Adjust’s attribution source filter is ideal for analyzing the performance of marketing activities that are dispersed among a wide range of trackers and comprise a large number of reattributions. With this toggle, you can display each user’s in-app activity against only their install tracker or distribute it accurately among their install tracker and any reattribution sources.

The attribution source filter gives you the best of both worlds:

  • First source: a quick lifetime activity view based only on each user’s install source
  • Dynamic source: a way to analyze the success of your re-engagement campaigns based on all sources of attribution and reattribution

Use this article to learn and understand the strengths and capabilities of this enlightening Adjust feature.

Note: The attribution source filter does not affect what data appears in your Dashboard, only how it is displayed.

1What is an attribution source?

An attribution is any Adjust-tracked engagement that leads a user to your app. This can be an install source or a reattribution source.

To fully understand what the attribution source filter does, we first need to look at the attribution status filter that affects how Adjust sorts your data.

The attribution status filter offers the following options:

  • Installed: app sessions and in-app events recorded from users who have only installed your app (i.e., have never been reattributed)
  • Reattributed: app sessions and in-app events recorded from users who have been reassigned to subsequent sources of attribution
  • Deattributed: app sessions and in-app events recorded from users who have left their install tracker, i.e., been reassigned to subsequent sources of attribution
  • All: app sessions and in-app events from all users, regardless of their current attribution status

The difference between reattributed and deattributed is only contextual. They are two ways of looking at the exact same action:

  • When a user is reattributed to a new tracker, they are also deattributed away from their install tracker

Note: Any user can be deattributed, but they can only be a deattribution once: it is a unique event.

This differentiation is helpful in understanding KPIs for each attribution source: use the first source filter to assess users that have been deattributed (i.e., left their install source) and the dynamic source filter to analyze users that have been reattributed within Adjust.

Adjust categorizes attribution sources as:

  • First: the original install source
  • Dynamic: the most recent attribution source at the time of an in-app activity

Notes:

  • Users that have have never been reattributed within Adjust will have only one attribution source: their install source
  • Users that have been reattributed/deattributed will have at least two sources of attribution: their install source and any subsequent source(s) of attribution

2What is dynamic source attribution?

Dynamic source attribution is the concept that an app user can be reattributed to multiple tracked sources throughout their Adjust-tracked lifetime. As always, a user must engage with an Adjust-tracked source (within the reattribution window, and after the specified period of inactivity) to become reattributed within Adjust.

3How does the attribution source filter affect my data?

While the attribution status filter determines what users are included in your reporting, the attribution source filter determines where in-app sessions and events are assigned.

  • First source attribution: all in-app activity, deattributions, and reattributions are associated with the first (install) source
  • Dynamic source attribution: each in-app activity and reattribution is assigned to the attribution source at the time of the event trigger, which could be:
    • the install source, or;
    • a later source of engagement

4How does first source attribution appear in my Dashboard?

With first source attribution, each in-app activity is assigned to the first (install) attribution source, so a user’s lifetime in-app activity will remain on the first source, even following reattribution, e.g.,:

  1. User’s app install is attributed to tracker A
    • User completes in-app event 1
  2. User is deattributed from tracker A / reattributed to tracker B
    • User completes in-app event 2
      • User completes in-app event 3
  3. User is reattributed to tracker C

With first source, your data will display as:

  • Tracker A: install, event 1, deattribution, reattribution, event 2, event 3, and reattribution (total: 1 install, 1 deattribution, 3 events, and 2 reattributions)
  • Tracker B: none
  • Tracker C: none

5How does dynamic source attribution appear in my Dashboard?

With dynamic attribution, each in-app activity is assigned to the most recent attribution source, so a user’s lifetime in-app activity is likely to be spread across multiple trackers, e.g.:

  1. User’s app install is attributed to tracker A
    • User completes in-app event 1
  2. User is reattributed to tracker B
    • User completes in-app event 2
      • User completes in-app event 3
  3. User is reattributed to tracker C

With dynamic source, your data will display as:

  • Tracker A: install and event 1 (total: 1 install, 1 event)
  • Tracker B: reattribution and events 2 and 3 (total: 1 reattribution, 2 events)
  • Tracker C: reattribution (total: 1 reattribution)

6How to use attribution source

The attribution source filter is located in the filters sidebar of your deliverables, cost, fraud, and cohorts statistics.

The attribution source filter is always used in conjunction with the attribution status filter. Therefore, the combinations of these two settings display different outcomes and insights.

  First source Dynamic source
Installed Same as dynamic source (unavailable in the Dashboard) Only includes data from users that installed your app and have never been reattributed. Therefore, their dynamic source is the same as their first source.
Reattributed Same as dynamic source (unavailable in the Dashboard) Only includes data from users that have been reattributed. Their in-app activity, including reattributions, are divided between their first source and any reattribution source(s). Each activity is assigned to the user’s attribution source at that time.
Deattributed Only includes data for users that have been deattributed from their first source tracker (i.e., reattributed to a new tracker); all of their in-app activity, including deattributions and reattributions, will remain associated with only their first source tracker. Same as first source (unavailable in the Dashboard)
All Includes data for all users, with all in-app activity attributed only to their first source tracker. Includes data from all users. All in-app activity is allocated amongst the first attribution source and any reattribution sources. Each activity is assigned to the user’s attribution source at that time.

Note: First source data is only available for timeframes after September 1, 2017

7FAQs

7.1What insights can I receive from the attribution source filter?

The attribution source filter creates insights into the origins of users who have been reattributed and offers ways to compare the successes of re-engagement campaigns to those of user acquisition campaigns.

Compare the lifetime value of your users and the cost of user acquisition for their first (install) source

Use the attribution source filter to measure the LTV of your users next to their first (install) source, even while you’re running re-engagement campaigns with high numbers of reattributions. Compare this first source LTV to your UA costs and you can quickly identify how well your advertising budget is being allocated.

  1. In your cohorts view, select All in the attribution status filter and First in the attribution source filter
  2. Select Column Selection
  3. Select either Lifetime Value All Users or Lifetime Value Paying Users
  4. Select OK
  5. Select APPLY

Analyze the effectiveness of your re-engagement campaigns with dynamic source attribution

You can use the attribution source filter to compare the in-app performance of users who returned to your app as a result of re-engagement campaigns (i.e., returning users) against users that came from UA campaigns (i.e., first-time users).

  1. In your cohorts view, select Dynamic in the attribution source filter and Reattributed in the attribution status filter
  2. Select Column Selection
  3. Depending on your interest:
    • Add a revenue KPI, e.g., Revenue Per User
    • Add a retention KPI, e.g, Retention Rate All Users
  4. Select Apply
  5. Note the revenue or retention rate for a re-engagement source throughout the cohort period
  6. Compare this to a UA campaign by selecting Installed in the attribution source filter and looking at the revenue or retention rate for a UA campaign tracker across the same cohort period

7.2Why do I see data for fewer devices when I select first source rather than dynamic source?

Adjust sometimes does not have access to install information for a small fraction of devices. When we lack install information for a device, we will not display any of its associated data in the Dashboard when you select First source. The number of affected devices is generally higher for older apps and apps with high numbers of imported users.