What is View-Through Attribution (VTA) and Why is it Needed to Advertise on Many DSPs?

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Understanding the nuances of digital advertising is essential for maximizing ROI. One such nuance is View-Through Attribution (VTA), a metric that has revolutionized the way advertisers measure the impact of their ads. This blog dives deep into VTA and why it's a game-changer for advertising on various Demand Side Platforms (DSPs).

What is View-Through Attribution (VTA)?

View-Through Attribution (VTA) is a metric used to credit an ad impression that didn't result in an immediate click but influenced a later conversion. In simple terms, VTA helps advertisers measure the impact of users seeing their ads and then converting without directly clicking on them.

Why is VTA Important for DSPs?

90% of sales attribution on DSPs are based on clicks. However, focusing solely on clicks can be misleading. Many advertising platforms, like Snapchat or TikTok, often generate high impressions but fewer clicks. This doesn't necessarily mean they are ineffective channels. VTA provides a more comprehensive view of an ad's influence, ensuring that advertisers understand the full impact of their campaigns.

How Does VTA Differ from Traditional Click-Through Attribution?

While click-through attribution credits conversions to direct clicks on ads, VTA credits conversions to users who viewed the ad but didn't immediately click. It recognizes the value of visibility and brand awareness, essential for platforms where users engage differently.

Why is Brand Advertising Often Done via CPM?

Cost Per Mille (CPM) refers to the cost an advertiser pays for a thousand views or impressions of an ad. Most brand advertising opts for CPM because brand campaigns aim to maximize visibility and awareness rather than immediate conversions. VTA is crucial here, as it helps correlate this visibility to eventual conversions, proving the effectiveness of brand campaigns.

How Does VTA Influence Marketing Budget Allocation?

Without VTA, advertisers risk misinterpreting which channels or placements are effective. For instance, they might undervalue a channel with high impressions but low clicks, leading to potentially misguided marketing budget decisions. VTA offers a clearer picture, ensuring more efficient and effective budget allocation.

Are There Any Concerns or Limitations with VTA?

While VTA offers invaluable insights, it's crucial to set appropriate attribution windows. Too long a window might incorrectly attribute organic conversions to ad impressions, while too short a window might miss out on genuine influenced conversions. Advertisers should customize VTA windows based on their specific audience and platform dynamics.

The Underlying Truth About VTA Windows

One of the critical aspects of VTA is understanding the 'window of actual impact.' VTA doesn't replace or undermine Last-Click Attribution (LCA); instead, they work in tandem. For instance, the last measured impression will receive credit for an install or event only if no click was detected within its attribution window. However, a common pitfall is the rapid adoption of a "standard" VTA window. The industry often sets VTA attribution windows at 24 hours, but in many cases, this window should be shorter to avoid inaccuracies. If the window is too extensive, advertisers risk cannibalizing organic activity, meaning app events that might not result from viewing the ad.

Tailoring VTA to Brand Awareness and Creative Type

Two primary factors influence the effectiveness of VTA over time: The app's brand awareness and the type of creative used in the ad. For most apps, VTA analysis typically shows the highest number of installs or in-app events within the initial hours after the ad is viewed. After this peak, there's a decline in attributed events. Apps with more substantial brand recognition and a consistent influx of users will exhibit a less sharp drop-off. On the other hand, video ads, due to their engaging nature, have shown a more gradual drop-off in VTA compared to display ads. This is because video ads offer a more

The Impact of Impression Fraud on VTA and Why It Matters

Impression fraud, commonly known as display fraud, is a growing concern in the mobile advertising industry. At its core, impression fraud involves creating the illusion that an ad was viewed, even when it wasn't. It targets CPM (Cost Per Mille) and video view campaigns specifically, and the intention behind this fraudulent activity is clear: the more impressions these criminals can simulate, the more revenue they can generate.

Unpacking Impression Fraud Tactics

Several tactics are commonly associated with impression fraud:

  • Pixel stuffing: This involves cramming an entire ad into a single pixel, making it invisible to the human eye but still counting as a view.
  • Pop-unders: These are ads that pop up under the current browser window, often going unnoticed by the user.
  • Ad stacking: Here, multiple ads are stacked on top of one another in a single ad slot. Only the top ad is visible, but all ads in the stack register as viewed.

Such fraudulent impressions often emanate from seemingly legitimate apps, automated bots, and unscrupulous publishers.

Detecting and Guarding Against Impression Fraud

Detecting impression fraud involves vigilant monitoring. Advertisers should look out for media sources, campaigns, or even specific geographies with a high number of impressions but low click rates and poor install and retention rates. Working with an agency with experience in monitoring and avoiding impression fraud is a powerful countermeasure.

Rethinking VTA in the Face of Impression Fraud

Given the rise of impression fraud, some advertisers have become skeptical about the efficacy of VTA. However, abandoning VTA entirely might not be the best course of action. Instead, advertisers should focus on partnering with trusted advertising agencies or platforms that have robust fraud detection and prevention mechanisms in place. While impression fraud presents challenges, VTA remains a valuable tool for understanding ad performance and user behavior. By working with reputable partners, advertisers can continue to leverage the insights VTA offers while minimizing the risk of fraud.

Aligning Interests for Transparent VTA Implementation

The future of VTA lies in customization and alignment of interests. Advertisers should collaborate closely with their DSPs to ensure that the chosen VTA window reflects the genuine influence of their ads and doesn't inflate numbers. By tailoring VTA windows for each app and ensuring consistent measurement across supply partners, advertisers can gain more accurate insights. The industry is evolving, and as more stakeholders recognize the nuances of VTA, there's hope for more transparent and effective advertising practices.View-Through Attribution (VTA) has reshaped the digital advertising landscape, ensuring that advertisers get a holistic view of their ad's performance across platforms. By understanding and leveraging VTA, advertisers can make informed decisions, optimize their campaigns, and achieve better ROI.


The utility of View-Through Attribution (VTA) is maximized when integrated with other key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, combining VTA with metrics like Cost Per Install (CPI) can offer advertisers a more complete understanding of the user journey. This data-rich approach allows advertisers to pinpoint exactly how much value is derived from their ad impressions, even if those impressions don't lead to immediate clicks. To understand how to calculate CPI, visit our comprehensive guide on how to calculate Cost Per Install (CPI).


A/B testing plays a vital role in fine-tuning your VTA strategy. By creating two different versions of an ad and measuring their performance, advertisers can gain actionable insights into which creative elements—be it text, image, or video—contribute to higher VTA rates. This level of detail can significantly inform future campaigns and contribute to more effective ad spend. For tips on optimizing your ad campaigns, you might find our article on 15 steps towards optimizing your ad campaigns for maximum impact useful.


Post-conversion user behavior can also provide valuable insights. Understanding how users engage with your app after being influenced by an ad impression can help in refining your retargeting strategies. Are they spending in the app? How often do they return? These metrics help in calculating user lifetime value (LTV) and average revenue per user (ARPU), which are critical for measuring the long-term success of an ad campaign. For an in-depth understanding, refer to our guides on how to calculate user lifetime value (LTV) and how to calculate average revenue per user (ARPU).


With increasing emphasis on user privacy, especially with initiatives like Apple’s SKAdNetwork, advertisers need to be cautious. SKAdNetwork limits the granularity of data available for attribution, affecting the precision of VTA metrics. Advertisers must adapt to these privacy-centric changes without compromising the integrity of their attribution models. Learn more about how SKAdNetwork impacts advertising in our article on SKAdNetwork: Apple’s privacy-first advertising solution for iOS.


The advertising landscape is continuously evolving with the rise of new platforms and technologies. As users divide their time across multiple devices—from smartphones to smart TVs—it becomes increasingly challenging to track the full user journey. Cross-platform VTA is emerging as a solution, allowing advertisers to attribute conversions back to impressions served on different devices. This provides a more holistic view of how advertising impacts user behavior across various touchpoints. To stay updated on the latest trends, read our article on top trends in digital marketing for 2023.Understanding and effectively implementing VTA can lead to more nuanced marketing strategies, enabling advertisers to optimize their campaigns for better ROI. By integrating VTA with other metrics, employing A/B testing, and adapting to new privacy norms, advertisers can continue to gain valuable insights into user behavior and the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.

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