Personalizing your fraud prevention strategy with Singular’s custom fraud rules

Mobile ad fraud is an ever-growing threat to marketers, with fraudsters continuously evolving attack techniques. The exact figures for how much ad fraud costs marketers is highly debated, but eMarketer’s Digital Ad Fraud 2019 states that the estimated impact ranges from $6.5 – $19 billion annually.

To navigate this complex problem and effectively prevent ad fraud, marketers need to have an understanding of the techniques used by fraudsters and employ an always-on fraud prevention strategy that proactively rejects fraud. Otherwise, ad fraud can be detrimental to marketers in two key ways: one is the wasted ad dollars on installs that are either fake or hijacked, and the other is dirty data that is inaccurately skewed towards fraudulent networks instead of high-value networks or organic traffic.

Fraud prevention that adapts and reacts

Singular’s industry-leading Fraud Prevention Suite is built and maintained by a highly-skilled set of scientists that are dedicated to staying one step ahead of ad fraudsters and their attack methods. The Fraud Prevention Suite provides a proactive approach to detecting and combating ad fraud at scale.

Singular’s fraud prevention dashboard

With Singular’s rules-based fraud prevention, marketers can automatically apply deterministic rules in real-time to block installs before they are attributed to a fraudulent ad partner, or flag activity that is suspicious for further investigation. Automatic fraud rejection gives marketers peace of mind from knowing their ad dollars are always protected and eliminates the need to spend time reconciling ad network invoices.

Singular’s Fraud Prevention Suite not only comes pre-packaged with industry-leading Fraud Prevention Rules but also offers marketers the flexibility to define their own rules, what we call Custom Fraud Rules.

Personalizing with Custom Fraud Rules

With Singular’s Custom Fraud Rules, marketers can personalize their fraud prevention strategy to meet their brand or apps unique needs. For example, they may want to have a more aggressive approach to combating fraud if they’re advertising in markets that are more susceptible to ad fraud, or even if they’re testing new networks, each with varying levels of fraud.

Marketers can create Custom Fraud Rules by defining the conditions and rules that trigger automatic rejection of attributions or flagging of suspicious activity. The flexible rule builder allows the marketer to define multiple conditions that need to be set for the rule to trigger on a touchpoint, enabling them to implement a variety of personalized fraud-fighting rules.

Some examples of Custom Fraud Rules marketers have implemented include:

  • Publisher Blacklisting
    Select specific sites to blacklist from your campaigns. While you will also want to confirm your site blacklists directly with your partner, this rule gives you the power to reject traffic that comes from unreliable or underperforming sites.
  • Fingerprinted Traffic Whitelist
    Define and whitelist traffic sources that are trusted enough to send fingerprinted installs. Automatically reject or flag fingerprinted installs from install sources that are less reliable.
  • Block Unauthorized Store Installs
    Most Android apps are only published on the official Google Play Store. Automatically reject Android installs that came from an unauthorized store.

The flexibility of the Fraud Prevention Suite also allows you to add additional fraud checkpoints. These rules take known characteristics of your apps and campaigns, and allow you to quickly filter out traffic that doesn’t meet your standards.

  • Country Mismatch
    Use this rule to automatically reject or flag installs that take place in a country that your campaigns are not targeting.
  • App Version
    As you update your app version, it becomes impossible for new users to click and install deprecated versions. Fraudsters can struggle to update their attack to include the newest app version from the traffic they send, so blocking deprecated app versions can eliminate a source of fraud.
  • Time-to-install
    When the amount of time between an ad click and the resulting install is unusually small, it can be a sign that the install was hijacked by fraudsters. Similarly, when the time between a click and an install is too long, click spamming might be taking place. Set a custom time-to-install threshold based on the size and usage of your app to automatically reject or flag installs with unrealistically short or long install times.

Savvy marketers from top brands are already taking advantage of this personalized approach to fraud protection, which is paying off in significant cost savings.

Recently, a leading e-commerce app in the APAC region implemented a rule to prevent non-approved publishers and sites from sending fingerprinted traffic. After implementing the rule, 16% of the traffic sent from these sources was automatically flagged and rejected.

Another client, a global giant of gaming, set their iOS receipt validation rule on. When testing a new source, they found that 100% of the 11,000 installs were flagged and rejected for fraud. An additional benefit: no make-good negotiation was required … since the fraud prevention did not allow these installs to be attributed!

When fraud strikes, the marketers that leverage Singular’s Fraud Prevention strike back with high-tech fraud detection and prevention. But this is just the beginning. We’re dedicated to further innovating our Fraud Prevention to keep up with the changing face of ad fraud.

Want to see how much you could be saving with next-level fraud prevention?Reach out to your Customer Success Manager for a complimentary fraud audit.

Jam City optimizes campaign performance and creative strategy with Singular

We got to sit down with Jam City’s VP of User Acquisition Marketing, Brian Sapp, to discuss how his team is using Singular to optimize campaign performance and improve their creative strategy. Watch our discussion on Jam City’s use of campaign analytics below!




My name is Brian Sapp. I’m the VP of UA (User Acquisition) Marketing at Jam CityJam City is one of the leading mobile casual gaming developers in the West. We have a fairly large portfolio of games. Some of our tentpole games are Cookie Jam and Panda Pop. But recently we launched Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, [and] that game has been a big success.

Connecting fragmented marketing data

Singular right now we use to ingest data from all of our ad networks and as you can imagine, when we spend with over 40 networks, that’s a lot of data. The manpower it would take to go into each network and pull in that API, do the work, or pull it in manually, would be extremely time-consuming.

Singular solves that for us, solves it in a much faster time, and more efficiently than we could do it ourselves. And then, having that data in the dashboard, especially for someone like me who’s spending across 8-10 titles, we have a massive portfolio, the dashboard really gives us the ability to easily pivot that data whether it be by spend, by channel, by paid installs, by tracker installs, impressions, it’s very, very useful, as well as creative. Having all of the data, especially creative data, plus images, plus the data behind the creative, in one dashboard is extremely valuable for us.

Aligning with Creative Product Marketing

So we actually have a team called Creative Product Marketing that focused on our creative roadmap/creative strategy and they’re using Singular to look at our performance by game, by channel, and right now it’s the fastest, easiest way we have to do that across all the different data sources.

Next-level Performance Analytics

Singular collects a lot of the ad network data for us and we’re using that to look at CPI by campaign, CPI by geo, paid performance, scale, spend, organics versus paid installs. And so we’re also ingesting data from our attribution partner which allows us to kind of marry the two, and so we get very granular on Singular’s reporting for whatever questions we have.

I use it for executive reports, building massive pivot charts, visuals that I want to see across the portfolio. The combination of our internal tools plus Singular really gives me everything I need.

Ready to take your growth marketing to the next level? Let’s connect!

How to scale user acquisition from $100 to $250,000/day

Have you ever scaled mobile user acquisition from $100/day to $250,000/day?

I’m guessing very, very, very few people can say yes to that question. Maybe fewer than 1,000 on the entire planet. So if you’re trying to grow — and grow aggressively — it makes a lot of sense to listen to someone who can answer with a yes.

Last week our CEO Gadi Eliashiv shared two articles by’s Dave Riggs in one of Singular’s Slack channels. In them, Riggs talks from personal experience about the tech marketers need when they start scaling user acquisition for hyper-growth.

The most important point?

World-class measurement: something that our very best clients (and the best marketers in the world) whole-heartedly agree with.

The key differentiator between okay UA, good UA, and great UA comes down to data and measurement. Invest in it. The very best UA teams have sophisticated technology setups that allow them to slice and dice any data by any segment imaginable.

– Dave Riggs

That starts with an MMP, Riggs says: a mobile measurement platform. But it extends far beyond just an MMP. To do a world-class job of scaling user acquisition, you need five critical components in your marketing technology stack, he says.

  1. Attribution (an MMP)
  2. A cost data solution (could be same as #1)
  3. A database/data warehouse
  4. A BI platform
  5. A real-time visualization tool

Obviously, Singular plays in both slot #1 and slot #2. And Riggs has some high praise for Singular:

If you want a provider that offers both cost and attribution tracking, I recommend Singular. There’s nothing better.

– Dave Riggs

That’s pretty exciting for us to see here at Singular. But even more exciting are the reasons Riggs provides:

  1. Extreme accuracy
  2. “Far more network integrations than competitors”
  3. All your tracking in one place
  4. No gaps in reporting

Those are great reasons. Even greater, however, is how scaling user acquisition successfully at such extremes feels when you have the right tools: safe.

Let me repeat that: safe.

This is extremely important. After all, you’ve gone from $100/day, or $36,500/year to an almost unimaginable $250,000/day. If you kept your foot on the gas pedal all year at that rate — unlikely unless you’re achieving the most rarified heights of mobile success — that’s an astounding $91.25 million/year.

Some of Singular’s clients spend twice that. And more.

Feeling safe at such extremes of spending is almost more important than words can convey. (And actually being safe is even more critical.) Mistakes at this kind of spend velocity run into the millions of dollars very quickly.

So how do you scale your user acquisition spend 2,500 times? With the right technology … including Singular.

And how does that make you feel?

Picture it.

An expanse of open road appears before you. You accelerate and feel yourself pulled deeper into the plush leather. Your heart beats faster. Meanwhile, you appreciate the sweet complexity and design that holds you in perfect equilibrium, while the world around you flies past at breakneck speed. Thanks to world-class engineering, you know you’re perfectly safe, even as you accelerate. You’re blaring your horn and laughing like Cruella DeVil, as you ride up on the shoulder, leaving all the basic and intermediate fools in your dust.

– Dave Riggs

If you need that feeling today, let’s talk. Contact us, or request a demo. You deserve to feel safe. And if you need more info, here are the links to Dave’s articlesagain.

N3TWORK optimizes marketing spend and aligns internal teams with Singular [Video]

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Nebojsa Radovic, Director of Performance Marketing at N3TWORK, to talk about how his team is leveraging Singular’s Marketing Intelligence Platform to optimize marketing spend and align their internal teams with a single source of truth for marketing performance. Check out our discussion below!



Hi, my name is Nebojsa Radovic, but most people in the industry know me as Nebo. I’m a Director of Performance Marketing at a company called N3TWORK, which is the developer behind Legendary Game of Heroes.

How Singular fits in N3TWORK’s growth stack

We’re currently using Singular pretty much as our marketing stack. We’re using [Singular] as both an attribution and cost aggregation partner. We’re getting spend data from our ad partners and at the same time, we’re getting user-level data that tells us where the installs are coming from.

The importance of granular performance insights

Singular was very important for us simply because it unlocked certain opportunities that we were not having before. Think about optimizing at the publisher and creative level, combining those two, and trying to spend more dollars in the places where it makes sense. Without that data, it’s pretty much impossible to extrapolate manually and figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Let’s say if you’re trying to scale your spending from $100,000 a month to $10 million a month. You really need very granular, accurate data that comes in on time… When you’re spending a few thousand dollars a day, maybe you don’t need granular data. But if you’re trying to scale the spend across different channels and different geos you really need accurate and granular data to be able to do that. So thank you Singular!

Aligning internal teams with a single source of truth

Singular helped us a lot with aligning the Finance team with the User Acquisition team. And within the User Acquisition team, we have a media buying team, data analytics team and marketing creative [team]. All four teams, Finance and the three sub-teams of the marketing team are looking closely into the Singular data and trying to understand how to do their jobs better.

In particular, Finance is estimating what the spend is at the end of the month or week, whatever is that time period we’re looking at, and they’re estimating what the payback windows are going to be and the financial health of the company at a very high level. At the same time on the User Acquisition side, we’re just trying to make better buy decisions by using Singular data. This is crucial to do this job successfully.

Ready to take your growth marketing to the next level? Let’s connect!

Singular & Segment: New partnership integration allowing for frictionless customer onboarding

I’m extremely happy to announce that Singular is now an official integration partner of Segment.

Segment is a customer data platform that many companies use to collect and action their customers’ data. When new relevant data comes from any source that a publisher has connected to Segment, they can now push real-time data streams from Segment to Singular.

That could include information such as customer purchases and revenue, mobile events like push notifications, or custom events that developers define for themselves.

Integration: easier than easy?

The integration also enables Segment customers to immediately adopt Singular attribution with almost zero migration effort.

Using Singular attribution is the best way to measure ROI from the campaign level all the way down to the creative level. It also allows you to benefit from Singular’s fraud protection and audience management solutions to boost and optimize your marketing.

The new integration capability is server-to-server, which means that mobile app developers do not need to add code or Singular’s SDK to their mobile apps. In other words, it can be instantly available.

That’s critically important to many customers because it means no switching costs and no engineering work. Not having to put an extra SDK in your app can also help slim down your install size, shield you from security and privacy concerns, and make your app more stable.

Capabilities: what can you do?

What can Singular customers do with this integration?

In just one example, advertisers can now receive real-time data about purchases that mobile users make via other platforms. That allows Singular to combine this data with details about customer acquisition cost, marketing campaigns, and ad creatives to provide continually updated ROI and customer acquisition cost data for customers, campaigns, and ads.

In much the same way, brands can track results from push notifications such as opens, actions taken after opening, and determine both cost and return of messaging.

And, of course, brands can attribute mobile app installs using Singular’s industry-leading attribution, fraud detection, and audience management tools.

Singular: first mobile attribution company

Singular is one of the first partners for this new integration program, and we couldn’t be happier to offer it to our customers.

For Singular, this is yet another way for us to unify accurate marketing data from an important partner in the mobile ecosystem, which gives marketers more visibility into what they’re doing, and what impact it is driving.

“Our goal at Segment is to allow our customer to quickly and painlessly connect all their data,” says Segment CTO Calvin French-Owen. “Singular is the first mobile attribution company to custom-build their integration using our Developer Center, and we expect great results for Segment customers and Singular customers.”

We’re very happy to be the first to offer this new integration method and are looking forward to ensuring our customers have a successful and simple integration.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact your customer success manager.

Or, if you’re not a Singular customer yet, talk to us about getting a demo.

Mobile attribution webinar: Your Top 27 ‘No BS’ questions answered

We know, it’s sad. You missed our mobile attribution webinar last week. We missed you too!

But we have a solution. Two of them, in fact.

First, if you missed our “No BS Mobile Attribution Webinar” last week, it is still available on-demand. We had fun doing the webinar, and we think you’ll enjoy listening to it as well. But second, if you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, it might be faster to read the answers we provided here.

First, a quick recap: content & speakers

Mobile attribution can be confusing, and it can seem pretty detailed and technical sometimes. That’s why we hosted the attribution webinar with friends from Vungle and Liftoff. And we had three experts, who are also providing the answers you see here …

Barbara Mighdoll
Senior Director of Marketing

David Bennett
Sales Engineer

Rina Matsumoto
Performance Optimization Lead, US

OK. The mobile attribution webinar questions (and answers)

1) What is mobile attribution?

Rina: Mobile attribution is the way mobile marketers understand from which marketing channels their app users are acquired.

It’s incredibly important to know which traffic sources are bringing not only users but high LTV users into your app. This will allow you to invest your marketing budget in the right sources.

2) From Andrew at Flipboard: “Can you please touch on challenges and capabilities for tracking attribution from a mobile app?”

Barbara: Well, this is a fairly broad question that could be taken in so many directions, and since we are just starting the discussion I’ll keep this high-level.

Mobile attribution at the core is the bridging together of advertising and mobile technologies. The challenge to attribution is being able to keep up with this constantly evolving technology, and I’ll also add the constantly evolving ecosystem threats like fraud. However, when done right, the insights from mobile attribution allow marketers to execute and evaluate their mobile marketing campaigns with proper app conversion metrics.

2) What are tracking links? How do they work?

David: There are multiple types of tracking links, impression tracking links and click tracking links. These links are used to gather data around what partners are driving impressions and clicks for you. They also allow us to track what users are downloading your app after seeing an ad.

This helps you assign attribution.

The tracking links also help us route users to the App Store, the Google Play store, or other app marketplaces. In the case of re-engagement or retargeting campaigns they can also be setup to route users directly to your app. In general, they make data collection for digital marketing possible.

As for how they work, they send information to your MMP when impressions are shown or when ads are clicked. The information that they send contains device data as well as a few other key pieces of information. Since they contain device data it allows you to track when users are installing your app because of your advertising efforts and what actions they are taking in your app because of your advertising efforts.

3) What is deep-linking? Why does it matter?

David: Deep-linking is a technology that allows you to link to your app directly from your ads [editor’s note: whether in an app or on the mobile web]. For re-engagement campaigns this means a smoother user experience.

This is important because it allows you to minimize the number of steps that your users have to complete in order to reach the desired event. This usually leads to better performance and increased ROI.

Barbara: Just to add a quick comment here, I think this technology has become a pretty standard part of an attribution stack, and because of that most users now expect when they click on an ad with a particular CTA, the app will open in the correct location.

3) What are postbacks? Should I be getting them?

Rina: Postbacks are the way networks receive in-app data from clients, whether that’s installs or post-install events like in-app purchase or tutorial completion.

These postbacks will be key depending on your network’s buying model or optimization methodology. So it’s important to consult your network partners on what postbacks they’ll be needing.

David: This enables you to share user behavior with your advertising partners.

4) What is a SAN?

David: Self attributing networks such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter inform your attribution partners which installs and actions they drove.

5) What is granularity? Why do marketers need granularity?

Barbara: Granularity describes how deep a marketer is able to analyze their data.

For example, basic granularity usually includes drilling down to the app & source level, while sophisticated marketers are able to go deeper into the campaign, publisher, keyword and even creative levels. With this level of detail, marketers can decide when they should shift budget. They also can better inform how to spend their time optimizing – and know exactly where to optimize.

Advanced marketers who have been able to achieve scale and see massive growth are the ones who are able to optimize at deep levels of granularity. For example, as part of our Marketing Intelligence Platform we offer creative reporting where we are able to pull in your ad creative so you can easily match your data to your ads.

One of our customers who started utilizing these creative level insights saw ROI increase 40% within 2 months.

Rina: I agree with Barbara. Granularity helps you understand what types of users were acquired and how they were acquired. Are these users from iOS 11? Were they acquired from a specific type of creative?

It’ll also help in investigating any issues with discrepancies and potential campaign or fraud issues, by being able to drill down to specific parameters.

6) Why do marketers need to combine customer-level mobile attribution data and campaign-level marketing data?

Barbara: This is a great question, and one that we address frequently because the complexity of this is often misunderstood.

Before I jump into the why marketers need to combine this data, I first want to touch on why combining it is even a challenge.

Marketing data is only available in aggregate like ad spend, while attribution data is available at the user-level like app installs. By nature, aggregate and user-level data do not fit together – it’s like trying to assemble a puzzle with pieces from different sets.

This means that marketer’s datasets are often left incomplete and inaccurate. Left this way, marketers do not have the ability to dig into granular levels of insights. And this is a core problem Singular solves – we redefined how attribution data matches campaign data with the experience we’ve acquired over 4 years of mapping this ecosystem.

So to answer why marketers need to combine these two datasets, the answer is pretty simple: to unlock ROI at granular levels like the campaign, publisher, keyword and creative-levels.

Rina: User level data are data points like device type, OS version, and country. Campaign level data are data points like publisher and creative information. Only once you marry this data do you have a full understanding of your marketing campaigns.

7) Can I see where ad networks are running my ads? If so, how?

Rina: At Vungle, we try to provide as much transparency to our advertisers as possible. We share publisher site names with all of our clients to give full transparency into their campaigns.

This transparency allows advertisers to better understand their user base and buy more intelligently on our platform.

8) What are the most critical reporting needs in mobile attribution?

Barbara: First of all, discrepancy and transparency are critical. No matter how your attribution provider is getting install and cost data (i.e. via API or tracking links), there are bound to be discrepancies between your provider and your ad networks. Being able to analyze these discrepancies is extremely valuable to avoid making decisions based on incorrect data.

Shameless plug:
One of the advantages of using Singular, is we allow you to compare data sets side by side without having to toggle between dashboards. And using our transparency feature, marketers can select their preferred source for each metric, then easily locate discrepancies in their data, while even setting-up alerts when discrepancies exceed a threshold.

In addition, ROI (return on investment) is the single most important metric for mobile marketers. However, most attribution providers are only able to provide ROI insights at the source level because they are unable to reliably match cost and campaign data with user level data. True ROI data empowers you to optimize your advertising by the quality of users it’s driving, instead of just install and revenue data. It’s also a must-have if you want to scale your programs while maintaining or even improving efficiencies.

David: In my experience at Liftoff, when there are some discrepancies in between different reports the first two places that we would look are fraud and tracking issues. If the discrepancy is due to fraud we revamp what we are doing and work hard to protect our customers.

If the discrepancy is caused by tracking issues we work with our customers and their attribution providers to get tracking functioning as expected.

9) What kinds of ad fraud are most common? How can I avoid them?

Barbara: Today there are two main forms of fraud: fake users and attribution manipulation. Fake users involves bots, malware and install farms to emulate clicks, installs and in-app events, causing advertisers to pay for activity that is not completed by a real user.

Attribution manipulation is an especially dangerous form of fraud since it not only costs marketers their spend but also corrupts performance data, causing marketers to make misguided acquisition decisions. The two most common types are click injection and click spamming.

David: Click fraud is a major form of fraud that we are seeing right now. It can be anything from click farming to click spamming to click injection to ad stacking. These types of fraud are meant to drive a high number of clicks, reduce the CPC of a campaign and possibly steal attribution from users that could convert organically.

Another example of fraud would be install-fraud through something like install farming or click spamming to steal install credit. These types of fraud are done to drive a higher number of installs to reduce the CPIs of a campaign. In order to combat both click-fraud and install-fraud Liftoff recommends focusing campaigns on actions that users perform through CPA goals or KPIs or through setting ROAS goals or KPIs.

Other ways that we help our customers avoid fraud are blacklisting suspicious traffic, blacklisting traffic from suspicious sources, we even go so far as to reject anonymous traffic, or traffic that doesn’t have advertising IDs or IP addresses associated with the devices.

10) How can I avoid ad fraud?

Rina: Attribution partners and ad networks will have their own technology to prevent and detect fraud.

Something that you can do as an advertiser is take a look at ROAS data, which can be useful to spot install fraud or fake users. However, click fraud or attribution manipulation will typically snipe organic users that usually have high LTV.

At Vungle, we recommend marketers take a closer look at their CTR/CVR and click to install time distributions to find any anomalies. Any abnormally high CTR or low CVR can signal that the clicks aren’t real. A click-to-install time distribution that is skewed beyond the one hour mark is also an indicator that most users didn’t download after a real click that redirected them to the store.

11) Should I pay extra for fraud protection?

Barbara: The biggest mistake marketers can make is to think that fraud is a “nice to have” feature, or that they can “block fraud manually”. Even traffic that looks great i.e. good retention, high ROI can actually be fraud due to attribution manipulation. That’s why we at Singular offer fraud prevention for free.

Also be careful of the actual type of fraud prevention your provider has. With fraud costs so high and growing every year, you need to ensure that your attribution platform not only detects fraud but proactively prevents fraud in real-time.

And by this I mean some attribution providers do not offer actual prevention, but only detection. That means they offer “alerts.” where you then have to manually look at the data and fix it in retrospect. Be on the lookout for prevention types including IP blacklists, geographic outliers, hyper engagement, install validation, and time to install analysis – and the more included the better.

12) How can I ensure brand safety in my mobile advertising?

David: We have customers that worry about brand safety and focus on targeting specific verticals and avoiding others. This is done by setting up either blacklisting or whitelisting for specific types of apps. An example of this would be to blacklist violent apps.

13) Getting app installs is great, but it’s just the first step. What are the most important post-install events to measure?

David: App marketers need to determine which post-install events are the best indicators for future conversions and revenue. Once these events have been determined, these become the events that should be tracked and used to set goals for your campaigns.

These events might be adding an item to your cart or reaching level ten in a game. The idea is that these events indicate a high LTV.

Rina: Understanding short-term metrics as a proxy to determine long-term LTV is the key for performance marketing.

Often times ROAS in the short term is strong indicator of high LTV.

If users often monetize later in their user lifetime, looking at other benchmarks like level completions or retention could be the solution for campaign optimizations.

14) Data is critical to mobile marketing success. Why do I need API access to my attribution partner’s datastream? What kinds of data should I have access to?

Barbara: One of the critical elements to pay attention to if you are in the search for a new attribution provider is data accessibility. After all, your data is only valuable if it’s readily available and in a usable format. This is especially important for marketing organizations with centralized internal reporting.

Regarding what kinds of data you should have access to, there are two types:

  • Aggregate
    This includes LTV, retention, or other in-app KPIs grouped by any number of segments (app, media source, campaign, ad ID, etc).
  • User-level/device-level
    Why do you want this? Just one example: you may need to join that device-level data with offline or proprietary data and perform internal analysis on that combined dataset.

15) Do I have to use one attribution solution across all my apps?

David: The short answer is no … but the long answer is a lot more complicated but really comes down to how many tools you want to worry about integrating and how many tools you want your employees to have to learn.

The more attribution solutions you use across your portfolio the more complexity you add to your portfolio.

Barbara: Yes, complexity is the issue. Do you want to have multiple dashboards? Different workflows?

16) Measuring installs is great, but we do have attrition. How important is uninstall measurement?

Barbara: Uninstall measurement is a useful metric when it comes to understanding your users.

Uninstall data by itself is interesting, but its best used in conjunction with other lower-funnel events to understand the behavior of your users and of your marketing activities.

Aside from the insights, uninstall data can be provided to partners to be used in campaigns for retargeting audiences.

17) Can I use attribution to know how much ad revenue I’m generating from each mobile app user? Or from each network?

Rina: Analytics providers are starting to develop features to ingest ad revenue data to be able to track true LTV of acquired users. As ad revenue on the user level data becomes more readily available, I expect this feature will be widely used by developers.

Barbara: The short answer is yes. It’s a developing technology that we have some customers using right now. The best thing I can say is … talk to us!

Next steps: mobile attribution master class

Quick-witted readers may be wondering: How did 27 questions turn into 17? The answer: via the magic of multiple queries within each one.

But you may still have unanswered questions.

The solution: get a copy of our 7 things your mobile attribution tool doesn’t do (but should) report! Alternatively, get a full demo of Singular’s mobile attribution capabilities. 

The ‘No BS’ mobile attribution webinar: 27 questions answered (plus yours!)

You’ve heard about mobile attribution. You’ve wondered about mobile attribution. Maybe you even use mobile attribution. But you still have questions.

Like: Why?

Or: Who needs that?

And: Aren’t all mobile attribution solutions basically the same?

We get it. It can be confusing, and it can seem pretty detailed and technical sometimes. That’s why we’re hosting a webinar (with friends from Vungle and Liftoff) on November 6. And we’d like you to attend.

Why? Keep reading.


What you won’t get from this webinar we won’t do is feature talking heads making long droning speeches. We don’t like those kinds of webinars either.

We also won’t do a fancy sales pitch on Why Singular Rocks or How Singular Is The Total Best, Dude. That’s not our style, and we suspect that it’s not really yours, either.

What you will get from this webinar

Quick, to the point answers on key questions about mobile attribution.

Which questions? Keep scrolling …

(And yes, you can add one of your own. Or even two. Start by signing up here.)

Who you’ll get answers from

We’ve selected an attribution expert from Singular, an advertising expert from Vungle, and a mobile app install expert from Liftoff to provide all the answers.

They are:

Barbara Mighdoll
Senior Director of Marketing

David Bennett
Sales Engineer

Rina Matsumoto
Performance Optimization Lead, US

And I’ll be moderating (John Koetsier, VP Insights, Singular.)

And finally, the mobile attribution questions

We have a lot of questions that we’ve seen people ask. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. What is mobile attribution?
  2. What are tracking links? How do they work?
  3. What are postbacks? Should I be getting them?
  4. What is granularity? Why do marketers need granularity?
  5. What is a SAN? Are SANs really self-reporting? What does that mean?
  6. Why do marketers need to combine customer-level attribution data and campaign-level marketing data?
  7. What are the most critical reporting needs in mobile attribution?
  8. What is server-side measurement? When does it make sense?
  9. What kinds of ad fraud are most common? How can I avoid them?
  10. Can I see where ad networks are running my ads? If so, how?
  11. How can I ensure brand safety?
  12. Should I pay extra for fraud protection? What about viewability tracking?
  13. Why do I need API access to my attribution partner’s datastream?
  14. What kinds of API access should I have?
  15. Do I need access to raw log files? Why?
  16. What are the most important post-install events to measure?
  17. Do I have to use one attribution solution across all my apps?

That is actually 27 separate questions, even though we’ve organized them into 17. But it’s pretty likely that there are some that we haven’t seen. Or thought of. And one of them might be yours.

Please ask it here. We’d love nothing more than to add it to the list.

Sign up for the webinar

Join us on November 6 by clicking here to sign up.

Grow faster: How ‘Dual Integration’ unlocks vastly more value than vanilla mobile attribution

Peanut butter is just peanut butter. And chocolate is just chocolate. But if you have the creativity and insight to combine them, you create a magical mystery confection that makes your mouth cry out for joy and high-five your stomach. You get, perhaps, dual integration.

Imagine the peanut butter is marketing campaign data.

Imagine the chocolate is attribution.

Put them together, and the result is not magical and not mysterious: it’s marketing science that unlocks ever-increasing but previously hidden value. And that’s just one of the secrets revealed in our No Bullsh!t Guide to Mobile Attribution.

But what exactly is dual integration? And how does it work?

Dual integration technology

“Simplistically, dual integration technology is connecting marketing data with outcome data,” says Singular VP of Client Services Victor Savath. “On the marketing side, we’re talking about information on campaigns, publisher, creative, and sub-campaigns. On the outcome or attribution side, we’re talking about user or customer install and event data.”

Ultimately, you’re combining spend data with mobile attribution data.

But … at as granular a level as you implement your marketing spend.

That means every outcome, or attribution, is enriched with campaign information. Now you know not only that you acquired a new customer, or user, from Ad Partner XYZ. You also know what campaign it was from. Where the campaign and the customer intersected. And what specific creative cued the conversion.

When you combine these two datasets, you get true granular ROI, says Savath.

“It’s not about whether or not a network performs, it’s what is performing within a particular network,” Savath told me yesterday. “Sometimes we see that marketers are quick to dismiss performance marketing, or a particular ad network, because the results are all blended. But granularity highlights the pockets of value. For example, in one network … one specific set of creative might work very, very well, while another does not. With granularity, you know.”

Alternatively, some publishers or traffic sources that an ad network uses for your campaigns might be horrible: poor quality or even fraudulent. But other traffic sources are amazing. Seeing this close up means that marketers can optimize for the best-performing publishers within an ad network. That unlocks potential pockets of profitable growth.

The problem?

Most marketers aren’t able to get to that point.

Missing out on magic (or marketing science)

There are many different types of granularity: creative, publisher, network, campaign, region, with metrics from both the network and attribution side. But what matters the most is ROI granularity … which is inherently matched to your ability to tie both sides of the equation together.

The problem is that most marketers don’t have a tool that connects and aligns all the data properly.

And that means they’re making future resource allocation decisions based on limited information.

“For example, if you’re just using vanilla attribution data, you might say that a certain publisher is generating revenue for you,” Savath says. “The problem is, you’re not exactly clear at what specific cost you’ve achieved this revenue.”

Dual integration might show you that A, B, and E campaigns are really working well with a certain ad network, while C and D are not: they’re complete duds. That insight may mean the difference between writing off an ad network as a total loss versus optimizing your efforts with that partner.

And, of course, achieving much better results.

The big aggregated campaign picture alone has its own challenges, of course.

“Alternatively, if you’re just using spend data, you don’t understand your outcomes at all,” says Savath.

Magic isn’t hard. It’s science

The best part is that with Singular, dual integration isn’t any integration at all. At least, not on your part.

Singular does it for you. And it’s not a back-end thing, it’s a built-in thing.

Most attribution solutions provide tools to create tracking links, or make them in bulk, or allow marketers to import them. The problem is that most marketing managers build tracking links in a vacuum, without knowledge of how a partner will report spend back to you. With Singular, there’s no manual link building … Singular removes the whole element of manual creation of tracking URLs from the measurement workflow.

“Instead, Singular creates the links for you and automatically embeds campaign, creative, publisher, ad network, and other data into your tracking links,” says Savath. “Since our marketing data is informing what the link structure should be, you have automatic alignment between marketing data and attribution data. And thanks to Singular’s deep integrations to thousands of ad networks and marketing partners, your URLs will always have the right parameters and the right values.”

ROI versus IOR

Thanks to the performance-based nature of much of modern mobile marketing, marketers are not so much calculating return on investment as investment on return. In other words, they get the attributed results of their marketing and determine how spend and marketing activity relates to those results.

While there’s definitely a big place in performance marketing for spending based on results, only being able to look at marketing data this way creates serious challenges.

One of the biggest: data reconciliation problems.

“Singular’s approach is matching conversions to spend versus matching spend to conversions,” says Savath.

Get the full Guide for much more

The full No BullSh!t Guide to Attribution contains much more insight on how to do attribution right, focusing on seven core topics:

  1. Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs)
  2. Data combining
  3. Granularity
  4. Reporting
  5. Fraud prevention
  6. Data retention & accessibility
  7. Pricing

Get the full guide, for free, today.

Mobile ad fraud: 6 ways fraudsters win via dirty tricks, nasty scams, illegal tech, and cutting-edge camouflage

Ad fraud is a game where losing can look like winning, our Singular Fraud Index says. That’s why you need the latest intel — and the best fraud protection suite in the attribution industry — to protect you.

And understanding the enemy is the first step in winning the fraud war.

Or at least … not losing it.

At our recent UNIFY conference, IronSource’s Vice President for Growth Yevgeny Peres unpacked the science and data behind how fraudsters win. This was new intel to some of the world’s top digital marketers (not an easy task) and showed attendees how fraud was happening live in their campaigns right from the most innocuous, trustworthy, and high-quality apps.

Now we’re sharing the insights with you.

How fraudsters win: Outsourcing fake clicks to real people

“Assuming you have a phone and you’ve engaged with ads and you have some apps installed, fraudsters have access to your phone: your device ID,” says Peres. “And that device ID … once a fraudster has it, it’s not that complicated to start using it to manipulate attribution.”

Click spamming in operation. Code translated by Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv.

Here’s how it works.

Peres demonstrated with a mobile app on a phone that he connected to desktop technology to read and display all internet traffic. The app, a household name and top-60 grossing app, is perfectly legitimate and aboveboard. It would look like a quality publisher and a quality traffic source to any advertiser.

But it happens to show banner ads.

And fraudsters have managed to get their banner ads displayed on the app.

One of them is running code in Javascript behind the image. That code contains a long list of click URLs and opens multiple iFrames: mini virtual web browser windows. The URLs are tracking links, potentially from multiple tracking and attribution vendors, but they’re wrapped links that obscure exactly what they are and where they’re going.

IronSource VP of Growth, Yevgeny Peres.

The result: many advertisers, including multiple UNIFY attendees, see potential customer activity on mobile web that turns out to be completely fake.

“This was in-app banner traffic that’s going to be reported by tracking companies as if it were mobile web,” says Peres. “[These were] various websites that were not open on the phone … you would assume you’re buying from these guys when actually it was driven from the app.”

In one fell swoop you have multiple forms of fraud:

  1. Ad stacking: multiple ads stacked where one appears
  2. Click spamming: 50 clicks fired for one banner view
  3. Domain spoofing: clicks are reported as coming from sites that no-one ever visited
  4. Fingerprint manipulation: device fingerprints are faked to look like real devices

“This looks like great quality … but there’s zero intent,” says Peres.

How the fraudsters win: SDK spoofing

“The first thing to understand about SDK spoofing is that it’s much bigger than you think,” says Peres.

SDK spoofing requires some serious technical chops. If fraudsters have access to real device IDs, they could simply engage in click spamming. But why wait for people to install an app or convert in a campaign randomly or organically?

In SDK spoofing, fraudsters employ code in one app to send fake install and conversion signals on behalf of another app: an advertiser’s app.

Fraudsters can vastly multiply their ill-gotten earnings by faking conversion events.

“If I know what the tracking company’s SDK reports on app open, I might as well intercept that, replace the device ID, play around with the other parameters, and send it again,” says Peres. “A couple minutes later, I can orchestrate a beautiful KPI curve … I can [even] inflate organics to make sure this channel [looks like it] has an organic uplift.”

How the fraudsters win: Click spamming

The good guys in adtech have access to hundreds of millions if not billions of device identifiers. The bad news: so do the bad guys.

That’s a problem.

“All we need to do is gain access to a campaign and start running a script and fire a click every morning, randomly,” says Peres, mimicking a fraudster’s thought process. “[You’re] hoping that one of these guys will generate a conversion … that’s probably a $50K income a day, just doing that.”

On an ad exchange, once you gain access to a device ID you can do whatever you want with it, technically speaking.

“Once you have access to it, anyone can report a click,” Peres says. “It’s how the design of our stats-serving ecosystem is … that’s the bad news.”

How the fraudsters win: No incrementality analysis

Fraudulent activity isn’t just something on top of your standard organic marketing results or even just your paid marketing campaigns.

Some fraudulent channels eat organics.

Some fraudulent channels eat other paid channels.

How ad fraud can eat both organic and paid channels.


“It’s very important to understand the difference between channels that are incremental to you and channels that are not,” says Peres. “This is the biggest challenge for a marketer.”

Marketers may perceive fraud as a 20-30% problem, but much of it is not incremental. It’s cannibalistic. That means that marketers absolutely must test each channel for incrementality, ensuring that each channel really does independently drive business results.

How the fraudsters win: Fraud looks so juicy good

Some fraud has excellent camouflage. Here’s one example: check out the average revenue per user (ARPU) for these two campaigns.

Some fraudulent networks report views as clicks.

Campaign 1 and 2 have identical cost per install (CPI) and near-identical impressions, plus near-identical real clicks. But campaign two is a video ad that is either auto-redirecting to the App Store or Google Play after every view.

“When you look at the funnel, the CTR is almost 100%,” Peres says. “This is by the design of their product where they report a click for every completed view … so once the video is over, they have to report a click because they redirect the user to the App Store.”

The ARPU looks great — better than a clean campaign — so it’s very tempting for marketers to keep spending there. Especially if they’re not closely checking the other parameters such as the impossibly-high click-through rate.

This is an example of something that completely breaks the mobile advertising model, says Peres.

“These channels … if they’re manipulating attribution, their media costs are very low,” he says. “Other DSPs are competing with these guys. You have a 1% CTR rate for playing a clean game; these guys on a single impression generate 50 clicks. That’s 5000X stronger. That’s something you cannot outbid no matter which data scientist you hire.”

How the fraudsters win: Marketers don’t monitor key indicators

There are many key indicators that marketers who care about limiting fraud need to pay attention to, says Peres. Here are some of them (watch the full video for the complete list).

Fraud is revealed when you look at the right data.

Good ad fraud prevention enables you to see:

  1. Channel metrics versus attribution metrics (look for discrepancies)
  2. Percentage of clicks without a device/advertising ID (Android should be about 1%; iOS should be about 20%)
  3. Percentage of view-through attribution (VTA) versus click-through attribution (CTA) conversions
  4. Number of clicks per device ID (high is suspicious, shockingly)
  5. Number of views per device ID (again, high is suspicious)
  6. Percentage of clicks without a prior view … in some cases, 65% or more of clicks happen without a view: this is suspicious
  7. Very low eCPM
  8. Short, very regular, very long, or otherwise improbable or unnatural click to install times
  9. Attribution analytics versus iTune Connect and Google Developers Console numbers
  10. Incrementality

That’s not a small number to keep track of, but savvy marketers who don’t want to get burned by fraud will need to stay on top of these key indicators.

Summing up: One thing you must do

Fraudsters are smart, they’re technical, and they’re always working hard to separate you from your hard-earned ad dollars.

They also hide in plain sight, as sub-publishers and lower-tier ad networks or sources of supply.

How fraudsters hide in the adtech ecosystem.

You need a partner who stays on top of ad fraud for you.

“My single advice is … make sure you work with a tracking company that invests a lot on research,” Peres says. “Singular obviously invests a lot on research and has a lot of knowledge there … they update their SDK a lot, the security of their SDK. Make sure you have the latest version of the SDK and keep updating … it’s a must, every time it comes out.”

Our investment in mobile ad fraud prevention protects you from donating to organized crime … and shooting your paid promotion campaigns in the foot.

What to do now: Get the hard numbers on fraud … and the top fraud-free networks.

7 critical criteria to include in your mobile attribution RFP

According to eMarketer, mobile advertising in the United States is expected to reach over $70 billion this year and account for a whopping 75% of all digital ad spend.

As mobile advertising budgets continue to climb, so does the demand for tools and services to measure and optimize these investments. This surge in demand has led to a proliferation of mobile attribution companies and the commoditization of attribution technologies.

As a result, many mobile attribution providers rely heavily on inflated claims and marketing jargon as a means to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market. Even if you’re an attribution expert, researching mobile measurement providers can be a confusing and frustrating experience for marketers.

To help you feel more confident re-evaluating your current provider or choosing a new one, we’ve written an attribution RFP guide to help you wade through the jargon and find the right provider.

Download our Guide to Mobile Attribution now.

Here’s a snapshot of of the seven key criteria we cover in the guide to help you build the best mobile attribution RFP.

1. Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP)

A mobile attribution provider will only be effective if it’s integrated with the media sources you buy from, period. This is particularly crucial if you spend (and you most likely are) on any of the self-attributing networks (such as Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, and Apple).

2. Data combining

There are two main types of integrations marketers need to be aware of in order to understand the complexity of mapping their data. The first is an attribution integration (which delivers user-behavior data) and the second is an ad network integration (which delivers marketing data). To truly understand ROI across your mobile campaigns, creatives and publishers, you need to collect and combine both sets of data. However, the ability to do this is entirely dependent on the provider’s technological capabilities, and almost all providers (except Singular) cannot do both today. We’ll dig deeper into each data integration and demonstrate why it’s necessary for both to be connected.

3. Granularity

Ensuring accuracy and completeness when combining and connecting your data is the greatest challenge to granularity. No two sources are the same and even when it is accurate, complete, and attributed, you still need to ensure your marketing campaign data matches your user-level data to unlock ROI at the campaign, publisher, keyword, and creative-levels.

4. Reporting

Another area where attribution providers are heavily differentiated is reporting. While many providers will provide some way of accessing raw data, for the system to be truly impactful, the reporting interface must be designed in a way for insights to be derived quickly and efficiently. We’ll review a few report types that have proven to be indispensable to mobile marketers.

5. Fraud prevention

No matter where you advertise or how much you spend, your mobile campaigns will likely be impacted by fraud. Even if a provider says they offer “fraud protection,” make sure you read the fine print. Actual prevention, custom rules, reporting and insights, cost savings and alignment of incentives are a few specifics to pay attention to.

6. Data retention & accessibility

This is an area where this is a huge difference between providers, where some offer decent APIs, and some offer rather useless means to export your data, that will make the entire exercise extremely painful. We’ll dive into the four different options available for downloading and sharing more robust data with your internal teams and systems in this guide.

7. Pricing

While pricing may be one of the most obvious points of consideration when evaluating attribution providers, it’s far more useful to weigh value over price. Hidden costs and feature charges can add up quickly. So, before you are lured by a low-cost solution, make sure you know what you’re paying for.

We’ll help you understand the different pricing models in the attribution market today.

So what are you waiting for? Cut the bullsh!t and get the complete facts on mobile attribution providers now.