Why you’re losing 50% of your ad effectiveness if you’re not using creative reporting

What really makes ads work?

This simple question is the billion-dollar puzzle that drives the adtech industry. For marketers, finding the answer unlocks the door to optimizing growth.

– who you send your ads to matters
– where people see them matters
– how often people see your ads matter
– the brand attached to them matters

But creative outweighs them all. And not by a little. Combined.

Why creative is so overwhelmingly important

All of these things are important, naturally. But your advertising effectiveness is mostly determined by one critical quality: the creative.

According to Nielsen, the quality, messaging, and context of your creative is responsible for as much as 49% of all sales lift. How many people see your ads is just 22%. Targeting to the right kinds of people? Only 9%.


Creative is emotionally powerful.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Advertising found that ad creativity impacts 13 key variables in five separate stages of the ad experience, from brand awareness to liking, accepting/rejecting claims, and future brand intentions. For 12 of those 13 variables, great creative drives positive impact, and poor creative gets ignored.

According to Ipsos, a massive 75% of an ad’s ability to make a brand impression is due to creative. Creative is so important that ads that win awards, Ipsos says, generate a full eleven times more share growth.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this finding.

If you succeed at everything else in advertising, but fail in creative, you are leaving almost 50% of your results on the table according to Nielsen, and 75% of your potential results on the table according to Ipsos.

That is why you need creative reporting

Singular offers creative reporting because it’s so critical. It’s something you can get in many places, of course, in silos. Facebook, for instance, offers creative reporting that tells you what images performed well on its platform.

That’s great.

But what top marketers need is an understanding of how their creative is performing across all their ad partners.

One major Singular customer, for instance, works with 20+ different channels including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google at any given time. In each, this client is using between 15 and 30 different creative units.


That’s between 350 and 600 different combinations of platform and creative at any given moment.

That’s not just mildly challenging to measure as a marketer. It’s basically impossible without automated help. The problem is that you don’t know which creative might resonate with which audience.

But you absolutely need to.

Some images will work well in one context and bomb in another. Some videos will resonate with the unique demographic slice that ad partner A accesses, and achieve a collective yawn from ad partners B’s audience. And a playable ad that hits one ad network audience’s behavior graph may not touch another.

Creative reporting is the solution.

“Singular’s Creative Reporting determines asset level ROI across more media sources than any other provider,” says Singular senior product marketing manager Saadi Muslu. “With it, you can quickly identify creative performance against any dimension and metric, group similar creatives regardless of minor copy or compression differences, or group creatives by keyword using tags based on any dimension.”

Why we sometimes ignore creative: piping and wiring

There is a lot of infrastructure in the modern marketing department.

The data explosion and almost 7,000 marketing technology tools haven’t helped with this, and the large numbers of ad networks and partners we work with add to it. In fact — and it’s something we’ll be releasing data on next month — Singular data indicates that top-performing marketers work with a much wider variety of ad partners than average or poor-performing marketers.

(Watch for that report soon!)

But there’s another challenge to all this martech/adtech piping and wiring.

Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the pipes and the wires than on what they’re actually carrying. The world of marketing technology seems concrete, observable, and controllable. If we create a drip email flow, we can set it up, schedule it, and press save. If we’re initiating an ad campaign, we set parameters, initiate buys, and monitor performance.

Creative doesn’t work that way (although AI is getting better at helping).

There’s no button to press for great copy, compelling images, or a funny video. It’s not linear, doesn’t follow a defined process, and can’t be switched on and off.

Magic: melding art and science, data and creativity

That’s where the magic enters, however.

When we pair marketing designers’ and writers’ creativity with insights from marketing data — like those in Singular’s Creative Reporting — we can set creativity free to try dozens of different things, and let data decide which resonate, which penetrate, and which generate productive results.

Nothing could be simpler, even at scale.

Another of Singular’s clients builds an astonishing 50 videos each and every week. Pairing that level of creativity with the data that indicates which ones work would be a tough task, manually. But letting machines do what machines do well makes it possible.

And, tells marketers once and for all: what makes their ads work.

Next step: learn more about Creative Reporting.

Sexy new campaign analytics: Dynamic totals, drag-and-drop columns, freezing, pinning, and more

Excel is a wonderful tool. But I think we can all agree the less you need to export marketing campaign analytics out of one system, import it into another, and then finally start a deeper analysis, the better.

Especially when, as a digital marketer, you want to make fast but smart decisions.

So Singular released multiple improvements today to our campaign analytics report that automatically collects and standardizes data from all of your sources into one single reporting view for apples-to-apple analysis, says Singular’s senior product marketing manager, Saadi Muslu.

“Asides from having a sleek new look, we’ve added new functionalities for improved viewability,” she says. “Features like freeze/pin columns, drag & drop columns, and edit columns help to customize your reporting view for your needs. One of the most exciting new functionalities is Dynamic Totals, which allow users to filter their table by any attribute, and see the totals recalculated in real-time without needing to run a new query.”

One of my favorites though? Source transparency. (Scroll down to see it.)

The goal here is allowing you to dig deeper into campaign analytics insights without having to run a new report query every. single. time.

VP of product Alon Nafta provided an overview of the new functionality with — of course — animated GIFs showing the updated features.

Multiple curve charts

Now you can layer multiple metrics on the same chart to visualize trends and correlations, says Nafta:

Dynamic totals

Filtering a table? Now the totals are recalculated in real-time, in your browser. No need to run a new query.

Drag and drop columns for reordering

Need to see a metric more clearly in context with another measurement? No problem. Simply drag and drop the column headers.

Edit and/or hide columns

Want to customize a generated results table? Easily edit and/or hide a column.

Freeze columns and rows

Data tables get big. Freezing columns allows you to keep the data you need visible, while scrolling through the rest of the table.

Pin columns and rows

Similar functionality, but a little different. Nafta explains it like this: “Pin any column to the left and the selected column will shift to the far left, next to the dimension columns. You can also pin a selected column to the right to further customize the table view.”

Source transparency

As I mentioned above, my favorite might be source transparency, which enables you to see the source for the data you’re looking at right in the table. As Alon puts it, hovering over a cell will show you where the data comes from: an ad network, or an attribution provider.

Then, clicking the transparency icon will further show a drill-down into the actual statistics pulled from each data source.

What does that do for you?

In a phrase, we hope it helps you grow faster. And easier.

“We’re dedicated to powering our users to uncover the insights that drive their growth, in a faster and easier way,” says Muslu.

We likely have some work yet to do on campaign analytics, however. At least if you still need to export data elsewhere.

“The larger story is that we want the Singular UI to be the only tool customers need to use, and we continue to make steps towards that goal,” says Nafta. “So as long as users still export to Excel, it’s our signal we still have improvements to do!”

Singular <3 Quora: The latest partnership to maximize your ROI

Today, Singular is excited to announce a new partnership to improve the ROI of your user acquisition strategy.

Quora, a platform for people to ask questions and read insightful answers, offers advertisers an opportunity to influence people during the consideration phase of their purchase process. Now, through Singular’s integration with the new Quora API, advertisers can accurately attribute user behavior and measure the true performance of their Quora campaigns all within the same Singular dashboard.

Luno, a power user of Singular and active advertiser on Quora, can attest to the power of bringing the two platforms together.

“Luno provides a safe and easy way to buy, store and learn about digital currencies. Advertising on Quora allows us to target people actively looking for more information on Bitcoin and Ethereum, and now with our data available in Singular we are able to uncover new insights and more effectively ensure the performance of our campaigns,” says Charlie Jobson, Growth Manager at Luno.

Quora has a worldwide audience of 200 million monthly unique visitors. The Quora advertising platform offers marketers the ability to target high intent audiences who are reading relevant questions and answers. Quora allows advertisers to target based on particular topics and then records metrics in the Singular dashboard at the campaign and sub-campaign level so you can measure ROI with granularity.

Adding Quora as a data source for campaign analytics in Singular is easy.

  1. Once you log in to your dashboard, simply navigate to the “Settings” tab and click “Data Sources.”
  2. From there, search for Quora and enter your Quora credentials.
  3. Within 24 hours you will see your data populated in your reporting.  

For more information on how to get started on Quora and how to include this data in your Singular dashboard, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager.

About Quora

Quora is a place to gain and share knowledge. It’s a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers. This empowers people to learn from each other and to better understand the world. Since its founding in 2010, Quora has grown to more than 200 million monthly unique visitors. The product is currently available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Hindi, Portuguese and Indonesian. Quora launched its advertising platform in May 2017 and has more than 1,000 active advertisers across a spectrum of categories. Marketers can run text or image ads and access a range of strategic targeting options.

About Singular

Singular is a marketing intelligence platform that unifies marketing analytics, giving marketers actionable insights from previously siloed data. By connecting upper funnel marketing data with lower-funnel attribution data, marketers can measure ROI from every touchpoint across multiple channels and optimize spend down to the most granular levels. Singular currently tracks over $10 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment, media, and on-demand services. Singular customers include companies like Lyft, Yelp, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Symantec, Zynga, Match, and Twitter. Singular is backed by Norwest Venture Partners, General Catalyst, Thomvest Ventures, Method Capital, Translink Capital, DCM and Telstra Ventures. Visit www.singular.net to learn more.


How LinkedIn, Lyft, Poshmark, and Calm align teams for maximum ROI

In some fantasy world, growth marketers have all the cash, corporate support, creative assets, and analytics they need, and can do their jobs in splendid isolation. In the real world? No marketer is an island, every team is an integrated component of the overall organization, and marketing alignment is a tough challenge.

Which means that kindergarten lessons still apply.

And marketers need to play nice with others … for their own good.

Marketing alignment in fast-growing companies

That’s exactly what we recently discussed with key executives at fast-growing Lyft, LinkedIn, Poshmark, and Calm during our recent UNIFY conference.

Specifically, we asked them how marketers should align internal teams to achieve ROI.

On the panel: Esther Hwang, Director of Growth at Poshmark, Ben Shanken, Director of Product and Growth at Lyft, Jake Bailey, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing and Strategy at LinkedIn, and Dun Wang, VP of Product and Growth at Calm. Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, Head of Marketing at SmartNews, moderated.

Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, SmartNews; Esther Hwang, Poshmark; Ben Shanken, Lyft; Jake Bailey, LinkedIn; Dun Wang, Calm.

Here’s a summary of their insights.

Aligning with executive teams

Aligning with the executive can be challenging. Most CxOs don’t know growth marketing, and they may also have a different time-frame for decision-making than campaign-driven marketers. Achieving marketing alignment requires tight coordination.

“At Calm we have three KPIs,” says Calm VP Dun Wang. “It’s purchase conversion, subscriber engagement, and subscriber renewals, so all of the conversations come back to those three metrics.”

That simplifies conversations, because those three key performance indicators are identical all the way up and all the way down the organization. Every decision can be weighed by how it contributes to at least one, and hopefully multiple of the top KPIs.

At Lyft, with 1,600 employees, alignment requires structural thinking.

“We actually invest a lot in building a structure for how we think, and disseminating that structure across the whole company, so that people can be in line with how we think,” says Ben Shanken, Director of Product and Growth.

But it’s also about investment, and investment carries risk.

And that’s something else to consider at the executive level.

“We think about things in terms of how much risk we want to take in terms of learning,” says Shanken.

Aligning with finance teams

Marketing alignment with finance and the CFO matters too. And it’s often not without some history.

“Historically the relationship between finance and marketing has been kind of contentious, because one is the money-spender and one is the money-protector,” says Poshmark Director of Growth Esther Hwang.

That means marketers need to educate finance.

Finance teams typically don’t understand growth activity or marketing, and nuance escapes them. For example, when one channel is killing it, finance might think: invest all your dollars there. Growth marketers, on the other hand, might know that channel, understand its capacity, and understand that there is not enough scale there to withstand doubling or tripling the budget.

But finance often sees things that marketers don’t.

“At the same time the finance team is a really great ally,” says Hwang. “From their vantage point they have a really great way of looking at certain blind spots that the marketing team might have. For example, at Poshmark it was the finance team that pointed out to us the difference in very long LTV for our male users versus our female users … which the growth team, operating much more short-term, weren’t keeping as close an eye on.”

That’s relevant at LinkedIn too:

“From a finance perspective we have to understand the full evolution of a user,” says Jake Bailey, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing and Strategy at LinkedIn. “We have finance partners that are very baked into our everyday engagement.”

Lyft does the same thing: add a finance executive to the marketing and user acquisition group, says Ben Shanken. It’s easier to run the numbers on LTV and budget allocations — and ensure tight feedback loops — when finance has a seat at the table.

Aligning with engineering teams

Science and art. Data and creativity. Marketing and engineering.

Sometimes it seems like marketing and engineering are oil and water. One promises, and the other has to deliver; one builds, and the other has to market. And they don’t always speak the same language.

That’s not the case in the world’s best companies, however.

“We’re fortunate to have very commercially minded engineers,” says Calm’s VP Dun Wang. “They want to know … if they’re going to spend a week working on a feature, how does that affect the user experience and how does that tie back to more revenue for Calm? So we’re super-transparent with that.”

For Poshmark, it’s all about the relationships.

“Our VP of Growth is an ex-engineer … who has a lot of personal relationships [with engineers],” Director Esther Hwang says. “He still makes it a habit to set up unstructured time with engineers … and that’s proven to be very helpful.”

Just one example: Poshmark has set up car pool routes that intentionally mix staff members across departments. In one case, a growth marketer complained to an engineer about the cost of marketing on Facebook. The engineer brainstormed a solution that involved using Facebook social logins as part of the registration flow. It was super-easy to implement, and had a significant benefit.

“That low-hanging fruit improved our registration conversion rate by about five points,” Hwang says.

Lyft engineers collaboration right into standard workflow and employee organization, says Director of Product and Growth Ben Shanken.

“We have a social pod which is an engineer, a data scientist, a program manager, and a marketer,” he says. “We want the engineer to be a channel manager [and] we want the manager to be a marketer.”

The result?

First of all, Lyft has changed the career path of engineers from building technology to making an impact. And secondly, they’ve empowered engineers with ownership of metrics.

Marketing alignment … with other marketing teams

It may sound silly, but marketing does need to align with marketing. Growth marketers have different imperatives, techniques, technologies, and budgets than brand marketers. Performance marketers and user acquisition marketers look at the world differently. Creative teams are not always aligned with marketing managers.

It’s about size.

“As you scale you’re going to run into these more siloed teams in the marketing space,” says LinkedIn’s Jake Bailey. “You have to find a way to bring those together.”

One way LinkedIn has done it is by creating an internal digital agency.

The agency is horizontal, and flows across silos. It leverages what is working in one team with the others, and derives a whole-company number for ROAS, return on ad spend.

“[This] allows us to work together to grow the business as a whole,” Bailey says.

Lyft has a different way of solving a similar problem, and it involves sometimes intentionally building inefficiencies into the system. It sounds paradoxical — or nonsensical — but it’s actually necessary.

“We have huge brand dollars that we do not control,” says Ben Shanken, Lyft’s Director of Product and Growth. “We can try to align our roadmaps … but every time we do that it sort of fails. It all comes down to agreeing on goals … if you do that, then it becomes easier to sequence how we do things.”

One example: brand marketers tend to like the most efficient ways of buying brand: national advertising. But, if you want to be great at measurement, local spend is the way to go.

The solution: sometimes being less efficient at one goal (in this case, brand advertising) to enable long-term efficiencies in another goal (in this case, local performance-oriented advertising).

Aligning with creative teams

Mistakes are great teachers, and Lyft saw this first-hand.

“We did a really bad thing … we gave the marketing team and the creative team a goal to replace all creative within four weeks with winning creative,” says Shanken. “They started cranking out huge amounts of creative, but the downside was they were cutting a lot of corners on analyzing this stuff … and rolling out creatives that weren’t that amazing.”


Lyft adjusted team OKRs (objectives and key results) and fixed the problem.

But this isn’t easy, as Calm also learned.

“For us it was really hard to align creative and UA,” says Dun Wang. “[There were] too many opinions on what ads we should launch and why … most of it not founded on data.”

What helped Calm move faster was empowering user acquisition directors to lead creative as well. Each UA team received design resources … and UA managers were given some leeway in marketing.

“We’re not so precious about the brand,” Wang says.

Aligning with BI/Analytics

Growth marketers live and die by the numbers. So it’s no surprise that the best marketers want super-tight relationships with business intelligence and analytics pros.

“Incorporating biz analytics into your process early is the key to success,” says LinkedIn’s Bailey. “Include them early and include them often. For us, they are the core of the team … without them nothing else would exist.”

Lyft’s Ben Shanken agrees:

“Data science is hugely important to each channel for us, especially as we start to automate and build programmatic,” Shanken says. “Because they’re building the models … they are arguably the most important part of the pod. They are the person making the actual model and algorithm working with the engineer and the marketer to translate logic into model.”

The same is true at Poshmark and Calm, where Wang says that data analysts work on every project and with every team.

Summing up

It’s not often that you can get some of the world’s top marketing experts and user acquisition leaders to open up about the core challenges of their jobs. Watch the whole video to get every last detail.

And one more thing:

Go deeper: check out how top marketers use Singular to get the data-driven insights they need to accelerate their growth.

Apple Aims to Protect Data Privacy with SKAdNetwork

Wondering what Apple’s new privacy enhancements mean for you?
Watch our on-demand webinar iOS 14 & IDFA Changes: What you need to know


Quietly rolled out by Apple on March 29th, 2018 with their iOS 11.3 release, SKAdNetwork is an API that validates advertiser-driven mobile app installs. In Apple’s documentation, it’s stated that SKAdNetwork’s objective is to help marketers to measure the success of an ad campaign while maintaining user privacy.

What’s different about the SKAdNetwork API?

SKAdNetwork is a class that belongs to the StoreKit framework; Apple’s In-App Purchase Payment System that manages transactions for In-App Purchases. After installing the app, Apple shares only 5 items with the advertiser: ad network ID, transaction identification, ad campaign ID, app ID installed, and attribution code to link all.

Source: Apple Developer Documentation

There are two key postbacks associated with SKAdNetwork:

  • Initiating Install Validation: This Informs an ad network when users install and launch an app after viewing an ad. Ad networks initiate validation by providing signed information, including a campaign ID, when displaying the ad. Later, if the ad results in a conversion, Apple notifies the ad network with a postback that includes the same campaign ID.
  • Verifying an Ad Conversion: When a user installs and launches an app as a result of your ad, you receive a postback request that validates the installation. The request is sent to the ad network URL provided in registration.

What does this mean for advertisers?

It’s still too early to predict how SKAdNetwork will play out. Adding to the mystery, Apple has been very hush-hush about their motives and the rollout of SKAdNetwork. However, we think there are a few possible ways this could play out:

1. Apple doesn’t actively push SKAdNetwork, it doesn’t garner significant adoption, and nothing changes in the mobile marketing space.

One possible scenario could be that Apple doesn’t actively push SKAdNetwork to advertisers, resulting in minimal adoption. In this scenario, there wouldn’t be any significant change in the way that app marketers manage their attribution.

2. Apple pushes SKAdNetwork and Google follows suit with their own version.

Another scenario is that Google follows suit with its own version of the ad network API. This scenario could play out a few different ways:

  • Apple and Google don’t build out a robust attribution solution, which results in a lack of adoption by app marketers. Apple has made its mark in the world thanks to being an extraordinary and innovative hardware company, but they have never been accountable for providing analytics and insights to app marketers. If Apple and Google do not develop all the features that are necessary for an end-to-end attribution solution, (e.g. data extraction, all postback types, flexible attribution windows, easy BI integrations) then the industry will not adopt their solutions.
  • Apple and Google develop all the functionality needed for a robust attribution solution, leaving third-party mobile app attribution providers to potentially die-off in their current form. Who can compete with the operators of the mobile app stores we attribute from anyway? However, advertisers may still lose out in this scenario because they might encounter more complexities coming from running attribution on two separate platforms. The winners in this scenario would be third-party mobile app attribution providers that offer value-added services such as connecting multiple networks into a single view and aggregating all necessary features into a single API.

3. Apple pushes SKAdNetwork but Google does nothing.

In a third possible scenario, Apple could actively push SKAdnetwork to advertisers, while Google doesn’t follow suit with their own version. This would still result in complexities for advertisers who would need to manage attribution programs in silos across different OSs.

In this scenario, marketers would turn to attribution providers who could help them gather data from multiple sources, standardize it, and aggregate it into a single ROI dashboard.

So what’s going to happen?

It’s unfortunately too early to say, but one thing is clear: Apple wants to enhance users’ privacy. Apple has clearly positioned itself as a top privacy-conscious company and will continue to hold this stance as data privacy becomes more top-of-mind in the industry.

Frequently asked questions about the GDPR

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation — GDPR is top of mind for many businesses, especially for those that engage in online advertising. This new privacy-driven regulation requires that all companies collecting, accessing, and processing personal data for EU residents must comply with new standards that will be enforced starting May 25, 2018.

Understandably, we’ve been getting many questions related to the GDPR over the past few months. To help shed light on the questions you may have, we’ve compiled the top FAQs for the GDPR.

General GDPR FAQs

1. When is the GDPR coming into effect?
May 25th, 2018.

2. Who does the GDPR affect?
It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of European Union residents, regardless of the company’s location.

3. What constitutes personal data?
Any information that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a user. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, device IDs, or a computer IP address.

4. What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Organizations can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover for breaching GDPR or €20 Million. This is the maximum fine that can be imposed for the most serious infringements (i.e. not having sufficient customer consent to process data or violating the core of Privacy by Design concepts). There is a tiered approach to fines; a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order (article 28), not notifying the supervising authority and user about a breach or not conducting an impact assessment. It is important to note that these rules apply to both controllers and processors — meaning ‘clouds’ will not be exempt from GDPR enforcement.

5. What is the difference between a data processor and a data controller?
A controller is an entity that determines the purposes, conditions, and means of the processing of personal data, while the processor is an entity which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

6. Do data processors need ‘explicit’ or ‘unambiguous’ data subject consent – and what is the difference?
Consent must be clear, unambiguous, and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it. Explicit consent is required only for processing sensitive personal data – in this context, nothing short of “opt-in” will suffice. However, for non-sensitive data, “unambiguous” consent will suffice.

7. What about users under the age of 16?
Parental consent will be required to process the personal data of children under the age of 16 for online services; member nations may legislate for a lower age of consent but this will not be below the age of 13.

8. Does my business need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)?
DPOs must be appointed in the case of (a) public authorities, (b) organizations that engage in large-scale systematic monitoring, or (c) organizations that engage in the large-scale processing of sensitive personal data (Art. 37). If your organization doesn’t fall into one of these categories, then you do not need to appoint a DPO.

9. How does the GDPR impact policy surrounding data breaches?
Proposed regulations surrounding data breaches primarily relate to the notification policies of companies that have been breached. Data breaches which may pose a risk to individuals must be notified to the Data Processing Addendum (DPA) within 72 hours and to affected individuals without undue delay.

10. Will the GDPR set up a one-stop-shop for data privacy regulation?
The discussions surrounding the one-stop-shop principle are among the most highly debated and are still unclear as the standing positions are highly varied. The Commission text has a fairly simple and concise ruling in favor of the principle, the Parliament also promotes a lead DPA and adds more involvement from other concerned DPAs, the Council’s view waters down the ability of the lead DPA even further. A more in-depth analysis of the one-stop-shop policy debate can be found here.

Source: https://www.eugdpr.org/gdpr-faqs.html

GDPR FAQS for Singular Users

1. Is Singular a Data Processor or Data Controller?
Singular is a Data Processor — we do not determine the purposes, conditions or scope of how data is collected. You, our customer, who will often determine these will be defined as a Data Controller under the GDPR, but you should consult with your legal team to make such a determination.

2. What data does Singular collect and is it affected by the GDPR?
When using Singular for mobile attribution, Singular will track device data such as advertising IDs, IP addresses, and other device identifiers. We may also collect user-level events that advertisers send us through the Singular SDK. Under the GDPR, all of the aforementioned data is deemed as personal data and will be treated appropriately per regulations set by the GDPR.

3. How does Singular use personal data?
We use the personal data identified above for two purposes: a) to determine the attributed network, campaign, etc. b) provide our customers with analytics and reports based on the data we collect for them such as retention, ROI, etc.

4. Does Singular transfer this personal data anywhere?
By nature of providing mobile attribution, we need to report attributed installs and events to the marketing channels you’re running with, per the agreement you, the advertiser, has with these marketing channels. As a Data Controller, you are always aware of what data Singular sends to said marketing channels, and can be assured that Singular will never share your data with any other entity.

5. What are common GDPR-related requests that advertisers may get from users?
Under the GDPR, data subjects have several rights that need to be honored:

  • Right to Access and Right to Data Portability – both of these rights speak to the user’s (data subject) ability to request all data that has been collected on them in an easily readable format.
  • Right to Erasure speaks to the user’s ability to ask for their data to be deleted and is also commonly referred to as Right to be Forgotten.
  • Right to Rectification speaks to the user’s ability to request for their data to be corrected or completed.

6. How does Singular allow Data Controllers to honor such requests?
To easily comply with requests related to the GDPR, we’ve built several new REST API endpoints to accept requests in a programmatic and scalable manner. The API documentation is provided in our Developers Portal.

7. Are you compatible with the OpenGDPR initiative?
Yes. We are fully compatible with OpenGDPR.

8. Is Singular’s SDK GDPR-compatible?
Yes, Singular’s SDK is GDPR compatible. We are also releasing an additional update soon to further support explicit methods for opt-in (for when a consent is explicitly provided), opt-out and unload options in the SDK to give you more control for user privacy.

9. I’m not using Singular for attribution or event tracking. Does GDPR apply here?
If Singular doesn’t collect personal (user level) data for your mobile app users, it is not technically a Data Processor in the GDPR context.

10. Do you have an updated Data Processing Agreement I can sign?
Yes, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager to get our latest DPA.

11. What else is Singular doing around the GDPR?
Built by security experts, Singular has always been security and privacy driven by design. We treat encryption, security, and privacy as core principles that determine how every new system is defined and built, and these are inherently embedded in the platform.

At Singular we welcome the EU’s initiative for increased transparency, ownership, and trust around personal data processing activity. We remain committed to these principles when working with our customers as their data processor. As such, we have made extensive investments to ensure that both Singular and our customers meet GDPR compliance standards, which you can read more about in our article “Hello GDPR: Stay Compliant with Singular”.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Singular is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact your attorney to obtain advice on specific issues or questions.

The different faces of mobile ad fraud

Digital ad fraud is estimated to have cost US marketers $6.5 billion in 2017 (Marketing Week 2017). Fraud prevention is not only a nice to have but a necessity nowadays.

Ad fraud is when an individual or group attempts to defraud advertisers, publishers or supply partners, by exploiting advertising technology with the objective of stealing from advertising budgets. It is particularly challenging for marketers to deal with because it comes in variable forms and it has the capacity to evolve and bypass the latest prevention methods.

Today, there are two forms of fraud in particular that app marketers are grappling with: Fake Users and Attribution Manipulation.

Fake Users

Fraudsters use bots, malware and install farms to emulate clicks, installs, and in-app events, causing advertisers to pay for an activity that is not completed by a real user.

Fake User fraud is most commonly perpetrated via:

Install farms, which consist of humans who are paid to manually install and engage with apps across a large number of devices.

Mobile device emulators that simulate a large number of unique device IDs used in fake installs.

Data centers that host scripts to generate fake installs and other types of events at massive scale.

Proxy servers that are used to reset IP addresses and spoof device-level information (like location, to emulate installs in other countries)

Attribution Manipulation

Fraudsters steal credit for installs by sending fraudulent clicks, which results in attribution systems recording sent clicks as the last engagement prior to the first time an app is opened, thus assigning credit to the fraudulent source and removing credit from an app’s organic or paid sources.

Attribution manipulation is a particularly harmful form of fraud because it not only costs marketers their spend, but it also corrupts performance data, causing marketers to make misguided acquisition decisions.

For example, the damage inflicted by a fraudulent source poaching organic users is twofold: an event reduces the number of organic users in a marketer’s analytics, as well as the perceived impact of organic user traffic on revenue growth. This can cause organizations to shift marketing away from efforts that target organic acquisition such as ASO or content marketing. Additionally, this can make a marketer invest more money in the fraudulent source, thereby diverting spend away from high-performing channels that drive legitimate traffic.

Attribution Manipulation is most commonly perpetrated via:

Click Injection

When fraudsters create apps that are legitimately downloaded by a user but, unbeknownst to the user, monitor the user’s device for installs and insert fake clicks before an app is first opened.

Click Spamming

This occurs when fraudsters send large numbers of fraudulent click reports with real device IDs in an attempt to poach organic users by delivering the last engagement prior to an install. Because attribution windows are typically limited to finite time periods, fraudsters often re-send fraudulent click reports in order to maintain their clicks as the last engagements within the attribution window.

While click injection is focused on sending clicks at the moment immediately before an app is first opened, click spamming is focused on sending clicks that contain a unique device ID in the hope that an ID matches that of an organic user who subsequently downloads the app. Compared to click spamming, click injection is a more sophisticated form of fraud that is easier for fraudsters to control and to hide. Because click injection receives signals that an app has been installed directly from a user’s device, click injection attacks are more targeted and therefore deliver better results for fraudsters.

Thankfully there are indicators to detect such scenarios. Since click injection generates a click after installation is complete, it tends to result in a short click-to-install time. Click spamming, on the other hand, results in abnormally long click install time, due to clicks lingering in the attribution system until a device with a matching ID organically installs the app. TTI analysis is one of the leading mechanisms to fight attribution manipulation and fraud in general.

Other forms of Attribution Manipulation also exist, including:

Network Click Fraud

Networks that report a click when only an impression occurred.

Fingerprinting Fraud

A technique that targets organic users for fraudsters to send clicks with no advertising IDs, causing attribution systems to fall back on fingerprinting — which relies on identifiers like IP address, device model, and OS version — to perform attribution. If an organic user on the same network installs the app, and other identifiers match up, the fraudulent source steals credit for the install from the organic source.

More info

Want to get the full scoop on mobile ad fraud prevention, including a list of the most secure ad networks for app marketers, and the most effective fraud prevention methods?

Check out the Singular Fraud Index; the first of its kind to utilize mobile fraud data collected from multiple attribution providers and fraud prevention tools.

Why Marketing ROI Is The Most Important Yet Least Understood Metric in UA

It is perhaps the most dysfunctional metric in digital marketing.

Marketing return on investment, or marketing ROI, is frequently talked about, but frequently misstated, misunderstood, or just plain inaccurate.

Simply put, marketing ROI is a way of measuring the return on investment from the amount a company spends on marketing. It can be used to assess the return of a company’s overall marketing mix, or a specific marketing program.

The calculation for marketing ROI might seem relatively straightforward: Revenue divided by Marketing Cost. Yet arriving at fast, granular and reliable ROI data is by no means a straightforward process.

ROI calculation is particularly challenging for marketers who seek detailed levels of reporting to inform their optimizations. For instance, marketers may want to see the ROI of a specific campaign, publisher, keyword, geography or user — and the more granular a marketer wants to get, the more difficult it is to calculate ROI.

But before we delve the into the challenges of calculating ROI, let’s dive into why marketers consider ROI to be such an important metric.

Critical to Securing Marketing Budget

Marketing is a significant expense and leaders want to know exactly what they’re getting for it. In a recent study commissioned by Google, marketers identified ROI as the most valuable metric for securing additional budget for their marketing programs and media campaigns.

The study, which surveyed 150 marketing decision-makers at U.S. companies, found that consistently achieving ROI goals allowed marketers to prove the value of their initiatives to the greater organization and ultimately gain resources from executives to expand their efforts.

Deciding Where to Spend

Marketers often calculate ROI at the channel or campaign level to determine which efforts have a higher return and therefore deserve additional investment. When experimenting with a new ad network or marketing channel, a crucial first step for marketers is setting up analytics such that marketing teams can measure ROI and determine if the network or channel is driving performance.

Smarter Optimizations

In the process of determining the effectiveness of an ad network or channel, marketers optimize ongoing campaigns on the fly to maximize performance. Effective optimizations require digging deeper into spend and performance data to achieve more granular levels of reporting.

For instance, ad networks consist of numerous websites and apps, known individually as “publishers”, where marketers’ ads run. By monitoring the ROI of specific publishers within an ad network, marketers can determine which publishers drive the best performance. In turn, marketers are able to increase spending on high-performing publishers and shut off or “blacklist” under-performing publishers in order to increase the overall ROI of an ad network.

Marketers might also seek to inform their optimizations with ROI analysis at the Campaign, Creative, Keyword, Geographic or User level — or any combination of these dimensions. For instance, a marketer may want to see how one creative performs in a specific geography in a campaign which targets a specific demographic of users.

ROI Drives Integrated Marketing Analytics

This kind of precision analysis requires a particularly advanced set of analytics tools to collect, clean and combine data streamed from multiple sources, not to mention powerful database technologies to process flexible queries on large volumes of data.

The ROI metric in particular requires combining data from multiple sources — namely cost, revenue and event data. The most accurate and granular cost data comes from direct marketing channel integrations, which often require constant maintenance. Meanwhile, revenue and event data is typically extracted from tracking links, before it is combined with cost data to produce ROI and other “full-funnel” metrics like Cost per Event.

By focusing on ROI, marketing teams can galvanize their teams around building marketing analytics systems that leverage a host of well-integrated tools to deliver intuitive and flexible reporting. Google’s study showed that marketers with measurement stacks that rely on five or more marketing analytics tools are 39% more likely to see improvements in the overall performance of their marketing programs. They are also able to realize reduced marketing expenses and improved marketing efficiency than their less sophisticated counterparts in other organizations.

The Challenges of Calculating ROI

Google’s study showed that marketers are not confident in their ability to reliably measure ROI. While a majority felt capable of accurately measuring the performance of efforts like email campaigns as well as traffic to their site or app, only 13 percent of marketers were confident in their ability to measure marketing ROI and only 14 percent were very confident that they understood the contribution of marketing programs to business revenue.

The number one reason marketers gave for why they have such a hard time exposing ROI is a lack of integration between their marketing analytics tools.

In the study, only 26 percent of marketers believed that their marketing analytics tools were well integrated, while one-third of marketers believed their tools don’t work together efficiently at all.

Download The Singular ROI Index to see the world’s first ranking of ad networks by app ROI.