There are two types of events that can lead to an action in display advertising; a click or a view. Conversions attributed to a campaign can be measured by either post click or post view attribution. Generally speaking, most marketers buy into the post-click attribution model, as the default way of working, but many still do not fully buy into the post view attribution model.

Building the case for view attribution

As consumers, many of us still prefer not to click on mobile display ads, with reasons ranging from lack of trust to distracting us from the task at hand. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t register the ad in our minds. That said, instead of clicking, many of us might go directly to the relevant app store to download the app shown in the campaign. Under the post click attribution model, that app install event would not be attributed to the campaign and may even get attributed to some other platform. This is the problem, trying to determine how to attribute specific use cases to a campaign where there was no click but a very high likelihood that a user downloaded an app because they just saw the ad minutes earlier.

At Smadex, we conducted an analysis on a number of campaigns that ran with view attribution turned on and a look back window of 24 hours. As you can see from the histogram below, the data demonstrated a strong correlation between an ad displayed and an app downloaded within two hours. In fact, 95% of downloads were completed within 90 minutes of an ad displayed. From a statistical point of view, the distribution line proves that we should be counting views and not just clicks.  If the downloads shown in the graph were not correlated with ads displayed, the distribution of downloads would be flat (i.e. there would be the same statistical number of downloads over time, independently of when the ads where shown).


View distibution

Better attribution = increased efficiency and effectiveness

Simply counting clicks does not provide a robust measurement platform for marketers to work with. They need data that informs them what channels to market (social, display, search etc.) contribute volume and at what price. The impact of excluding view attribution on average could mean discounting halve of new users and generating a significantly inflated Cost Per Acquisition number – the key metric that marketers use to decide whether an agency/platform is delivering value.


The good news for advertisers is that both Smadex and most independent tracking platforms now support multiple attribution models and these can be set on a per campaign basis. Advertisers can configure the look back window as needed. An important parameter for any campaign in order to compare apples with apples is to ensure that all display partners are running under the same attribution conditions.