Nexon transforms marketing data into granular performance insights with Singular

We got the chance to catch up with Nexon‘s Director of Acquisition, Warren Woodward, and discuss how his team uses Singular to analyze and optimize the performance of their sophisticated user acquisition program. One topic we covered was how challenging it can be to analyze the performance of ad creatives, especially when advertising multiple titles across many ad partners. Thankfully, Nexon overcame this challenge. 😊Check out our discussion below!




My name is Warren Woodward, and I’m with Nexon. I’m the Director of User Acquisition. Nexon is an international gaming company. We have games for PC and mobile across the world. We have a couple of major IPs, such as Maple Story, and the biggest video game series in China, Dungeon and Fighter.

How Singular fits in Nexon’s growth stack

At Nexon, we leverage Singular in a few different ways. We use it as our source of truth. We also use it as a way to join data from multiple sources for day-to-day campaign optimization. Singular for us is a great way to look at all that data in one place. And for me as Director to look in on everything that everyone is doing and see it all in an apples-to-apples comparison to understand how to best move budget around.

Reaching growth goals

Singular helps us reach our growth goals ultimately because it saves us time in any number of ways. With the number of titles that we’re buying for, we don’t have the time to go into every separate source, every separate title, and look at it all à la carte. So the ways that we can slice and dice, and stack rank what’s important to us to see what’s giving us the highest ROI… everything across the game, where are we spending the most, what’s bleeding, let’s us judge how we can use a finite number of hours in the day to get the most impact to our campaigns.

Singular let me see it all in one place, slice and dice it. If I just want to see all of the performance for any given country or OS, or maybe just dive really deep to a particular ad network. It’s nice to have one dashboard that can quickly make all these ad-hoc reports. And also to do a creative analysis and collaborate with the creative team.

Perfecting storytelling

So one of the ways that we use this on a daily basis is to get our creative team talking about performance, the same way that we do; to be looking at a creative level across the dozens of creatives who might have any given time for a game. Understand the trends that are working. It helps us identify what we want to make next, what’s really working, and we start seeing a better return on investment for the creatives themselves when we can see how they’ve been performing in the ecosystem.

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

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!

Scaling mobile growth: How smart marketers pay 37% less and get 60% more

The cold hard reality of mobile marketing is that the rich get richer and the smart get smarter. That sounds unfair, but there is a sunny side up: nearly every mobile marketer has a shot at success.

But achieve breakout mobile growth isn’t easy.

Among other things, it requires prioritizing what already know you should be doing, but aren’t.

Cold hard data on mobile growth: what we’re seeing

Over the past year our customers used Singular to optimize more than $10 billion in annual ad spend. That includes over a trillion ad impressions, billions of conversion events, and hundreds of millions of app installs.

And it shows us that some marketers are vastly outperforming others.

The average mobile marketer achieving average mobile growth uses just a few ad partners: typically ones whose names your parents would know. That’s not a bad thing: those massive media sources are used by billions of people every single day. They have unparalleled audience and reach, which every mobile marketer will likely need.

But it’s definitely suboptimal to only dance with the big boys and girls of advertising. When you look at the average cost to onboard new mobile users, for example, mobile marketers using five or fewer ad partners pay $3.58. Marketers using six or more average just $2.24.

That’s a big difference. And it means that for the same $100,000 ad spend, top mobile marketers achieve 44,643 app installs … while others get only 27,933. Over a year’s worth of marketing, that’s well over half a million potential new users in your app versus just 335,000.

That’s massive competitive advantage. And at an example $10 LTV, it’s over $2 million in extra revenue that top mobile growth experts bring in.

Which, of course, is additional fuel for even more growth.

Most marketers know what they need to do

The results above are based on hard data … actual data on spend and performance and conversions. But hard data like this doesn’t tell us something very important: why marketers are doing what they’re doing.

Or, of course, why they’re not.

So we surveyed over 900 marketers who run ad campaigns, and what we found is that marketers who fail to create mobile growth don’t fail because they they don’t know what to do — at least at the macro level. Instead, they fail because they don’t know how to accomplish what they need to do effectively, at scale, while avoiding fraud.

Most marketers — 60% of them — understand that in order to access significant growth, they need to add media sources, or ad partners. The problem is that scaling is tough. In particular, scaling beyond known safe channels is dangerous.

Marketers know and trust just a few name-brand media sources. Going beyond those entails serious risk: from complexity, fraud, management, knowledge/skills gap, and more.

As a result, most marketers simply try harder with partners they already know. Even though they believe that the best way to grow is by adding more ad networks, they turn to optimizing with existing, known networks instead of experimentation with new, unproven options.

Optimization is not bad. In fact, it’s a critical part of success.

But when marketers are optimizing on only a very limited subset of possible partners, they’re reducing their chances of bigger-picture success. Getting small incremental wins is great, but opening up entirely new veins of fast growth is better.

Most of this problem is simply due to lack of needed tools for scaling growth safely and profitably via marketing intelligence. Essentially, the price growth marketers pay for the lack of marketing intelligence is sub-optimal growth.

How to unlock breakthrough mobile growth

We’ve talked to the top echelon of mobile marketers who are achieving outsized growth. And we know how they’re doing it.

Download the full free report Scaling Mobile Growth report to get the answers, including:

  • 4 critical levers that top growth marketers optimize
  • 3 key ways top marketers achieve smart insights on growth opportunities
  • 3 toolsets top growth marketers use to run their campaigns
  • 7 ad partners who are delivering outsized returns

Testing and trying more marketing options improves results. It lowers costs, and it increases conversions. It’s what all marketers instinctively know, but it’s also hard.

And it does come with more risk.

With the right tool, however, marketers can understand what’s happening. Measure it. Analyze it for results. And use strategies and insights that allow them to beat the market … achieving significantly great results for less cost.

That translates directly to competitive benefit. And, ultimately, to faster growth.

Get the full report on how to get started.

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.