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. Retargeting_-_Flow__2_.png

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. 

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

Retargeting_-_rules__4_.png

Reference—inclusion and exclusion windows 

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

Inclusion windows

Window type Description

View-through 

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

Where configured: Attribution link

Duration:

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

SRN specific remarks:

Retargeting view-through is supported by: DoubleClick and Twitter.

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.

Re-engagement

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 re-engagement window duration is unlimited in time. However, this window comes to an end in the case of a new install, reinstall, or due to data retention limitations. 

Where set: App settings

  • 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 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 windows 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

Duration:

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

Minimum inactivity period

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

Where set: App settings page

Duration:

  • Default: None
  • 0-30 days

SRN remarks: SRNs have specific rules

Re-attribution

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

Retargeting_-_1__1_.png

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

A

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

B

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

C

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

D

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

E

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)

Retargeting_-_1__1_.png

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) 

Retargeting_-_2__1_.png

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
Re-engagement
  1. Go to Settings > App settings, turn on  Enable retargeting attribution.
  2. Per SRN: Go to Integration > Integrated partners, select the SRN. Turn on Re-engagement attribution
  1. Go to Settings > App settings, turn on  Enable retargeting attribution.
  2. Append the retargeting parameter to attribution links.
Re-attribution

Facebook only:

  1. Go to Settings > App settings, turn on  Enable retargeting attribution.
  2. Go to Integration > Integrated partners, select Facebook. Turn on Reinstall attribution.

Other SRNs

  1. Go to Integration > Integrated partners, select the SRN. Turn on Reinstall attribution.
  1. No specific settings required.
  2. Append the retargeting parameter to attribution links.


App setting

Perform this procedure, once per app, to measure re-engagement conversions, Facebook re-attribution, or both. 

To turn on retargeting app retargeting:

  1. In AppsFlyer, go to Configuration > App Settings.
  2. Turn on Enable Retargeting Attribution.
  3. Click Save settings.

Partner setting

To set up a non-SRN retargeting partner:

  1. In AppsFlyer, Go to ConfigurationIntegrated Partners
  2. Select the ad network.
  3. Turn on Enable retargeting settings. For non-SRNs, 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 link 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

RetargetingDashboard_us-en.png

The Retargeting dashboard contains TLV metrics of users who engage with a retargeting campaign open the app (re-engagement) or reinstall the app AKA re-attribute. 

  • The data filters at the top of the Retargeting dashboard are identical to those in the Overview dashboard. If you go back and forth between the pages, the filters persist.
  • Use the filters to select the data that displays. Filters available include media source, geo, and so on. 
  • Advanced search contains additional filters: Campaign names, channels, and agencies.
  • Group By to group the data by any of these dimensions.

Once retargeting attribution is enabled, view retargeting campaign results in the Retargeting dashboard. 

Retargeting headline metrics
Metric SRN Non-SRN Description
Impressions N/A Y  
Clicks N/A Y  
Conversions Y Y Formula: Re-engagements + reattributions
Re-attributions Y Y  
Re-engagements Y Y  
Revenue Y Y  

Retargeting clicks

Breakdown of daily clicks on retargeting links during the specified date range.


Re-engagements vs. re-attributions

Breakdown of daily re-engagements by current users vs. re-attributions by past users, during the specified date range.


Aggregated retargeting report

mceclip0.png

Use the table to compare the performance of media sources, countries, agencies, and channels. You can click on each media source to drill-down to display the campaign-level, ad set level, and single ad level data.

For each row, the number of impressions, clicks, conversions, conversion rate (Conversions / Clicks), revenue, and ARPU display. Currently cost data for retargeting campaigns is not included in aggregated retargeting reports., and therefore the cost, ROI, and eCPI columns are N/A. Cost and ROI data for retargeting campaigns can be found in the unified view of Cohort reports.

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.
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.  Starting February 17, 2021, Probabilistic Modeling is supported in retargeting.

No

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.

Example

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

No
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 

af_viewthrough_lookback={time}

 Example

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

No
Re-engagement window
  • The re-engagement window can be set in the 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 uninstalls 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.

No
Retargeting attribution link parameters

Retargeting view-through lookback period

https://app.appsflyer.com/id123456789?pid=remerge_int&af_dp=mydeeplink%3A%2F%2F&
  clickid={clickid}&af_siteid={publisher}&idfa={device_id_raw}&sha1_idfa={device_id}
  &af_sub1={creative_name}&is_retargeting=true&af_reengagement_window=60d
  

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.
Column 

Description

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 (re-attributions only)

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

Interpretation of raw data reports in the context of retargeting

Additional information

Probabilistic modeling

From February 17, 2021, Probabilistic Modeling is supported in retargeting.  The lookback window used in retargeting Probabilistic Modeling is set dynamically by AppsFlyer and depends on the operating system, Wi-Fi use, and more. 

Verify that clicks sent by server-to-server send the necessary Probabilistic Modeling data

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

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

FAQ

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 a 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.
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