Traditional MMPs are dead. Welcome to next-generation attribution

By Ron Konigsberg June 28, 2021

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
 – John Donne (paraphrase)

There’s a reason the first mobile measurement platform was initially called Mobile App Tracking. Traditional MMPs were built to follow the activity on your phone. Life was very simple:

  • See an ad. UDID
  • Click an ad. Deeplink
  • Install an app. Fingerprint
  • Complete level 3. GAID
  • Buy a power-up to storm the castle and rescue the fairy prince/ess. IDFA
  • Click on a cross-marketed ad and install another app. IDFV

Trackers powered the mobile growth machine by collecting impression, click, install, and conversion data and revealing it to app developers, publishers, and marketers. Now that’s changing. Today with the ongoing deprecation of freely available device IDs and the introduction of advanced privacy regulations and frameworks, that world is disappearing.

Those MMPs that cannot survive in a more complex world of different data from more sources with less certainty will disappear along with it.


A new world of marketing measurement

While you could trace the new world of marketing measurement in mobile back a decade or more (right back to when Apple and Google dropped hard-coded device IDs and switched to advertising IDs to boost users’ privacy), it really started in earnest in 2019. That’s when Google announced that app installs resulting from iOS search activity would be modeled, not granular, and … not shared with third-party measurement tools. Now, to give marketers an accurate picture of what they were actually achieving we had to blend data from multiple sources to provide a holistic view of performance.

This spring iOS 14.5 turned the dial to 11, of course.

IDFA is now scarce, and while SKAdNetwork returns deterministic data about installs and conversions, none of it is tied to a device or person. Plus, while Android still offers an advertising identifier, the GAID, we see Google experimenting with FloC and other privacy-centric technologies that likely foreshadow additional changes and increased fragmentation of marketing data and best practices between the major mobile operating systems.

This comes close to eliminating the traditional role of the MMP.

Suddenly, a mobile measurement company must be more than a simple tracker to be useful to marketers.

If you are just an MMP, you see ad impressions. You measure clicks. You keep track of app installs. You cross-reference those with clicks and perform attribution. You get post-install events and calculate ROI and ROAS. As we all know, this is exactly the functionality that is being increasingly limited.

But it’s important to remember something critical:

This has always been only one chapter in a much larger story.


Looking at the bigger picture

For traditional MMPs, app installs happen by magic. They are created ex nihilo … one moment there’s nothing and the next POOF … a click, an install, and maybe a conversion.

That is not how a marketer sees app installs, however.

A marketer selects an audience, makes a campaign, designs creatives, chooses channels, picks partners. When the marketer gets a click, it’s not a surprise. An install is not a happy coincidence generated by random variables. A conversion doesn’t magically show up out of the blue. They happen as a result of all that planning … which a traditional MMP has zero visibility into.

Among the marketing measurement companies commonly referred to as MMPs, Singular is the only player with insight into all the key chapters of that growth story. And unlike other MMPs out there, Singular is well-positioned to help marketers optimize for growth at every stage of the journey … whether it’s mobile-centric, web-enabled, or multi-platform.

That’s because our goal has always been to connect as many data sources as possible: upper funnel and lower funnel, across channels and devices, campaign data and results, costs and ROI, bids and budgets … should I go on?

And, of course, our goal has always been to combine that data in interesting ways. The consequence is that Singular provides insights traditional MMPs can only dream of.

Want visibility into your creative performance? You’re going to need upper funnel data: campaigns, creative, impressions, clicks. Want to make them most effective for analysis? You’re going to need to combine that with lower funnel data: installs, actions, engagement, conversions. Want incrementality? You need every data source and piece of metadata, you need normalization and standardization, you need upper and lower funnel. Want cross-platform and cross-device? You need web as well as mobile.

This new reality is much more complex than the old one. It requires many different data sources.

If you’re merely a mobile SDK, you only see a fraction of the activity.

What you need is an MMP with a complete marketing data infrastructure — beyond just a mobile tracker — to empower growth marketers to see the entire marketing picture, get the full growth story, and capture the kind of advertising insights you need to optimize. You need tools that futureproof your efforts for a vastly changed (and continually changing) marketing ecosystem.


Different marketers have different needs

Singular isn’t the solution for everyone, and the next-generation attribution we’re building won’t fit every marketer’s need. But it is built for two specific types of marketers.

1) Mobile-first marketers: app is the majority of your product
Clearly, an MMP-style solution has typically been the solution of choice for mobile-first app marketers.

As an official MMP, this has always been a key part of our offering. However, we built it as a component of a complete mobile marketing infrastructure: collecting additional data sets and integrating directly with your internal systems.

Now more and more mobile-first growth marketers are seeing the benefits of this broader solution.

Non-MMPs can’t help: they can’t measure what you need to optimize. Traditional MMPs understand your business, but their hands are tied behind their backs in a changing world with less deterministic device identifier-based data. This marketers needs more than what a traditional MMP can offer: need extended visibility from data that can never be taken away … and security that comes with knowing you are protected as future change occurs.

In this emerging reality with Singular’s breadth of data sources and out-of-the-box cross-platform attribution, app marketers can own a full solution in one product.

2) Omnichannel marketers: app is part of your overall solution
Brand marketers in CPG or fintech or travel or other verticals have different challenges.

You need mobile measurement that only a traditional MMP can provide, but you probably also need additional tools, perhaps web-native and desktop, perhaps marketing clouds and CRM, to feed, run, manage and measure other components of your marketing activities.

There isn’t one solution that gives you everything, but Singular not only provides marketing measurement for mobile but also for web, or email, or anything else digital, and provides tools that neither traditional MMPs nor web-native marketing platforms can offer. And, of course, Singular integrates well into your suite of growth management tools.


Next-gen measurement: reinventing simplicity in an era of increasing complexity

What worked for traditional MMPs was simplicity: assigning attribution based on the last click, checking source apps and channels, viewing campaign ROI, generating insights about what to stop, what to start, and what to scale. In our past mobile marketing reality, this was not difficult.

That reality is changing.

And that level of simplicity is increasingly just not an option for marketers anymore.

Now you need all the data you can get. It comes in differing levels of granularity. It comes in multiple datasets from multiple partners. It includes campaign data like creatives, bids, and budgets. It combines attribution data like outcomes, installs, sales, conversions, achievements. It’s from the web. It’s from mobile. It’s SKAdNetwork, and it’s IDFA and GAID. Now you have to combine these data sets for both deterministic outcomes and probabilistic correlations to positive outcomes. Media mix modeling and incrementality are both paths to the same thing: understanding what builds value and generates desired action.

Singular is in the best possible position to help app and brand marketers achieve this. We’re the global experts in bringing it all together and making it fit. And we’d love to show you how we make the complex simple.


Talk with us

Interested in learning more about how you can futureproof your marketing growth with next-gen analytics and attribution?

Let us know. We’ll be in touch.

Stay up to date on the latest happenings in digital marketing

Simply send us your email and you’re in! We promise not to spam you.