Facebook AMM: How the new measurement changes will impact mobile marketers

By Gadi Eliashiv November 10, 2021

Facebook’s Advanced Mobile Measurement program is officially over.

This means that the granular device-level data you used to receive is going away in favor of more privacy-safe aggregated reporting. Facebook has deprecated Advanced Mobile Measurement (AMM), and now advertisers will only be offered aggregate install measurement from Facebook, not granular data.

Privacy: win.
Marketing measurement: loss.

But there’s good news for marketers as well as users here.

You can still get device-level data for your Android app installs. And, little secret: it’s actually a net positive in a number of different ways. At least if you use an MMP that supports Facebook’s new Google Play​​ Install Referrer solution out of the box right now.
(Which, thankfully, Singular does.)

I wanted to take a moment to share what’s happening, my perspective on it, who this impacts, and how we will continue to be your partner in growth.

And, I wanted to give you all the details on how Facebook’s new Google Play Install Referrer measurement solution solves many of the issues arising from Facebook AMM getting less granular.

What is changing: granular measurement access

As we’ve seen very clearly, 2021 is the year of increased privacy on mobile. The most recent big event here was the launch of iOS 14.5 and the ongoing transition to SKAdNetwork as the primary source of attribution truth for paid iOS app marketing.

As of October 29th, 2021, Facebook is making a change as well: removing device-level data from advertiser view.

In other words, Facebook install measurement information will only be available in aggregated reporting. That means no IDFA on iOS or partial user-level visibility on Android. It means more end-user privacy, of course. And it also means changes for how some mobile marketers run user acquisition and their internal measurement, BI, analytics and machine learning.

Importantly, the data MMPs like Singular receive from Facebook will remain unchanged. We’ll continue to be able to provide data on conversions at an aggregated level. (See below for more).
And there’s even more good news: Google Play Install Referrer access.

Goodbye AMM, hello Google Play Install Referrer

Instead of providing device-level data in the AMM program, Facebook has decided to introduce a Google Play Install Referrer measurement solution.
That works pretty much like an HTTP referrer would on the web:

  •  A user clicks an ad
  • They go to the Play Store and install the app
  • Once they open the app, Singular can see the click metadata and assign it to a Facebook campaign
  • The result is that you get independent device-level performance data on your campaigns

As I mention in this post on the Google Referrer change, there’s some very significant upside here which takes away some of the sting of Facebook AMM going away:

The first obvious win is that advertisers can get back much of the Facebook attribution data that was available to them via the AMM program … this means that a lot of disruption to BI/internal analytics systems can be avoided …
This also opens the door for longer cohorts.
Facebook device-level attributions must be deleted after 180 days …. Google does not provide any clear retention requirements for Install Referrer data, which means we’ll be able to offer longer cohorts (e.g. 365-day) for app users.

What that means for you essentially is more granular data on campaign performance for longer periods, providing improved insight for marketing optimization. Existing user-level postbacks and ETL destinations will automatically contain this data once you configure it in your Singular dashboard, and we’ll maintain the Facebook self-attributing integration so it’s available to compare and contrast.

How you can still do granular analysis

It would be foolish to say that Facebook’s AMM deprecation isn’t a big deal, and doesn’t present some challenges for marketers. But there are two important things to keep in mind when you still want to do granular marketing measurement analysis.

First, as we’ve already mentioned, the Google Play Install Referrer data offers some of the data back that you’ll lose. It’s Android only, sure, but iOS is already gone anyway due to SKAN.

Second, Facebook is offering access to insights from granular data via MMPs, even if not the granular data itself.

As an MMP, Singular still has access to device-level parameters for app install campaigns. Per Facebook policy, the device-level data cannot be shared, but Singular can still process and combine it with your other data sets, at which point we can share these aggregate insights.

As an example, we could run something like user-level LTV predictions, then share aggregated insights back to you at the campaign level.

MMPs like Singular are certified to handle data privately and in accordance with appropriate rules: national, international, and program-based (like Facebook’s MMP program). We are literally audited on our ability to access, ingest, store, and transform this data safely while abiding by the rules. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, Singular will still be able to function as a trusted partner: by our customers on the one hand, and by the world’s marketing platforms on the other hand. The data we will receive from Facebook will remain unchanged.

That’s where the innovation comes in.

Singular has always been the world’s best MMP at ingesting, processing, and combining data from multiple sources. Now that’s simply going to be extended.

You’ll of course always have access to your first-party post-install data: what new users are doing. Singular will have device-level parameters for who installed your app. While combining the two can’t be done in your servers, it can be done in Singular servers. We can’t share the device-level data, but we can share measurement insights derived — at least partially — from it.

That changes the game.

All of a sudden, the MMP you choose must be world-class at ingesting more of your first-party data to combine with the available-but-not-shareable device level marketing results data. And then MMPs need to allow you to build on-platform measurement models and engines that provide predictive insights.

In other words, what matters now is inputs and outputs, and what you do with the outputs to feed your acquisition engines. This is a big part of what we call next-generation marketing measurement.

Now, more than ever before, mobile marketers with scale need an MMP with world-class measurement capabilities as a trusted partner. That means being able to bring in your CRM data, your models, your post-install insights, combining that with device-level data in a private, sandboxed container, and exporting the resulting aggregated insights to you. That likely looks like brands delegating more of what was previously internal measurement to Singular, but the results will be similar.

For instance, LTV prediction has generally been run at the user level, but the results are typically applied at the campaign level. Singular can connect customers’ user-level LTV predictions with the user-level install data and provide aggregated campaign-level insights based on that. This offers high-performance predictions while avoiding user-level data leakage, supporting advanced insights.

This is clearly a change for some, and it may cause some challenges. The good news is that data management and processing is literally a core competency at Singular. We know how to do this. It has been in our DNA since day one. And we’re committed to being your trustworthy measurement partner through this and future changes.

More questions about AMM deprecation?

You’re probably wondering what the impact is and what to do about it. Here are a few thoughts.

1. Facebook campaigns won’t be impacted
The first and most important point: your Facebook campaigns will not be impacted. This won’t harm performance for Facebook campaigns. This may sound trivial but it’s important to highlight: everyone is concerned with user acquisition budgets, uncertainties, and performance.

2. This is primarily an Android platform change
As you know, post iOS 14.5, device-level data is essentially over for mobile marketers on iPhone and iPad.

While it’s true that some double opt-in users who say yes to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) pop up in both Facebook and your app could result in IDFA visibility, the reality is that this is a small percentage of activity. Even so, some have definitely done that, so this change will impact the use of methods leveraging those opted-in users as a survey sample size for the entire population of their app installers. And those will now only be possible via your MMP.

Besides that, however, this is primarily about GAID access.
And it’s a big deal because Facebook is clearly one of the two most important companies on the planet for mobile user acquisition campaigns. Most iOS device-level data is gone, and this change takes a significant bite out of the data mobile marketers thought they still had on Android.

3. But … this is not really an ecosystem change in the same way iOS 14.5 was
iOS 14.5 demanded changes from ad networks, SANs, measurement partners, mobile marketers themselves, and more. There’s almost no part of the mobile marketing environment that wasn’t impacted in some way, and specific ones — like retargeting and granular reporting — were almost terminated.

But with this new change, ad networks are not impacted, Facebook itself has very minimal change to deal with, and MMPs don’t have a heavy lift — at least initially — to support the change.

4. And … this change doesn’t hit everyone equally
If, for instance, you mainly rely on your MMP for reporting and you use data from the Singular dashboard or ingest aggregated data to your internal BI stack, there’s essentially no change. All the insights you depend on to optimize remain, and only having access to aggregated reporting won’t really affect your decision-making capability.

However, for very advanced publishers with big data science teams and sophisticated machine learning models that rely on attributed device-level data, deprecating AMM is a change that requires a paradigm shift.

If your internal measurement dashboards are built on AMM data, they may not work. You will have to look at the Google Play Install Referrer data as a means of getting some of this back.

5. Important: ultimately, we believe this is not just a Facebook event
In all likelihood, we will see other platforms follow the same track.
Today’s privacy implications are the same for every major platform, and while Facebook is leading the change, I fully expect that additional key players will follow suit. Multiple platforms are likely going to change how user-level data is reported and under what conditions advertisers can access it, and so the industry might as well get ready now.

Talk to us

Change can be painful. Please reach out to us to talk through what this will look like, what it will impact, and how you need support from Singular.

We’re always happy to chat, and I’m personally more than happy to take some time and walk through the implications for you.

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