How to pick an MMP in 2023, with Matej Lancaric

By John Koetsier February 6, 2023

How do you pick an MMP in 2023? Are there major differences between MMPs? Do you even need a mobile measurement partner in the age of SKAN and (soon) Privacy Sandbox on Android? I recently chatted with UA expert and consultant Matej Lancaric about the evolving role of MMPs and things to look for when you need one.

First off, the reasons to get an MMP haven’t really changed in the last few years.

“You need to have an MMP to be able to diversify user acquisition,” Matej says. “If you want to run UA campaigns outside of Facebook and Google … you want to start Unity, you want to start AppLovin, even TikTok, you need an attribution link. And then, obviously, you need to be able to actually evaluate the different UA channels.”

(Here’s a fairly full list of 17 items that covers most of what an MMP does, plus a checklist of things to look for.)

Each marketing channel is different

Each UA channel is different, with different quality of traffic, different audiences, different retention profiles, and different LTV curves, Lancaric says. An MMP helps you evaluate each one for your unique app and customize the best marketing mix to maximize your marketing dollars. And while it used to be the case that new apps only used 1 or 2 marketing channels in the first months of marketing, he says that’s not true anymore.

“Time has changed, and due to quality fluctuations and benchmarking purposes, it’s necessary to introduce more networks early in the retention stage,” Lancaric wrote in a recent post on who needs a mobile measurement partner, and how to pick an MMP.

Picking an MMP early is increasingly necessary in the age of SKAdNetwork, where we’re about to transition from SKAN 3 to SKAN 4. SKAN is complicated, and version 4 is tougher to understand, implement, and optimize than version 3. An MMP like Singular offers tools to build your conversion models — and even automatically optimize them — and then presents the resulting data as simpler, aggregated, actionable insight.

That’s important for small teams with limited dedicated data science and BI teams. But it’s also important for larger teams with more complex revenue models.

Top-notch SKAN support is critical when you pick an MMP

“What is really important for me is to be able to set up a conversion schema that allows you to track IAP revenue and also ad revenue in 1 conversion schema,” Lancaric says. “That’s really critical for me at least, because I work with games that have in-app revenue and ads revenue and sometimes it’s 70-30 skewed towards in-app, but when it’s 50-50, that’s when the magic happens.”

A strong SKAdNetwork implementation is critical, but poor model creation and limited subsequent data collection makes modern user acquisition on iOS almost impossible: advertising optimization requires accurate data.

LTV predictions based on the first 24 hours of data points is a basic requirement, and you can’t get that data in sufficient detail from the UA channels themselves.

Speaking of SKAN, how many mobile marketers really understand how to set it up, run it, and optimize campaigns based on it?

“Maybe 30%, maybe even a lower percentage are actually able to understand what’s happening,” Lancaric says. “And sometimes even I don’t know what, I don’t understand … SKAN 4.0 is gonna be a lot of fun.”

The challenge, of course, if you can’t figure out SKAN is that you end up shifting ad budget to Android where you still have GAID for a limited time. That sounds good at first, but there’s a problem. There are twice as many app downloads on Android as on iOS globally, which is encouraging, but a huge percentage of the actual in-app revenue is on iOS, thanks to its prominence in richer countries. In Q1 2022, that was $1.80 spent on iOS for every $1 spent on Android according to In Q3 it was even more tilted to iOS with almost two thirds of all in-app purchases happening on iPhone — $21.2 billion vs $10.4 billion — according to SensorTower.

Unless you only monetize via ads, and you don’t mind joining more app publishers chasing less revenue on Android, no-one wants to miss out on the rich opportunities on iOS.

That means understanding SKAN — or at least working with an MMP that does — is critical.

(As an FYI, Singular was the first MMP to support SKAdNetwork, the first MMP to release open source reference code for SKAdNetwork, the first MMP to release a SKAN 4 compatible SDK, and the first MMP to report SKAN 4 postbacks

See our SKAN 4 strategy guide here.)

Price matters when you pick an MMP

But it isn’t just about capability and features. They matter, they’re critical, and you can’t drive optimal results without them, but price also matters.

“I’m looking at pricing always,” Lancaric says. “You mentioned smaller teams, so that’s really, really important for a lot of companies … some companies just can’t afford to pay $25K a month for an MMP.”

Part of the pricing equation is whether everything is included or everything is additional, such as different packages to see spend, mitigate fraud, manage spikes in downloads and revenue, or add reporting capability. The worst thing for any team — especially in smaller companies — is to hear that there’s a $5,000 overage for the month which is now due.

Hidden costs, Lancaric says, are one of the biggest red flags to be aware of when you pick an MMP, meaning it’s one of the key questions to ask in the buying process.

Finally, a key part to consider when you pick an MMP is to be aware that we’re in a transition. The industry is moving from deterministic device identifiers that drove traffic and cohort valuation based on last-click attribution to modeled versions of reality based on privacy-safe indicators such as SKAN, Privacy Sandbox, first-party data, in-app activity, and cost and campaign data

Much of which can be used in media mix modeling

“We are already halfway to the times when you can’t really measure everything very precisely,” Lancaric says. “So it’s gonna be very much skewed towards the blended approach: trying to build some LTV predictions and being able to run incrementality tests.”

That’s a critical piece of the next decade of marketing measurement. I like to call it building up “truthiness” by adding bits and pieces of data from various sources and modeling what is no longer visible while double-checking your models based on first-party in-app data. Singular CEO Gadi Eliashive calls it hybrid measurement and the future of marketing analytics.

As always, there’s much more in our full conversation. Check out the full video or podcast for all the insights.

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