Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign is crucial for every mobile marketer. And when it comes to mobile advertising, it is always a matter of attribution.

Attribution is the measurement of user events that result from marketing activity. An event means an app install, a repeat app launch, an in-app purchase etc.

In the desktop dominance age, marketers grew accustomed to the direct attribution of the click rate. Most of what happened online was trackable. Today, increasing numbers of consumers are on their mobile devices 24/7, but mobile attribution is not keeping the pace. It’s not as easy to link online conversions back to the ads that had led to them. Nevertheless, mobile becomes serious business – according to Clickky data mobile advertising budgets have grown by 15% in 2015. So, in 2016, advertisers are going to look for more proof that their money is being spent wisely.

Make it work on mobile

Because of cookie-based tracking, attribution on desktop is simple and proven. It’s easy enough to set up integrated marketing campaigns to find out where visitors come from. But while web-based cookies enable marketers to track performance from online desktop channels, mobile apps don’t support cookies.

To get around this, you may want to include a few of the following items in your mobile ad campaign plans this year:

  • Adopt a cross-device attribution model
  • Integrate additional tactics and services
  • Make the most of your location-based data
  • Deploy new technologies, like beacons
  • Go further: use offline attribution tools

Bridging the divide

To correctly attribute an install to an ad today, several parties have to provide unbiased data to the attribution company. But both Google and Apple basically block attribution firms from tracking the behaviour of users in their respective app marketplaces.

However, 2015 showed that we are bridging the web-to-app divide. Google released Google App Indexing for iOS, which adds information from iOS apps to Google search results. Apple released Universal Links, letting web users in on the app experience without requiring an SDK. It also released new Search APIs to help developers bring users from on-device search back into installed apps.

Still, without a universal method to track campaigns on mobile devices, mobile attribution can be a real headache for marketers. But there are a few practices they should remember to keep up with mobile.

Go cross-device

Consumers use multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously, to engage with brands while they go about their everyday lives. Therefore, to get the most accurate information about your customers’ purchase patterns, incorporate all devices into your attribution model.

Go for more

Mobile payments, coupons or QR codes can be tracked more efficiently. By integrating these tactics, you can generate more success from your marketing spend.

Make the most of the location

Location-based data analysis is an effective tactic for determining the effect of mobile marketing on offline and in-store purchases.

Deploy beacons (if you dare)

Beacons enable even more accurate and precise location identification. These sensors are being used to help link in-store traffic and sales to mobile search ads. Indoors, they can be more accurate than GPS. This is a promising new technology, even if it’s premature for most marketers to embrace. Advances in beacon technology will make it a solution that early adopters incorporate in their 2016 plans.

It is widely expected that the large mobile platforms (Android and iOS) will build beacon support at the operating system level. Deploying the sensors before this is widely available is likely to add to the noise.

Say hi to the offline attribution tools

The booming usage of mobile devices has also led to the increasing number of phone calls. A simple phone number can provide much attribution data. Dynamic number insertion attributes calls from the searched keyword all the way through the journey to purchase.

New environment

The rise of mobile presents an exciting new marketing environment. Thanks to the robust technology, mobile tracking can thrive in a post-cookie world. As it becomes the most important marketing channel, measuring and optimising your app promotion campaigns is no longer a luxury — it’s a must.

At this stage, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for achieving measurement at a scale. Attribution sits in the shadow of Google, Apple and Facebook, and any significant change in the industry will require their blessing. But, by continually testing methods and developing new technologies, we will get closer to an effective solution.