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Lookback Window

Lookback Window Definition

A lookback window refers to the specified timeframe following an advertisement’s click or view, during which an app installation can be credited to that advertisement. This window is pivotal in determining the effectiveness of an ad in prompting a user to download an app.

Attribution Mechanics Explained

Advertisers and attribution providers utilize lookback windows to assess whether a particular ad click or view was instrumental in a user’s decision to install an app. This process is vital for understanding and optimizing ad performance.

Varieties of Lookback Windows

  • Standard 7-Day Window: By default, if a user engages with an ad from Network X and installs the corresponding app within seven days—without interacting with another ad in the interim—Network X is attributed with the installation. Advertisers can often adjust this period to align with their specific attribution requirements.

  • 24-Hour Probabilistic Modeling: In scenarios lacking a device ID (e.g., Google Advertising ID or Apple’s IDFA), probabilistic modeling steps in. This approach, which estimates the likelihood of an ad leading to an install within a 24-hour frame, relies on statistical probabilities and, while not infallible, boasts high accuracy within its limited timeframe.

Attribution Windows of Major Platforms

  • Platforms like Facebook and Google set their attribution windows at 28 and 30 days, respectively, while Twitter offers a default of 1 day for views and 14 days for clicks. Twitter further allows advertisers to select from predetermined windows ranging from 1 to 90 days. These platforms typically operate on a cost-per-click basis, billing advertisers for any engagement within these windows, regardless of the sequence of clicks.

Interaction Between Third-Party Attribution Providers and Self-Reporting Networks

Self-reporting networks differ from their counterparts by not directly reporting each interaction. Instead, they establish a data-sharing agreement with attribution partners. Upon detecting an install, the attribution provider syncs the device ID with the network using a specialized API. This process enables the network to report any ad clicks or views associated with that device ID within the established lookback window.

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