What is view-through attribution?
Also known as impression tracking, view-through attribution refers to attributing conversion, such as an app install, to a preceding ad view. Since many people will simply view an ad and not necessarily click it, view-through attribution allows you to still credit a particular ad campaign with a conversion. The core concept of view-through attribution is that ad impressions make a causal contribution to an eventual conversion, even if the person never clicked on the ad.
Uses of view-through attribution
View-through attribution is used by advertisers to attribute impressions to app installs within a given window, typically between 24 hours and seven days. If a company is testing impression-based ads to increase brand awareness instead of to drive traffic, for example, view-through attribution can be used to compare the performance of each ad creative, targeting, or channel.
View-through attribution (VTA) is similar to another popular attribution model: click-through attribution (CTA). The difference between the two attribution methods is based on whether the advertiser wants to measure their campaign performance from an ad impression or from a click. Typically, mobile marketers will use both VTA and CTA together in order to get a more complete view of ad effectiveness and their return on ad spend (ROAS). As Mobvista highlights, a popular use case of using both VTA and CTA is in the context of video ads, which can be difficult to attribute accurately:
One of the challenges with the huge increase in video ads is that there isn’t a perfect way to measure their effectiveness. However, a combination of CTA and VTA can be used to give a pretty accurate picture.
When used together, CTA can measure installs that come as a direct result of viewing the video ad and acting immediately on the call to action that is part of the advert. Then, VTA can be used with an appropriate time window – typically a few days – to measure installs and clicks that are a delayed result of viewing the video ad.
The goal of view-through attribution is to provide advertisers more visibility into the ads and channels that are driving conversions and installs. If an advertiser ignores VTA and only uses CTA, they may be falsely assuming that a marketing channel or ad isn’t valuable in terms of driving conversions. For example, if a particular channel is showing 100 installs a day using click-through attribution and 200 installs when you activate view-through attribution, this provides a much more complete picture about the impact of that channel. Furthermore, without using VTA the additional 100 installs may have incorrectly been attributed to organic traffic, when in fact they resulted from users viewing your ads.
It’s important to note that VTA can have several drawbacks. If the attribution window is too long, for example 30 days, VTA may overstate the importance of the initial impression leading to the conversion. (Realistically: how long do you remember ads that you’ve seen in a mobile app or on a website?)
Another drawback of VTA is that there is no way to directly connect the impression to the eventual install. Without a clear user action, such as a click, the connection between the impression and the conversion is assumed. That may be a good assumption, but still: it’s an assumption.
As with other attribution models, mobile ad fraud is still an issue with view-through attribution. Since it can be slightly easier to fake an impression compared to a click, Singular recommends that advertisers have a mobile ad fraud detection and prevention solution in place such as we provide.
How Singular helps you use VTA
View-through attribution is an invaluable measurement metric for evaluating and optimizing the performance of ad campaigns. Alongside other mobile attribution methods, Singular supports view-through attribution for hundreds of integrations with partners including Facebook ads and Google Ads.
In the context of Facebook ads, tracking view-through as part of your mobile app attribution and measurement enables advertisers to make smarter decisions about budget allocation, ad creative, and more. With view-through on Facebook, the last ad impression is credited with the conversion if there are no previous or subsequent ad clicks that can be attributed to the install. By default, Singular tracks view-through attribution on a 1-day window. It’s important to note that view-through attribution does not affect the reporting of overall Facebook media costs for CPM or CPC campaigns. Instead, view-through provides advertisers a more complete picture of their Facebook ad performance and ROAS.
In the context of Google Ads, Singular provides tracking for both click-through and view-through campaigns. As noted in our help center, “Google Ads’ view-through attributions are based on MRC definition of viewability and are only available for Youtube and Display networks.”
Finally, in order to combat mobile ad fraud with VTA or any other attribution method, Singular’s Fraud Prevention solution takes a proactive approach to blocking fraudulent activity that is customizable, transparent, and adaptive.
In summary, using view-through attribution alongside other attribution techniques provides marketers with a more accurate measurement for evaluating the performance of ad creative and channels. With this data, advertisers are able to scale and optimize budgets more intelligently.