As a mobile-app publisher, how to optimize attribution and get more revenue


As a publisher, do you want to understand why you’re not getting credit for all the installs you’re driving for your advertisers? At Jana, we’ve been experimenting with ways to optimize attribution. Optimizing attribution ensures that you’re not wasting impressions for users that won’t generate revenue. In this post, we’ll give you simple tips on how to maximize your attribution.

In mobile-app advertising, it is standard that the publisher that generated the last click before an install gets credit. By getting credit, we mean that, according to the attribution partner, you can charge your advertiser for the user that installed the app. When crediting the publisher, the attribution partner sends a postback, or more specifically, an HTTP POST (basically a message) stating what you need to know about the user. If you’re not credited, you won’t receive anything. Generally, information about events not attributed to you is not available. This is frustrating, especially if you want to obtain information why you didn’t.

Advertisers want new users

We’ve learned through trial and error data mining and conversations with advertisers that, likely, you likely won’t get credited if a user has installed the advertised app more than once. The idea is that advertisers want to pay for new users, so filtering “multiple installs” makes sense in this perspective. The definition of a user is tricky and differs per attribution partner. Here are the main IDs the attribution partner may use to define a user:

  • The device IMEI, a unique ID assigned to a device by the telecom network.
  • The Android ID, a software-generated ID assigned by the Android OS (deprecated in favor of the Google advertising ID).
  • The Google advertising ID, a software-generated ID assigned by the Android OS

There are many other ones that exists depending on the phone network and manufacturer. Make sure you understand those.

You can maximize attribution if you keep track of the history of which “IDs” are associated to your installs to make sure that user with a given “ID” only install an app once. Certain attribution partners can also help you track those. Note that all of those are easily changed by malicious users. So beware. In emerging markets, such as in Indonesia it is common for manufacturers to recycle IMEIs.

You may also notice that you may not get credited as much for users with rooted devices. However, we don’t recommend blocking those in emerging markets since these are common among good users, especially in China. This is a cost you may have to absorb.

Fraud, Fraud, Fraud

App-install fraud is a problem in the industry. At Jana, we have a team of specialists who put measures in place to prevent fraud and ensure only humans download the apps we advertise. Attribution partners attempt at discreditin installs that appear to be coming from bots. We use here the verb “appear” since this is probabilistic in nature. Obvious counter-measures are to block installs with software that detects duplicate IPs, known malicious servers, fraud patterns, and so on. At Jana, we heavily invest in fraud protection in order to provide the most ROI to our advertisers and at the same time optimize our attribution.

Fraud is a tricky problem to solve. For example, users in emerging markets may be sharing Wifi networks, with similar IP addresses, and may be using VPNs in order to access content from abroad. Because of this, you will be discredited for real installs from real users.

At Jana, we solve fun problems every day in order to provide free Internet to the next billion. If you’re interested to work for us, contact us here. If you’re interested in becoming an advertiser, just fill in the form here.


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