Welcome to mobile attribution’s first-ever recession: What you need now

By John Koetsier June 16, 2020

What do modern marketers need from mobile attribution in 2020?

There’s not a lot of history to guide mobile marketers on what to do in a global pandemic and a worldwide recession. Mobile is now a massive part of our lives and our industry, but it’s still incredibly young: barely more than a decade old. The App Store wasn’t launched until 2008, and smartphones didn’t achieve 50% penetration until 2014. Mobile attribution itself is just eight or nine years old, and the mobile growth stack as a whole is a very recent invention. 

That means mobile, mobile marketing, and mobile attribution have never gone through a major economic recession or depression. 

It also means that we have few precedents to understand how they’ll react and that we don’t fully know how all this will impact modern marketers. The good news for mobile marketers is that COVID-19 has made mobile even more important for business, for connection, and for almost every other activity we engage in. That bodes well for mobile continuing to not just be a viable space, but doing well and possibly even growing, even if the wider economy shrinks.

The bad news is that if the quarantine and shutdown efforts shrink the wider economy enough, even a good news story will turn negative. Mobile can’t grow enough to stay in the black if the economy craters too hard.

Ultimately, like everything else in 2020, expect change.

What we’ve seen from mobile attribution

We know the historical impact. Singular customers have demonstrated the result that mobile attribution which unifies spend and return in a single platform can have.

One retail customer boosted sales 2X with attribution. Another boosted sales 72% with 24% less ad spend. A gaming customer doubled installs. Another saved 15-20 hours a week in data management. A delivery customer grew conversion rates almost 200%. The average customer that leverages Singular’s granular insights boosts conversions 2X.

All pre-Coronavirus.

All before the shutdown boost in app installs. Before working from home and a massive jump in gaming, retail, and social. And before we saw retention rates suffer from COVID-19 mobile trends.

What about now?


Mobile marketing: key challenges TODAY

Mobile marketing in general is hard. Mobile user acquisition at scale is one of the more challenging tasks in our modern economy. 

That was true long before anyone ever heard about COVID-19 or there was an inkling of Coronavirus, a shutdown, or a virus-driven economic recession. In 2019, mobile marketers told us the key challenges in their jobs included managing scale, understanding cross-platform measurement and incrementality, unifying siloed data, fraud detection, and more.

None of those challenges magically disappeared in the last four months. But now we have a whole new set of problems to join them. Finances are tighter. Funding is less certain. Monetization is less dependable. All bets are off when hundreds of millions of people globally are out of work or locked into their homes. 

In addition, post-Coronavirus, you’re probably getting fewer resources. You likely have less budget. You might have fewer people. And even if you’re in one of the categories that are way up, your CEO is worried about long-term financial stability and is therefore probably more risk-averse than ever before.

All of which is to say: for marketers, driving exponential marketing impact has never been more urgent or important. 

And, most likely, it’s never been harder. 

What you desperately need from mobile attribution now

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? You need exactly what you needed before, but more.

And less.

You need the same boost in performance that got Home & Shopping a 73% increase in ROI on 24% less ad spend and a 15% decrease in cost per purchase. You need double the installs with 22% less cost. You need more automation and less busywork so you can save 15+ hours/week. You need 85% more growth with less time spent on marketing data management.


Straight-up, it starts by being smarter than your competition. The best of them are marketing scientifically. They might be saving literally six figures monthly thanks to deterministic fraud prevention. They are probably using custom dimensions to tailor attribution and marketing analytics in real-time automatically to their specific vertical, business model, and company KPIs. They also use creative analytics to instantly tell which ads get the highest click-through rate and the best conversion rate across all their ad partners … without having to calculate a single parameter.

It is all about exposing opportunity and minimizing risk.

You need a fast and painless way to measure marketing activities at very granular levels in order to quickly identify top-performing channels and make optimizations. You need to reveal previously inaccessible insights on performance, so you can quickly shift budgets away from under-performing initiatives and optimize top-performing channels. You need to monitor marketing budgets across campaigns in real-time to effectively track performance to goals and avoid overspending.

Report: 7 things your mobile attribution doesn’t do (but should)

Right now, every last dollar has to count. Everything that can be optimized must be. And anything that can be automated needs to be. If you’re not using Singular to boost ROAS and manage spend, now’s the time to try. There’s a free option for SMBs, and there are amazing plans for enterprise and at-scale marketers.

Here’s what you need now more than ever (get the full report here):

Make marketing data simple

  1. Automatic collection and combining of your most important datasets
  2. No more tedious data transformation tasks
  3. Marketing data that matches every time across all your ad partners
  4. Unified upper-funnel campaign data with lower-funnel attribution data
  5. Standardized and normalized data
  6. Comprehensive ROI reporting at all dimensions
  7. Accurate, timely and actionable insights
  8. ETL to get your data wherever you need it, ready to go


Unlock granular and aggregate analytics

  1. Pockets of profitable growth identified quickly
  2. Less wasted spend
  3. High-level snapshot of all your data at once
  4. Ad creatives side-by-side with metrics 
  5. Creative clustering to automatically group similar ads across sets and partners
  6. Holistic view of ad monetization
  7. Better decisions about campaign performance and channels 
  8. Easier scaling of marketing efforts efficiently and intelligently


Customize data views automatically

  1. Unique analytics for your unique KPIs
  2. Easy custom grouping of data by dimensions that matter (to you)
  3. Simple breakouts by geo and market
  4. Automated custom reports
  5. Business unit breakdowns
  6. Funnel stage breakdowns
  7. Custom metrics including aggregated metrics and calculated metrics
  8. Custom events


Connect cross-platform web-mobile journeys

  1. Unified cross-platform journeys
  2. Connected spend/return on every dollar on every platform
  3. Touchpoints for custom MTA models
  4. Digital and non-digital platforms
  5. Retargeting


Prevent fraud

  1. Deterministic, not probabilistic fraud prevention
  2. Proactive, not reactive days, weeks, or months later
  3. Real-time
  4. Transparent: you and ad partners get user-level decision logic
  5. Built-in, no extra cost
  6. Customizable, not hard-coded
  7. Most powerful in the industry with documented savings for named clients in the six figures per month


Activate near-real-time segments

  1. World-class audiences capability
  2. Precision generation of specific audiences
  3. Automated distribution of audience segments across all media sources
  4. Regular and automated syncing of audiences
  5. Highly customizable


Inspire trust

  1. Used by top-10 global companies
  2. Trusted by the best data-driven marketers on the planet
  3. Used by top brands who are winning in their categories

For more details, get the full report or talk to us

It’s about survival. And it’s about winning

Your category has a lot to say about your results right now. Gaming’s up. Retail’s up. Business services and social media are up right now too. But travel has challenges — with some recovery. And other categories are feeling the impact of COVID-19.

So you might be focused on just surviving right now.

Or you might be doing fairly well, all things considered, and focusing on beating the competition. 

Either way, you need to simplify marketing data and rationalize different datasets from partners. You need clean data that’s standardized and collected for you to make your team more efficient, and to make testing new partners relatively easy and painless. You need to expose full funnel performance metrics that are custom to your business. You need to optimize each channel and each campaign, and shift budgets from poor performers to top performers.

Ultimately, that’s going to result in positioning yourself best in tough economic times, if they persist, as well as in recovery, as it continues. 

Get the full report here!

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