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Traditionally, people-based marketers have been unable to definitively track users who interact with mobile web ads. This has been a major obstacle in their attempt to connect brand touch points occurring across platforms and devices with the real people behind them. Deterministic attribution, which is critical to ensuring a true understanding of the user journey, has been out of reach over mobile web.

Since media partners serving ads in mobile web typically don’t have access to the device ID, attribution has relied on a probabilistic method called fingerprinting, which combines the User Agent and IP address of a device into a non-unique fingerprint profile. While accurate within a short time window from the conversion, fingerprint attribution becomes exponentially less accurate as the time delta between the click and the conversion grows.

IdentityLink’s deterministic attribution eliminates reliance on fingerprinting

The inaccuracy of probabilistic attribution imparts an unwanted margin of error into the measurement data that major brands rely on to inform marketing strategy, which in turn impacts real ad spend dollars.

Further, the imprecise nature of probabilistic fingerprinting has opened the door to fraudsters who use click flooding (a common fraud tactic) to fill the ecosystem with fake clicks that mimic real fingerprint profiles. This flood of bad signal (impression and click data sent) can steal real conversions from their legitimate driving force even though fraud mitigation tools have reduced its impact.

As a result of these obstacles to measuring traffic on mobile web, some major brands have withdrawn from running paid ads in the mobile web space, limiting paid efforts to solely in-app inventory where deterministic attribution is possible.

“Over the past few years, we’ve pulled our ad spend from dozens of networks because probabilistic attribution, which is the only way anyone has been able to measure over mobile web, is inherently susceptible to fraud. Our position has been one of zero tolerance,” said Scott Bauer, Head of User Acquisition, GSN Games. “The addition of deterministic attribution for mobile web from Kochava means we can revisit opportunities with traffic sources in that space. It’s a game changer.”

IdentityLink has historically focused on linking users across devices through a brand’s internal identifiers (eg, CRM, POS, or an internal identifier), giving them visibility into a user’s complete journey across all touchpoints and an understanding of how users interacted with marketing efforts across each device. These latest enhancements will re-open mobile web advertising via deterministic attribution. Marketers can expand their marketing to the mobile web without compromising data quality and precision.

Delivering deterministic attribution for mobile web

IdentityLink uses first-party cookies to link a user’s in-app and mobile web presence on the same device—extending the availability of the deterministic device ID from in-app ads to mobile web ads. This makes it possible to provide deterministic attribution to campaigns run through mobile web channels.

Marketers will now have improved performance visualization and increased conversions on mobile web efforts, which is also the medium through which most non-paid efforts operate. Brands that had previously halted efforts on mobile web, due to measurement hurdles can now revisit this vital advertising medium.

Kochava transacts billions of ad click redirects each month. When a click originates from an in-app placement, the device ID is captured and included with the clickstream. During the redirect through Kochava en route to the app store or other final destination, a first-party cookie, along with the device ID in the clickstream can be dropped into the user’s native mobile web browser. This occurs at scale across the lineup of Kochava Free App Analytics customers as well as Kochava customers that opt-in to IdentityLink.

These cookies are first party and privacy compliant.

When the same user subsequently interacts with an ad on mobile web, IdentityLink can pick up the cookie ID and device ID for attribution. On conversion, the device ID completing the action is deterministically matched to the mobile web ad interaction.

The takeaway

IdentityLink gives marketers confidence that their cross-device measurement data is not only holistic but also precise and accurate. And, it brings them another step closer to understanding the true reach of their marketing campaigns.

“IdentityLink provides marketers with the clearest view yet of their users’ journey,” said Jason Hicks, VP Marketing & Client Partnerships. “Our longtime offering for bridging user activity across platforms is now even more powerful with our latest deterministic matching capabilities extending to mobile web.”

For more information about IdentityLink, click here or Get Started today.