What Is Probabilistic Attribution?

What Is Probabilistic Attribution?

Maybe you’re tired of hearing about it as a marketer… but attribution is too important right now to ignore.

Deterministic attribution methods, like Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), Google’s Advertising Identifier (GAID), and cookies, are all coming to an end.

But there are other ways to estimate if you’re getting your ad spend’s worth.

One of those is probabilistic attribution.

If you’re a hardcore media buyer, then you already know what probabilistic attribution is. It’s what some advertising platforms have started using since Apple’s ATT rollout.

But if you don’t, this is a simple overview of what it is.

How does probabilistic attribution work?

This method relies on Machine Learning (ML) to identify conversions that will probably happen. The algorithm collects behavioral data, then matches it with records that already exist.

Since it can’t rely on the unique identifier associated with a device, it uses set probabilities to attribute an action to an ad campaign.

No, it’s not as effective as the deterministic method. But it can still help advertisers determine performance and ROI for their campaigns.

What’s probabilistic attributed used for?

Deterministic device identifiers are usually available in only mobile app environments, so one of the main ways that probabilistic attribution is currently used is in mobile web environments.

And most marketers consider mobile web more important than desktop since most traffic is now on mobile.

For example, this could be a web-based campaign targeting mobile devices. Probabilistic attribution could also be used for tracking email campaigns that users may open on a mobile device.

The ultimate goal of probabilistic attribution is to ensure that advertisers can still determine performance and ROI for their campaigns, due to the phasing out of deterministic identifiers like cookies.

It’s a good idea to get used to using probabilistic attribution, even if it’s just a small part of your tracking for now, to ensure you don’t get left behind if and when deterministic identifiers are no longer a viable option.

Bottom line

While the probabilistic attribution method isn’t 100% accurate, it’s better than guessing. And it’s worth learning how to apply it to your own marketing.

Software Blade

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