A Deep Dive into Click Through and View Through Attribution Models

A Deep Dive into Click Through and View Through Attribution Models

What is an Attribution Model?

Attribution Models or multi-touch attribution consists of multifarious events and a set of actions that can lead to conversion and sales. These are definite channels, events, or touch points during a buyer’s journey that help them to make a purchase. Touchpoints are classified as Ads, blogs, social media posts, and emails.

These actions result in an ultimate payoff for the user and quantify the influence (assigns a weightage to each customer touchpoint) that an advertising impression has on a consumer. Both Click through and View through Attribution models are time-tested ones and potent in making a significant decision regarding purchasing a product.

Purpose of an Attribution Model

One can gauge the strengths, weaknesses, and loopholes of a marketing campaign by making use of these Attribution Models. One can significantly improve their ROI (Return on Investment) and increase the likelihood of conversions under their belt by employing these models.

Strategies employed in these models enable us to retain old customers and simultaneously allow us to engage with new customers. These models allow us to foray into new and emerging markets and mobilize our brand.

One can also hit their stride by determining which mix of display advertisements, landing pages, and PPC (Pay Per Click) keywords were responsible for generating leads.

With these models, marketing teams can envision a clear picture of a customer's journey from starting purchase to end purchase. Customers can also make deliberate choices of making purchases by viewing these models.

One can easily decipher and make an informed decision about which specific channel, social media campaign, or message has resulted in a turnover and can fine-tune their model based on the final result. One can optimize the buying journey by paring down the time between the first and final click.

Each touchpoint is cardinal right from discovery to final conversion. Every customer touchpoint has an inherent value associated with it and we can't blow off any of these touchpoints. Ignoring any touchpoint can lead to mismanagement of budget and resources. This in turn implies an underinvestment in some of the critical marketing strategies at a given point in time.

These Attribution Models further assist the users in Marketing Automation and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategies. Lead Scoring is one such technique wherein you can assign a value or score to each of your leads, prioritize them and appropriately respond to them. This will also take the leads up a notch wherein they can get converted.

Readily available attribution data assists in CRM activities wherein reporting of data to customers becomes a cinch.

Tips for handling these Attribution Models

If these attribution models are not intertwined with organizational goals, then they can result in a waste of money and resources. Also, it is a data-driven approach and hence this should not put blinders on you. You must not undermine all other touchpoints while hustling toward the last-click attribution.

Pros and Cons of Attribution Models

  1. They are easy to implement and use less amount of data.
  2. Scores of vendors in the market work in liaison to provide a full-funnel experience to users.
  1. They do not deal with immeasurable or non-quantifiable aspects of marketing like traditional means of word of mouth or offline marketing.

View Through Attribution

View through Attribution is riding on Impressions and allows the users to see the ad and thereby install/download the app in a shorter time frame of the attribution window on their smartphones or desktops. This occurs without clicking on the ad. It packs a punch by running a successful user acquisition campaign to ultimately increase your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

A user may make an in-app purchase or initiate a specific transaction by seeing the displayed ad, however, the user makes sure to not click on the seen ad. In this scenario, impressions result in conversions at the user’s end.

By being a watchdog of the viewing activity on an advert and making a comparison of it against the number of installs or purchases within the ambit of the attribution window, one can assess the value of these impression-based ads.

View Through Attribution is a way to track app installs and include all other events that are the direct result of having seen the advertisement. In short, their actions are directly influenced by that ad and are known as “Impression Attribution”. This is not counted as an organic install.

With View Through Attribution, sales for a product may jack up during the given ad campaign or retargeted campaign but viewing an advertisement does not imply a purchase intent as like click to sales.

View Through Attribution is considered to be an important metric in analyzing the customer’s buying journey. This is one of the client's key KPIs (key performance indicators). This way one can enhance brand awareness and make a comparative study of the performance of each ad. It is a framework and barometer for analyzing which marketing channels or touch points should receive credit for a conversion. Although there is no direct conversion appended with a View Through Attribution however some of the memorable advertisements can lead to those indirect View Through Attribution related conversions.

What is a Retargeting Campaign in View Through Attribution Model?

A View Through Attribution Model is a part of retargeting campaign wherein the user sees your advertisement, does not click on it but later comes back to your website whether by an organic search or through a direct way, and thereafter proceeds to complete the conversion action. These users don’t tend to convert right away by seeing the ad but they are someone who has shown a significant interest in your business or brand.

What is an Attribution Window?

The Attribution or Lookback window is the timeframe between the initial impression and the conversion done for the given ad.

Attribution Window of View Through Attribution:

The attribution or lookback window for View Through Attribution is of 24 hrs period and ranges till 30 days after the user has seen the ad. For example, if Joe has seen the ad and he makes an in-app purchase after one year then this cannot be attributed to View Through Attribution. For a View Through Attribution, he has to necessarily purchase within 24 hrs to 30 days time frame.

The more the time difference between an impression and an actual conversion, the less it becomes conspicuous to relate that one specific advertisement (which you have seen sometimes before) to the given conversion. A person does a lot of online activity in between this timeframe and it is also hard to predict with absolute certainty that they will return to your site and convert.

As a result of which, shorter attribution windows are preferable at any time for the most realistic results.

Click Through Attribution

Click Through Attribution comes into effect when a user has seen the ad and has clicked on that ad to make a purchase. This is a fair and square route to engaging a customer with the ad with no inherent intricacies being involved.

When it comes to retargeting campaigns, Click Through Attribution implies a clear indication of an impact of an advertisement on the final sale.

At any stage, the number of clicks stands out more than impressions. It speaks volumes more than that of several impressions. If there has been a conversion with that particular click, then this will be a high point of the user's buying journey as compared to one or more impressions.

Last Click Attribution in the case of Click Through Attribution denotes the touchpoint which the user has last clicked before making a purchase. The last ad clicked by the user before making any purchase or installing/downloading the app relates to a Last Click Attribution. For example, If a user has seen an ad from Vendor A and then the user sees the Ad from Vendor B however, the user clicks on the ad from Vendor B which is promoting the same brand. Also, thereafter the user installs the app then this conversion is the result of Vendor B in its own right.

This type of Attribution is easy to set up and use. However, the usage of this type of attribution has been played down due to inaccuracies and due to not being 100% correct.

Attribution Window for Click-Through Attribution

The industry standard criteria for measuring the impact of a Click Through Attribution window is seven days. This is a pre-defined norm of the lookback window for Click Through Attribution.

How are View Through Attribution and Click Through Attribution Models different from each other?

Both these models are functional and provide fodder to fulfill marketing needs for any affiliate business and technological company. Based on the nature of campaign goals, one can take the plunge of either using the View Through or Click Through Attribution Model.

Click Through Attribution is more subtle than View Through Attribution and presents an incisive view for companies to measure the impact of their ads and one can swear by this attribution model. This does not present a comprehensive and all-inclusive view of all the marketing channels in a user's decision-making journey. This led to an expeditious action unlike the fuzziness of View Through Attribution.

Since with a View Through Attribution, there is no direct linkage between a view on an advert to finally making a purchase hence this lack of clear action such as a tracked click partially covers the attribution gap leaving it a little vague concept in comparison to other approaches.

While View Through Attribution gives out a clear and distinct picture of performance across multiple channels, on the other hand, Click Through Attribution is the first-hand experience of a user with an ad and makes it easier to establish the direct impact of marketing campaigns.

Both of these models serve your disparate reporting needs and choosing which one of these two models is like walking a tightrope. Not one model is self-sufficient to be used alone and must be used in conjunction with the other. This is the only way to analyze the importance of each interaction through the user’s journey.

While Click Through Attribution emphasizes action, View Through Attribution relies heavily on impressions and one must delve into both of these models to pick the right one for their marketing campaign. Marketers who don’t track View Through Attributions in their retargeted campaigns fail to discern which ads and growth partners are driving conversions and installs. This will result in cramping the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns by not giving full visibility about which ads and partners are driving success for your business.

This will also lead to confusion that some of these ads are part of organic traffic while in reality, they are not.

While View Through Attribution is a delayed response to viewing an ad and Click Through Attribution is like acting right out of the gate and insisting on a call to action but that does not mean to snub View Through Attribution. This can result in undermining a specific channel in View Through Attribution and consider it as a less valuable one in terms of driving conversions.

While View Through Attribution is on the backfoot by not interlinking the impression directly with an install. There is always an underlying assumption when establishing the nexus between an impression and eventual conversion.

To boot, there is always a mobile ad fraud associated with a View Through Attribution. To fake an impression is like a walk in the park as compared to the actual clicks on an advertisement.

Fraud Prevention Mechanisms must be in place for a transparent, customizable, and adaptive mechanism. View Through Attribution is a priceless model in itself when it comes to integrating with hundreds of partner ads. It appraises the quality of several ad campaigns and optimizes the performance of ad campaigns. It enables one to decide on budget allocation in a particular channel.

Both these models give you a profound picture of how different marketing channels and touchpoints are working in tandem for better conversion. This illuminates the customer’s buying journey into what is best for your customers and what needs improvement.

You need to be prudent and selective enough in deciding on which attribution model is best for your business. It is a challenge in itself to take your pick out of these two models.


With the phenomenal growth in mobile advertising, there is a dire need for robust, secure, and scalable attribution models that can break the back of jobs and simultaneously cater to the needs of requiring something that can give real-time insight into the efficacy of marketing channels.

With the use of these models, third-party advertisers collect user-level data and thus the use of these models becomes evident to optimize the apps and marketing strategy. These will help marketers to identify how valuable their campaign is and hence the usage of the right attribution model is befitting in these dynamic scenarios.

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