingerprinting

Reattribution (attribution reassignment for dormant app users)

  • Ad Click
    • Device matching

2What is Adjust’s order of operation?

For app installs, Adjust attributes users in the following order:

  1. Ad click - Device matching
  2. Ad click - Device fingerprinting
  3. Ad impression - Device matching
  4. Ad impression - Device fingerprinting

Due to the deliberate nature of the engagement, Adjust prioritizes click-based methodologies. If no clicks can be found for matching, then Adjust will employ impression-based attribution (if impression tracking is enabled).

2.1Device matching

Device matching requires a unique device or advertising identifier to be present at time of ad click or view.

Recognized identifiers:

  • Advertising IDs
    • Predominantly, these are identifiers for advertisers (IDFAs) from iOS devices and Google Play Store advertising identifiers (GPS ADIDs) from Android devices
  • Device IDs
    • These include the Android ID and the IDFV (iOS)
  • Android referrers
    • These are unique tags generated and received (by Adjust) upon click and returned via our SDK upon install

Device matching allows Adjust to attribute with 100% accuracy.

2.2Device Fingerprinting

Device fingerprinting is Adjust’s fallback attribution method. This means that fingerprinting is only used to attribute installs to clicks or impressions recorded without a valid device identifier. As a result, Adjust must rely on some device characteristics that are subject to frequent change.

The details Adjust relies on for device fingerprinting include:

  • Device type (e.g., Google Pixel XL)
  • Operating system (e.g., Android)
  • Operating system version (e.g., 7.1.2)
  • Language (e.g., en)
  • IP address (e.g., 77.185.208.234)
  • User agent

While much of this information remains consistent, a user’s IP address, for example, changes often. When a device is carried between the office, home, a coffee shop, etc., each new WiFi access point provides the device with a new IP address.

If any of the above device details change between a click and install, the click is disqualified for attribution.

Device fingerprinting allows Adjust to attribute with 90% accuracy.

Note: Impression-based device fingerprinting is not automatically enabled and must be activated per app within your app’s attribution settings or on a tracker-by-tracker basis using the Adjust Campaign Wizard.

2.3Reattribution

Reattribution occurs when a user engages with a tracked source and returns to your app following a continuous period of inactivity (i.e., no sessions in your app). Adjust only reattributes users from ad clicks via device matching or deeplinks; we do not use device fingerprinting or ad impressions for reattribution.

There are two factors that Adjust considers when deciding whether to reattribute a user (both can be set in the Adjust Dashboard):

  • Inactivity period
  • Reattribution window

The inactivity period determines how long a user must be dormant in your app before they become eligible for reattribution. This is set in consecutive days.

The reattribution window determines how long an Adjust-tracked engagement will be considered an eligible reattribution source.

If a user meets meets the inactivity period and reattribution window specifications, and their click is recorded with a valid advertising identifier, they will be reattributed.

2.4Impression

Impression matching is based on ad views. Impression attributions are made only when there is no click data available for attribution. Impressions are matched via device matching or device fingerprinting. By default, device matching will be used, meaning we will only attribute via an impression if it is recorded with an advertising ID, device ID, or app store referrer. However, you can enable impression attribution via device fingerprinting using your app’s attribution settings or on a tracker-by-tracker basis using the Adjust Campaign Wizard.

To enable impression-based attribution, you must be running impression tracker URLs (e.g., https://view.adjust.com/impression/abc123) as generated within your Adjust Dashboard.

There are two ways to find your impression tracker URLs:

  1. Upon successful tracker generation in the Campaign Wizard
  2. By going to App Settings > (DATA MANAGEMENT) Trackers and selecting the settings (gear) icon besides a tracker name