How TikTok’s new EVTA metric changes the attribution game

Author: Steffen Meyer, Mobile Marketing Content Specialist

Attribution tracking is crucial for the success of your app marketing campaign, as it determines which strategies lead to app installs. Without it, you’re left guessing about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

However, the industry is moves further and further away from the last-click attribution model, which credited the final interaction before an install. Major platforms like Google and Meta already introduced the „engaged view“ approach, and now TikTok has followed suit. 

While there are benefits that come along with it, it is important to understand what’s happening here, so that you don’t draw the wrong conclusions from reported data.

What’s an engaged view?

Some users may see a video ad but only decide later to finally download your app. But common attribution methods don’t capture this customer journey and give you a wrong impression of which marketing efforts proved most effective.

Tiktok reports that 79% of purchases driven by the social media network are not captured through common attribution methods. As a result, TikTok conversions are allegedly undervalued by as much as 73%.

This shortfall led to TikTok introducing the new metric “engaged view-through attribution” (EVTA): If a user views an ad for six seconds or more but doesn’t click on it, TikTok will track this user for the duration of the attribution window, which can be up to seven days. If the user converts within this timeframe via a different source, TikTok will count it as an EVTA.

The rationale behind this approach is that the ad likely made the user aware of the product and nudged them further down the customer journey, contributing to the final decision to install the app

What are the consequences?

This additional data brings two main benefits:

  • You gain better insights of Tiktok’s impact on your business because you receive more detailed metrics
  • TikTok’s ad manager can optimize the performance of your campaigns more effectively as it can evaluate a larger set of data

The data itself is collected and sent by Tiktok’s own Self-Attributing Network (SAN) which was launched in September 2023. As with other SANs, this means your Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) doesn’t have direct access to the data, but you have to trust the network on the numbers.

However, Tiktok claims that “unlike the industry-standard SAN integration, which largely ignores MMP’s attribution, our approach includes MMP-validated conversions.”

Though you have to be aware that if you opt to enable EVTA, your Click-on through attribution (CTA) will likely increase because TikTok currently reports these as Click-through (CTA) conversions. And this is not the only change that may suddenly boost your TikTok numbers.

What else to look out for?

The Social Network also expanded its “Clicks (All)” metric. It now covers likes, shares, comments, follows, exploring related hashtags, and checking the music. All these actions fall now under the Click-Trough Attribution CTA as well. If you want to distinguish these clicks from clicks on your links, you need to look at the “Clicks (Destination)” metric.

So you shouldn’t be surprised that the social network recommends to “turn on VTA, EVTA and CTA with the maximum attribution window”, which will likely inflate your CTA, since every like, comment or six-second-view will count towards CTA – and the larger the attribution window, the more likely it is.  

While TikTok ads’ engagement may contribute to the final install, summarizing all interactions as CTA seem overly broad and potentially misleading. When utilizing these new metrics, it’s crucial to also consider other data sources for a balanced view. 

Additionally, check out our blogpost on how to customise the MMP according to your needs and get our Marketing Master Map for free, so you keep an overview of your overall marketing strategy.

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