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Are You Buying Back Users You Already Acquired?

By April 18, 2022August 18th, 2022Education, News & Updates 10 Min Read

Your MMP’s install deduplication handling could be damaging your bottom line

Nobody likes hidden fees or unwanted surprises, marketers included. Nonetheless, there’s a hidden cost that may be lurking just under your radar depending on how your mobile measurement partner (MMP) handles app install deduplication outside of your mobile app data retention window. 

To set the stage, let’s imagine a scenario where you acquire a new user and pay a cost-per-install (CPI) bounty to an ad network for driving that app install. Now, suppose that the user goes dormant for a period of time before returning to your app, or the user uninstalls and later reinstalls your app. Once the user is back in action, your MMP registers that activity as a new install, potentially attributes it to paid media, and you pay CPI yet again. Multiply this by a magnitude of hundreds or thousands and you can see how the costs of such a scenario would quickly add up. 

While there are certain seasonal apps where marketing teams intentionally drive and pay for repeat user acquisition, this shouldn’t be the universal norm. Yet many app marketers may be surprised by how short their MMP’s install deduplication window is and what that means for their buyback rate. 

What is a buyback rate?

Your buyback rate is the percentage of previously acquired users for which you pay repeat acquisition costs (e.g., CPI) due to a churn period or a lapse in user engagement that exceeds your install deduplication window.

What is install deduplication?

Install deduplication directly impacts your buyback rate, and is the process of preventing repeat acquisition attribution for an app’s existing users who (a) uninstall and reinstall the app or (b) re-engage with the app after a long period of dormancy. Proper deduplication is only achieved via data retention of the device identifiers from the original app install payload for that same device and user.

How install deduplication impacts the buyback rate

A recent analysis for a leading, high-engagement mobile game publisher uncovered buyback rates as high as 30% when install deduplication was capped at 90 days. The buyback rate decreased to 25% at 180 days deduplication, 15% at 365 days, and 5% at the 2 year mark.

Are You Buying Back Users You Already Acquired?

While other MMPs vary on their install deduplication protocols, Kochava, by default, provides “LIFETIME” install deduplication regardless of your chosen data retention window. As such, whether your preferred data retention is 90 days, 180 days or longer, Kochava retains the secure transaction record for all of your historical app installs in perpetuity. What this means is that you never pay to acquire the same user device twice. 

Are You Buying Back Users You Already Acquired?

For marketers with seasonal apps who do want to re-attribute seasonal installs after a certain period of time, Kochava provides a configurable install reprocessing lookback feature. At the app level, marketers can set this lookback window to anywhere between 1-365 days. Outside of the chosen window, Kochava will not deduplicate app installs based on the original app install record. 

Find out your buyback rate

To ensure you’re not paying for unwanted costs flying under the radar, ask your MMP what their install deduplication process is for your apps and account. Find out exactly how long they retain the original install record for deduping, and use the charts and diagram above as a good approximation for the buyback rate you can expect. 

If you’re not a seasonal app and you never want to pay for the same user twice (unless you’re purposefully reengaging them), ask your MMP to give you lifetime install deduplication. If they tell you they can’t do that, or they try to nickel-and-dime you for it with added fees and increased data retention costs, reach out to our team here at Kochava. We don’t believe in charging you extra just so you don’t have to pay for the same users again and again. 


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