What is Fingerprinting?

Device fingerprinting is a technique advertisers use to identify people who have interacted with their adverts. It works by using publicly available characteristics of a device to create a “fingerprint” of the user. This could include device, location and other data relevant to advertisers. This type of metadata is always sent by internet-connected devices when they connect to a web page or a server.

When a user interacts with a mobile advert, the advertiser redirects the user to the app store through a tracking URL and collects publicly available data about the device. Once the install is complete, the advertising SDK checks to see if the user’s fingerprint is visible from the app’s install base – attributing the install to that advertiser if it does appear.

Why is Device Fingerprinting Important?

Although there are methods of tracking advertising that directly attribute a click to an install based on a device ID, these methods do not necessarily work for all mobile marketers looking to track their efforts.

There are two big reasons for this. The first is that not every advertising network can, or does, support integration with advertising identifiers used by major mobile manufacturers (e.g. Apple’s Identifier For Advertisers). This means that marketers and advertisers cannot discern precisely who a user is and whether they download what’s advertised after interacting with an advert.

Second, even if a network does support ID tracking, users can turn the feature off. Although many users don’t do this, the fact that it’s possible means that there is an attribution gap which marketers need to fill.

Device fingerprinting exists to solve this problem. Acting both as a frontline attribution tactic and as a backstop when other methods fail, it’s a useful way for marketers to complete the tracking picture.

Reference: “Adjust,” Retrieved – 23 April 2018