Marketers are thinking about mobile attribution completely wrong

By Gadi Eliashiv April 12, 2018

Why Singular is creating the new marketing data standard for mobile attribution

Since launching Singular 4 years ago, we’ve worked with some of the largest mobile apps, along with an expansive set of mobile marketing solutions to become the de-facto Marketing Data Platform. Singular provides a single source of truth for marketing campaign performance by merging three core datasets that historically existed in silos:

  1. Media sources:
    Ad spend, campaign information, creative performance, targeting options
  2. Attribution:
    Clicks, attributed app installs, tracking links, postbacks
  3. BI:
    Customer profiles, post-install events, predictive LTV, cross-platform revenue

We developed a technology unlike any in existence — instead of building another stand alone marketing solution (advertising channel, email service, re-engagement tool, etc.) — Singular built a platform that could connect data across all the different siloed solutions in the marketing stack, standardize it, and make it actionable for mobile marketers. Using Singular, the leading marketers easily get the analytics and insights they need to maximize ROI across their mobile campaigns.

While we initially set out to collect and connect every piece of marketing and attribution data in a single platform, customers were still challenged with combining these datasets together. We recognized that there are two very different types of data that marketers needed: certain data is only available in aggregate (i.e. ad spend), while other datasets are aggregated from user level data (i.e. app install attribution). Combining these is like trying to assemble a puzzle with pieces from different sets. It simply doesn’t work… the pieces are not built to fit together.

Today we want to talk about a mistreated piece of the marketing stack: Mobile Attribution.

We’ve witnessed an odd approach to Mobile Attribution throughout the years. Legacy mobile attribution providers defined this market in a silo with no understanding of how media sources actually deliver campaigns. While attribution providers built their products to gather the bare minimum data needed to attribute an app install, media sources have infinitely outpaced them in complexity and depth with campaigns using enhanced targeting and multiple variations of creatives. Instead of matching the sophistication of the sources to provide marketers with more insights to optimize on, legacy attribution providers focused on one-upping the other with marketing jargon-filled features lists and a race to be the cheapest solution out there.

The irony here, is this siloed approach to mobile attribution is the #1 reason massive gaps exist in datasets today, making it nearly impossible for marketers to trace the customer journey. We’ve often been asked to solve these gaps within Singular, but there was nothing we could do since the problem originates with the way legacy attribution platforms were built. So in 2017, we decided to kill the status quo.

Mid last year, we came across an opportunity to acquire Apsalar, an established mobile attribution provider and an exclusive Mobile Measurement Partner of Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. This was a big and bold decision, but we had a solid conviction that we needed to own the Mobile Attribution piece of the puzzle to fill the drastic data holes that had become standard for app marketers.

So how does our approach actually solve the data challenge?

1: We did not pursue “sufficient” attribution functionality or just reach industry parity – we built the best attribution product in existence, by any objective measure.

Recognizing Attribution as critical infrastructure, we utilized learnings from the entire mobile attribution ecosystem to build the industry’s best of breed attribution stack from the ground up. Just imagine if the legacy attribution providers could rebuild their platforms with today’s knowledge of partner integrations, fraud, data privacy regulations, real-time data processing, and data warehousing.

2: We’ve given marketers a dataset that is entirely complete, accurate and extremely granular spanning all of the tools and sources in their marketing stack.

We built attribution natively into Singular’s larger data platform, rather than patching in another siloed attribution stack. Using the knowledge acquired over 4 years of mapping the ecosystem to understand every datapoint reported by every source (and how to standardize it), we built Singular’s attribution to fit all of our proven workflows and data connectors.

3: We redefined how businesses consume marketing data.

Where previously BI teams struggled to assemble different datasets sourced from various APIs, exports and postbacks, we invented new streamlined APIs for easy access to all marketing data. Once-challenging BI projects are now completely trivial.

4: We provide a team of business strategists to help scale marketing in the best way possible.

In accordance with the Singular philosophy, we’ve focused on the customer experience. We provide 24/7 global support, in-region customer success teams and continued improvements on the product based on feedback.

And what can we provide that a siloed mobile attribution provider can’t?

Our customers now have unparalleled control over their data, standardized marketing and attribution datasets, the analytics on their marketing campaign performance at the most granular levels, the tools to further analyze this data in their own BI and most importantly, the ability to construct the full customer journey.

I’m proud to say our decision to create a new standard, the “Singular Standard,” for complete marketing data was one of the most important and successful decisions we’ve made in Singular’s history. Companies like Rovio, LinkedIn, Sam’s Club, N3TWORK, are among the pioneers of the future marketing stack, and they are being joined by the masses every quarter.

In fact, I’ll let the number speak for themselves:

If you’re ready to remove the data deficit in your stack caused by legacy attribution providers and bring on an innovative approach, we would be happy to talk to you.


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