March 3, 2021

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Revenue Attribution on iOS 14 using Conversion Values in F2P Games. (arXiv:2102.08458v2 [cs.CR] UPDATED)

Mobile app developers use paid advertising campaigns to acquire new users,
and they need to know the campaigns’ performance to guide their spending.
Determining the campaign that led to an install requires that the app and
advertising network share an identifier that allows matching ad clicks to
installs. Ad networks use the identifier to build user profiles that help with
targeting and personalization. Modern mobile operating systems have features to
protect the privacy of the user. In Apple’s iOS 14, privacy features are
protective to an extent never seen before. Instead of asking the user to
opt-out of tracking, all apps need to get system permission for tracking
explicitly. If the user does not allow tracking, the identifier for advertisers
(IDFA) required for attributing the installation to the campaign is not shared.
The lack of an identifier for the attribution changes profoundly how user
acquisition campaigns’ performance is measured. For users who do not allow
tracking, there is a new feature that still allows following campaign
performance. The app can set a conversion value for each user, and the
developer can get the number of installs per conversion value for each
campaign. This paper investigates the task of distributing revenue to
advertising campaigns using the conversion values. Our contributions are to
formalize the problem, find the theoretically optimal revenue attribution
scheme for any emph{reasonable} conversion value scheme and show empirical
results on past data of a free-to-play mobile game using different conversion
value schemas.