Mobile App Terminology

Lookback window

What is a lookback window?

A lookback window is the period of time after which an ad is viewed or clicked that a conversion can be attributed to the ad. Lookback windows, also referred to as attribution windows, allow marketers to determine which ads resulted in a conversion during the specified time frame.

The most common lookback window is seven days, but one or three days are not uncommon, as is a period of a month. A conversion that happens a year after viewing an ad, however, will be outside of any standard conversion window.

What are the uses of lookback windows?

Lookback windows are a key part of conversion tracking and help marketers determine which ads are driving their desired conversions, for example installing an app, making a purchase, signing up for a subscription, and so on. Advertisers use lookback windows to determine if their ads are successful as they determined the timeframe within which you will connect the initial ad click or view to the eventual conversion.

As DemandJump highlights, there are several types of standard lookback windows, including:

  • 7-day standard: 7 days is the default lookback window for most attribution providers. This means means that if someone clicks your ad and converts within a 7-day window, the ad they clicked will be given credit for the conversion
  • 24-hour fingerprinting attribution: 24-hour fingerprinting is a shorter-term solution that uses publicly available data, such as the device, operating system, and so to create a digital “fingerprint” that is used for attribution. Fingerprinting is much more accurate for shorter time horizons, which is why these are typically set for a 24-hour lookback period.

Aside from these two standard lookback windows, the major ad networks such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter all have their own attribution periods. For example Facebook offers a 28-day attribution window, Google provides a 30-day window, and Twitter provides a 14-day window for click engagements.

The reason that marketers use lookback windows is that it helps to determine which ads are most profitable during a certain time period. With this data in hand, marketers can better allocate their budgets to their most profitable channels and ads. As CollectiveMeasures writes:

Applying the proper lookback window to your social campaigns allows you to accurately measure campaign performance, see which strategies are working, and adjust accordingly.

Need better measurement of your ad spend?

Learn how Singular’s mobile attribution platform can help

How Singular facilitates lookback windows?

As a leader in marketing analytics and mobile attribution, Singular helps marketers accurately determine their most profitable marketing channels and allocate budgets more efficiently. 

The lookback window is a setting that determines the timeframe that Singular searches for a touchpoint that led to an app install (or re-engagement) event. Since not all ad clicks result in an immediate conversion, marketers use the lookback window to provide attribution within a reasonable timeframe. If there are no ad clicks during the attribution window, the install is deemed organic, meaning that it occurred on the user’s own initiative rather than as a result of an ad.

In summary, Singular helps marketers improve the ROI of their marketing efforts by providing accurate attribution data within the given lookback window.

Related Terms

Related Articles

Related Terms

Stay up to date on the latest happenings in digital marketing