Retargeting attribution guide

At a glance: Retargeting (remarketing) campaigns motivate users to open and re-engage with the app or cause users who deleted the app to reinstall it. 

Retargeting fundamentals

Retargeting attribution occurs when a user engages with a retargeting campaign by clicking on a retargeting attribution link or deep link. This results in one of the following attribution events: 

  • Re-engagement: If the app is on the device, the media source motivating the user to open the app is credited with a re-engagement. 
  • Re-attribution (AKA retargeting reinstall): If the app is not on the user device (meaning the user uninstalled the app), then engaging with the retargeting campaign causes the user to reinstall and open the app. If this happens during a re-attribution window: the retargeting media source is credited with the re-attribution. Related reading: Reinstalls.

Before running retargeting campaigns, review the re-engagement rules and example cases in the sections that follow, then set up retargeting as described in the retargeting procedures section. For ease of understanding, you should be familiar with the AppsFlyer attribution model and the associated attribution windows. 


Want to know more about retargeting? Check out this short, informative course on the AppsFlyer Learning Portal.

Re-engagement rules and windows

  • Retargeting attribution rules determine if an event is a retargeting event and attributed to the retargeting media source. 
  • Similar to user acquisition attribution campaigns, SRN retargeting re-engagements are reported by API and those of non-SRNs by attribution link.
  • The rules, based on the user journey, consist of :
  • If a re-engagement is attributed, in-app events for the duration of the re-engagement window are double attributed. This means it's attributed to both the retargeting media source and to the original UA media source, if known. 

The diagram that follows contains the set of re-engagement rules. Use it as a guide to determine if an interaction with a retargeting campaign will be attributed as a re-engagement. 

Re-engagement rules

Reference—inclusion and exclusion windows 

The tables that follow contain reference information related to windows related to retargeting attribution.

Inclusion windows

Window type Description


The maximum duration from the time the user views an ad until they open an app. 

Where configured: Attribution link


  • Default: 1 day
  • Range: 1-23 hours/1-7 days

Click lookback

The maximum duration from the time a user clicks on an ad until they open an app. 

Where configured: Attribution link

Duration :

  • Default: 7 days
  • Range: 1-23 hours/1-30 days

SRN remarks: Check with the SRN what their specific lookback window policy is.


Consider the following in regards to the re-engagement window:

  • The window begins when the user opens the app for the first time after engaging with the retargeting media source.
  • In-app events are double attributed to the retargeting and user acquisition media sources for the duration of the window
  • Window duration is determined by the app setting or by the SRN.
  • If the user engages with another retargeting campaign during the re-engagement window, that is not blocked by an exclusion window, the current re-engagement window ends immediately and a new re-engagement window begins. 
  • In the context of a re-attribution: The attribution window duration is unlimited in time (similar to installs). However, this window ends in the case of a new install, reinstall, or due to data retention limitations.

Where set: Attribution link

  • Default: 30 days
  • Range: 1-23 hour/1-90 days/lifetime

SRN remarks: Configurable for SRNs

If you change the window setting, the change impacts re-engagements going forward. It has no impact on existing re-engagements.

Exclusion windows

Window type Description

Minimum time between re-engagement conversions

Don't record a re-engagement during the exclusion window.

Minimum time between re-engagement conversions 

  • On re-engagement, a window during which in-app events are attributed to both the retargeting (primary) and UA (non-primary) campaigns is opened.
  • This enables the measurement of retargeting campaign performance.
  • If another network or campaign brings a re-engagement during this window:
    • [Default] the existing re-engagement window is closed, another re-engagement recorded, and subsequent in-app events are attributed to the most recent re-engagement. 
    • To prevent this, set the Minimum time between re-engagement conversions. In this case, only after the minimum elapsed time can a further re-engagement be recorded.
  • This setting has no impact in cases where the re-engagement window is shorter than the duration of this setting. Example: If the re-engagement window is 1 day, and this setting is 4 days then this setting has no impact whatsoever. 
  • These settings do not affect the duration between install and re-engagement. 

Where set: App settings page


  • Default: None
  • Range: 1-23 hours/1-30 days

Minimum inactivity period

Don't record a re-engagement or re-attribution during the exclusion window.

Where set: Integrated partners settings page in the Integration tab.


  • Default: None
  • 0-30 days

SRN remarks: Consider that SRNs usually have their own inactivity period rules. If your setting differs from that of the SRN this can cause discrepancies. 


The re-attribution window impacts re-attributions but not re-engagements.

Users reinstalling during the re-attribution window after engaging with a retargeting campaign are attributed to the retargeting media sources. Related reading: Reinstalls

Where set: App settings

Example flow implementing the rules

Re-engagement rules checklist for click-through and view-through attribution:

Rule Rule


The user engaged with a retargeting campaign, meaning the user viewed or clicked on an ad defined as a retargeting ad.


The engagement occurred during a click-lookback or view-through window.


The user was inactive for longer than the minimum inactivity period.


In the case of in-app events, they take place during the re-engagement window.


The period between the previous re-engagement is greater than the minimum time between re-engagements. 

Example retargeting scenarios

Scenario 1: Purchases before, during, and after the re-engagement window

User journey:

  • Engage with an ad from network Z, install the app, and make a purchase (A).
  • Engage with a retargeting ad from network Y, open the app, and make a purchase (B).
  • Make a purchase (C).

P/S column: Primary or Secondary described in double attribution of retargeting events

Scenario 2: Multiple conversions during the re-engagement attribution window

User journey:

  • Engage with an ad from network Z, install the app, and make a purchase (A).
  • Engage with a retargeting ad from network Y, open the app, and make a purchase (B).
  • Make a purchase (C). 

P/S column: Primary or Secondary described in double attribution of retargeting events

Retargeting operations

Retargeting settings

The following settings are required depending on the scenario.

Conversion type  SRN Non-SRN
  1. Go to Configuration > App settings.
  2. Verify that Re-engagement attribution is on. 
  3. Per SRN: Go to Configuration > Active integrations, select the SRN.
  4. Turn on Re-engagement attribution.
  1. Go to Configuration > App settings.
  2.  Verify that Re-engagement attribution is on. 
  3. Per non-SRN: Append the retargeting parameter to attribution links as detailed in this section
  1. Go to Configuration > Active integrations, select the SRN.
  2. Turn on Reinstall attribution.
  1. No explicit settings required.
  2. Append the retargeting parameter to attribution links as detailed in this section. 

Non-SRN settings

To set up an ad network (non-SRN) retargeting partner:

  1. In AppsFlyer, Go to ConfigurationActive Integrations
  2. Select the ad network.
  3. Turn on Enable retargeting settings. This modifies the attribution link to a retargeting URL, by appending is_retargeting=true to the link. 

  4. Select one of the following:
    • Use a standard attribution link for single-platform (app-specific) links.
    • Use OneLink
      • Enter a Deep link URL, if needed (see Deep linking guide).
  5. Copy the URL generated and give it to the ad network to use with your retargeting campaign.
    Note: The URL does not persist and can't be saved. 

Retargeting dashboard

The Overview dashboard contains retargeting metrics as well as user acquisition metrics. The metrics are LTV based and relate to users who engage with a retargeting campaign.

To view retargeting data:

  1. In AppsFlyer, go to Dashboards > Overview.
  2. Click View type, then select Retargeting.
    Retargeting data displays.
    Note! You can also view retargeting data in the unified view. See Dashboard view types

Retargeting attribution links

  • Retargeting links are similar to regular user acquisition links.
  • Create them for:
    • Non-SRNs that support retargeting.
    • Owned media, using the link management page.

Retargeting attribution link parameters

Parameter Descriptions Required
is_retargeting Set to: is_retargeting=true Yes
Advertising ID

Where possible send an advertising ID like IDFA, OAID, IDFV, and so on. Probabilistic Modeling limitations for iOS apps.


Retargeting click lookback-window

  • The retargeting click lookback window works like that of user acquisition campaigns.
  • It defines the maximum period that can elapse between a user clicking on an ad until the user is attributed.
  • The lookback window is set using the using &af_click_lookback parameter.
  • The default setting is 7 days.


To set a 14-day click-through lookback window, add the following to the retargeting campaign's attribution link: &af_click_lookback=14d

Retargeting view-through lookback timer
  • The retargeting view-through lookback window works like that of user acquisition campaigns.
  • It defines the maximum period that can elapse after a user views an ad until the user is attributed.
  • The default is 1 day.
  • The lookback window is set using 



To set a 5-hour view-through lookback window, add the following to the retargeting campaign's attribution link: &af_viewthrough_lookback=5h

Re-engagement window
  • The re-engagement window can be set in the attribution link user interface. This sets the af_reengagement_window parameter on to the attribution link. The parameter can be added manually.
  • The default is 30 days. 
  • The following re-engagement window values are available:
  • Hours:1- 23 hours
  • Days: 1-90 days
  • Lifetime: Persists until the user either uninstall or performs another re-engagement, for example, af_reengagement_window=lifetime

For example, af_reengagement_window=60d means that events reported within 60 days of the re-engagement are attributed to the retargeting media source.


Retargeting view-through lookback period

Retargeting reports and raw data

  • Retargeting reports, similar to the UA aggregate and raw data reports, are available using the reporting tools.
  • Retargeting in-app events and sessions are double attributed. 

Retargeting conversions report

  • The Retargeting conversions report contains raw data of re-engagements and re-attributions.
  • Some fields have a different meaning in the context of retargeting to those used in user acquisition reports.

Interpretation of raw data reports in the context of retargeting



Event name

  • Field population depends on the report type.
  • In-app event reports: The in-app event name.
  • Retargeting conversion reports: re-engagement or re-attribution. Note! In the case of Data Locker values are as follows:
    • install means re-attribution
    • retargeting means re-engagement

Attributed touch type

Engagement type:

  • Click
  • Impression

Attributed touch time

Retargeting engagement time

Install time

The first app launch after the re-engagement or re-attribution.

Event time

The time the event occurred

AppsFlyer ID

  • Re-attributions: A new AppsFlyer ID
  • Re-engagement: Remains unchanged

Is retargeting

TRUE for retargeting conversions and events

Is primary attribution

TRUE for retargeting conversions and events

Retargeting conversion type

This field will be deprecated in the future (date to be announced.) Use conversion_type and campaign_type to determine the context of the conversion. 

  • Re-engagement
  • Re-attribution

Conversion type

The type of conversion:

  • Install
  • Reinstall (1)
  • Re-engagement
  • Unknown (2)

(1) If conversion_type= reinstall and campaign_type=retargeting is equivalent to retargeting_conversion_type=re-attribution

(2) In-app events/sessions not attributed to any media source.

Campaign type

The source bringing the user:

  • UA
  • Organic
  • Retargeting
  • Unknown

Attribution lookback

Retargeting click-through lookback window

Original URL

Contains one of the following: 

  • Retargeting link
  • Deep linking data
  • Empty for SRNs

Contributor fields

Unavailable for re-engagements

Additional information

Probabilistic modeling

From February 17, 2021, Probabilistic Modeling is supported in retargeting. In the case of iOS 14.5+ limitations apply. The lookback window used in retargeting Probabilistic Modeling is set dynamically by AppsFlyer and depends on the operating system. 

Verify that clicks sent include the necessary Probabilistic Modeling parameters

App requirements

To run retargeting campaigns the app must meet the following minimum requirements.

  • iOS
    • In addition to the standard AppsFlyer SDK integration, you must add additional code to the app delegate, see the SDK Integration article (attribution links section). 
    • For iOS 9, Universal Link App Open code must be implemented. Universal links with iOS 9.

  • Android:

    • If the deep link opens an activity other than the main activity, see the SDK Integration article (attribution links section). 

Retargeting limitations

  • Starting February 17, 2021, retargeting supports Probabilistic Modeling.
  • Campaign cost data for retargeting is available in Overview and Cohort dashboards and reports in the unified view.


Retargeting clicks: 

  • Retargeting clicks include retargeted users engaging with an AppsFlyer attribution link.
  • Clicks from SRNs or from push notifications are not included in the count.
  • Some clicks result in new installs which are attributed as user acquisition. This happens when non-users, or past users after the expiry of the re-attribution window, engage with a retargeting link and install.

When is the attributed touch time identical to the install time?

  • When users of universal links, or Android app links, perform deep linking, they are directed into the app without going through AppsFlyer first.
  • When the app launches and the SDK reports a new re-engagement, AppsFlyer reproduces the click data using the same timestamp of the launch. This makes engagement and launch time identical.