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About Attribution

What is Attribution?

Attribution is an important way to help measure the results of your ads. 

When you advertise on different media sources at the same time without attribution, it’s difficult to know where your conversions come from, and you won’t be able to evaluate the performance of your ads and media sources.

To evaluate your ad performance on TikTok Ads Manager, you can use third-party tracking software that provides attribution services. While it is possible to do the attribution on your own, we recommend you use third-party tracking software to set it up. Please refer to Available Third-party Tracking on TikTok Ads Manager for configuration details.

Note: That evaluating attribution applies only to app install ads on TikTok Ads Manager.

When a user views an ad and takes further actions such as downloading, activating or making an in-app purchase within a certain period of time, the third-party tracking service records and traces back to where these actions came from and then post back the data to TikTok Ads Manager. 

Actions such as viewing and clicking are regarded as results of the ad that occur during delivery, while app conversion can take place later on. Your attribution settings on your third-party tracking service will determine how the conversion data from TikTok ads is recorded.

The following information is applicable to advertisers using third-party tracking services.

Attribution Logic

All third-party tracking services that TikTok Ads Manager cooperate with use "Last Click Attribution", which attributes the conversion to the media source where the last click occurred.

Click-through Attribution: When a user views your ad on any placement under TikTok Ads Manager and clicks on it right before installing and activating the app (the last click before install). This conversion will be attributed to TikTok Ads as long as the user installs and activates the app during the set attribution window.

View-through Attribution: When a user views your ad on any TikTok Ads placement and doesn't click - so long as the user installs and activates your promoted app during the attribution window you set, the conversion will be attributed to the view that occurred on the TikTok Ads placement.

Attribution Window: The attribution window refers to the period of time where eligible conversions led by viewing or clicking can be claimed. You can customize the ad attribution window on your third-party tracking software, and only actions during that time frame will be attributed to the ad placement. We recommend the click-through attribution window to be 7 days, and the view-through attribution window to be 1 day. Installations and activations beyond the attribution window are considered organic actions and will not be attributed to TikTok Ads.

The logic of click-through attribution overrules the logic of view-through attribution. Only when a click is not found during the attribution window will view-attribution be taken into consideration. When a user views and clicks on an ad during the attribution window, the third-party software attributes the conversion to the click.

For example, a user sees your ad but doesn’t click. Then the user goes to the app store, installs and activates your app during the attribution window. This is considered a view-through attribution. However, if a user sees your ad and clicks but doesn't install and activate your app, then while still in your attribution window, installs and activates your app 3 days later. This is considered click-through attribution.


Q: Why does an ad group conversion rate exceed 100%?

A: This is related to the attribution window you set. When a user clicks on the ad for the first time and does not immediately install the app, but the app is activated during the attribution window, the conversion is recorded when the activation event occurs.

For example, a user clicked on the ad on January 1 and did not install and activate until January 3. The third-party tracking platform marked January 3 as the activation time and post back this data to TikTok Ads. So, you may see that the ad clicks are less than conversions on that day. Clicks and conversions in the same timeframe don’t necessarily have a positive correlation.

Q: What is the main difference between TikTok Ads Manager and other platforms in terms of attribution methods?

A: With the billing event of CPC and oCPC, the attribution method of TikTok Ads is based on the time the app is activated. The time the app is activated is not completely consistent with the click or billing time. The activation data will not be changed after the calendar day ends.

Whereas on other platforms, the time the app is activated is consistent with the click and billing time, and the activation data of your app may still increase during the attribution window after the calendar day ends. This difference is caused by different attribution methods.

For example, a user clicked on the ad on January 1st, but installed and activated on January 3. TikTok Ads Manager will record the click and billing time as January 1st, yet time of conversion and conversion cost on January 3rd. The number of activations will not change after January 3. Other platforms may record clicks and billings on January 1st, and the conversion occurred on January 3rd will also be recorded on January 1, so the activation number and activation cost on January 1st will change during the attribution window.