What is Temporary Attribution?

Temporary attribution refers to a technique used in App analytics to attribute a new install or re-engagement to a specific touchpoint or campaign for a limited period of time.

After a user installs an app, they go through an initial onboarding and engagement cycle. During this time, their behavior is heavily influenced by whatever ad or other touchpoint brought them into the app. So it makes sense to attribute their engagement to that source, at least initially.

Temporary attribution windows typically last 1-7 days. Any events like purchases or signups that occur within that window after install are counted as being driven by the attributed source. After the window expires, installs and events switch to algorithmic attribution models.

How can marketers use temporary attribution?

Here are some of the main ways marketers take advantage of attribution in apps:

  • Evaluate campaign performance – Look at install rates, retention, engagement, and monetization within the attribution window to quickly judge if a campaign is working well. Tweak poorly performing campaigns to improve results.
  • Optimize creatives – Test different ad creatives and text against each other. See which ones generate better temporary attribution conversion rates to identify the best performers.
  • Promote re-engagement – Run retargeting ads to inactive users. Track whether they bring users back and drive engagement within the window to evaluate if campaigns are working.
  • Leverage new feature launches – Temporarily highlight a new feature or content in the app after install. Check whether it drives engagement of that feature within the attribution window.
  • Analyze paid vs. organic – Compare temporary attribution rates for paid installs vs. organic to better understand the value of each and allocate marketing budget accordingly.
  • Inform future marketing – See which campaigns bring in users who stay engaged past the initial window. Focus on ones generating lasting results.

What is temporary attribution in app analytics?

In app analytics platforms, temporary attribution is configured by setting a limited time window after the initial install, during which all engagement is counted towards a specific source.

Here’s how it works:

  • Attribution window is defined – For example, 3 days after installation. This should be informed by typical onboarding funnel durations.
  • Installs are tagged – When a new user downloads the app, the install is tagged with the attributed source, such as an ad campaign ID.
  • Engagement counted to source – During the 3-day window, all events the user performs like signups or purchases are credited to the attributed source.
  • Attribution expires – After day 3, the install leaves the temp attribution window. The user’s future actions are counted using algorithmic attribution that divides credit among many sources.
  • Re-attribution on re-engagement – If the same user comes back after 30 days due to a re-engagement campaign, a new temp attribution window can be triggered with that new source tagged.
  • Attribution Windows customizable – Windows can be customized for each campaign, creative, channel, etc to optimize for typical engagement cycles.

Temporary attribution gives marketers a simple way to analyze the true impact of acquisition sources on app onboarding and engagement. 

By using short time windows, it avoids incorrectly assigning credit for long term organic engagement. This level of granular insight helps drive marketing strategy and planning in today’s sophisticated mobile app environment.


Q1: What is app attribution?

A1: App attribution refers to assigning credit for app conversions or engagement to marketing channels, campaigns, ads, or other touchpoints involved in acquiring users.

Q2: What is attribution in terms of advertising?

A2: Attribution in advertising means determining how much credit to assign different marketing efforts for leading to a desired outcome like a conversion or sale.

Q3: What is expired attribution on Adjust?

A3: Expired attribution on Adjust refers to attribution credit for an install or event expiring after a defined time period when the app is removed from a device.

Q4: What is an example of mobile attribution?

A4: An example of mobile attribution is attributing an in-app purchase to an ad click and engagement with an onboarding flow during the user’s journey.

Orvill Samanta
Orvill Samanta

An app marketer with over 6 years of experience in the tech industry. I have developed a strong passion for apps and love to create engaging and informative content around it. When not talking about marketing, I binge-watch anime series and read comic books. My keen eye for technology has helped me captivate my audience and increase engagement with my work.