General availability: Singular Private Cloud for marketing measurement and attribution

By Alon Nafta December 2, 2021

Today, we are announcing the general availability of Singular Private Cloud: a complete mobile measurement and attribution solution that runs on a dedicated cloud environment that is owned and controlled by advertisers themselves. Singular Private Cloud leverages data clean room technologies that allow advertisers to control, collaborate, and use data in a privacy-safe way best-suited to their individual needs.

We are proud to share that we’ve been live with the Singular Private Cloud solution for the past 18 months (!!), which has allowed us to evolve the technology and environment to dynamically work with any future privacy frameworks. (Anecdotally, when we first started, SKAdNetwork did not even exist in its current form, and this was a major change that was added to the solution during beta testing.)

The Singular Private Cloud solution allows brands and advertisers to maintain complete control over their growth stack, marketing measurement, and sensitive user data in an environment that they own and manage themselves. These new developments in data clean room technology will allow us to continue to innovate, and promise exciting opportunities as the technologies mature (which we’ll dive into later!).

Why Singular Private Cloud?

In today’s advertising landscape, it is no longer uncommon for marketers to learn about a new privacy-driven change and its effect on how they measure.

The recent iOS changes were very notably a striking demonstration, and it seems that every couple of months there is another change that marketers and marketing tools have to account for. The forces behind these changes are often regulatory, but media platforms such as Facebook or Google also often introduce changes to better accommodate for the public’s increased interest and scrutiny in how personal data is being collected, stored and used.

Mobile Measurement Partners, also known as MMPs, are often at the forefront of these changes. This is because:

  • We operate globally, so any country legislation has to be accounted for
  • We exchange sensitive information with all the media platforms, so any platform-specific requirements have to be met
  • By definition, we collect first-party and third-party data, and brands may have specific requirements as to how we should collect, store and/or process a specific data set

Private Cloud can be a challenging concept to understand in a practical way. To add some color to this, let’s think about a few real-life examples:

  • We have a customer whose privacy team determines that user data can only be saved for 30 days
  • For data originating in certain countries, new legislation declares that IP addresses are private data which cannot be saved in plaintext
  • A media partner or ad network shares data with Singular, but only allows certain brands to access it, and only in very specific ways, with custom limitations per brand
  • A Fortune-100 company wants to have its first-party data stored in a dedicated database

All of these are real examples that we see at Singular regularly, and need to accommodate. As consumers become more conscious about privacy, new requirements constantly emerge. To solve this, the industry needs to start thinking about MMPs as the facilitators of data clean rooms.

What are Data Clean Rooms?

A data clean room is an environment (for example, a data lake on a public cloud), which allows multiple parties to share data in a mutually agreed upon manner. Sometimes this will be described as privacy-safe, but how the data is used is dependent on specifical rules. In this case, it simply means that there are certain privacy-driven rules applied to how and what data is entering and leaving this environment, and what data is accessible to each party.

In the marketing landscape, this translates to brands (advertisers) whose data is the first-party data collected on their assets such as a mobile app. Other parties include publishers and media platforms: notably the walled gardens such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Interestingly for mobile advertising, MMPs were always somewhat of a data clean room since by their very definition, MMPs can access unique data sets that advertisers cannot … for example, click data for an ad. As such, MMPs always had various sets of rules they had to follow, mandated by the media and hardware platforms themselves.

In the last few years, more and more rules have been added due to a growing number of new privacy regulations. These changes have also led to increasing demand for data clean rooms and new technologies that would allow them to adapt to both new external constraints as well as brand-specific requirements.

Finally, while not strictly mandatory in its definition, it is assumed that for data clean rooms, the environment is completely isolated between different brand and publisher combinations. And this is a big technological leap that MMPs have not taken so far.

MMP evolution in the privacy landscape

MMPs facilitate mobile measurement and attribution and often, such as in the case of Singular, also collect additional data sets for the purposes of rich analytics.

Singular is responsible for collecting a multitude of data sets. There are aggregated data sets such as ad spend, creative, and bid data, which is then combined with device-level impressions, clicks and events. Advertisers often send additional first-party data, for example subscription information, so that ultimately Singular can calculate and visualize the KPIs that matter most towards optimization.

These data sets, especially the device-level ones, are at the intersection of multiple sets of constraints and requirements that MMPs have to accommodate for.

A few examples:

  • Apple and Google have platform-specific requirements for mobile apps to get published on the App and Play Stores. Example: only using designated advertising IDs and not hardware IDs such as IMEI.
  • Apple and Google have also introduced additional privacy-driven initiatives such as those for kids apps and, of course, iOS 14.5.
  • Facebook, Google and all other Self-Attributing Networks (SANs) each have their own unique set of constraints that MMPs must meet, for example, on how and for how long device-level data is saved, and what type of data can be shared with the advertiser.
  • Regulations such as COPPA, GDPR and CCPA are both geo-specific and provide room for brands to interpret differently.
  • Privacy frameworks such as the UK’s AADC, Privacy Shield and others also translate to additional requirements on the data MMPs are collecting, processing and sharing.

If you generalize all of this, it’s pretty clear that MMPs are acting as data clean rooms. Thus, building the technology to quickly adapt to new requirements is critical in the current landscape and has to be an inherent component of the platform and design process.

Announcing Singular’s latest solution

Privacy technologies are constantly evolving, and new technologies for data processing in a privacy-safe manner are fascinating.

For example, federated learning could allow for some user data to never have to leave the device, without compromising measurement capabilities. Differential privacy methodologies can provide needed marketing optimization insights without accessing sensitive information tied to specific individuals.

All of these will play a rule in tomorrow’s data clean room.

But today, we can already provide to customers the ability to run on a dedicated measurement environment that provides the same exact set of capabilities you’re getting from our public platform. This means that mobile and web attribution, fraud prevention, cost aggregation, and ROAS and cohort reporting are all available in a dedicated environment, allowing your data to live and breathe in complete isolation from other brands’ data. Brands can apply customer-specific privacy rules to accommodate their specific privacy and legal teams’ unique requirements.

Over the past 18 months we’ve built the technology that allows us to operate these environments in a reliable and scalable manner, and we’ve been running with a few major brands as beta partners to bring this to general availability. I am excited to share that we can now offer Singular Private Cloud to additional customers.

What’s next?

Privacy tech is constantly changing and new technologies will allow us to take this even further. But most importantly, more and more brands adopting these platforms will meet us with additional needs and will accelerate our learnings as we continue to build for the purpose of providing better data and better measurement to the market.

Want to take ownership of your data and leverage Singular’s data clean room technology? Have more questions? There are a few more details in our press release.

Better yet, schedule time with one of our product experts.

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