February 27, 2019
To build or not to build: making build vs buy decisions for mobile attribution and cost aggregation (part 1)

Some of the larger marketing organizations we talk to in EMEA think about building cost aggregation and ROI insights themselves. They generally don’t see the full difficulty and continuous maintenance this project involves. In this article, I explore the challenges of building and why a solution like Singular meets and exceeds these need. This is part one; part two will arrive in a month.

EMEA is a hub of marketers big and small representing every type of app developer and web-centric marketer you can think of. Data explosion has affected each one. It has made actionable insights, which make all the difference in this competitive landscape, the holy grail of every growth marketing team.

Build vs buy

One question that is a serious challenge for them all: should we build an in-house solution or buy it from a third party?

Our customers are smart and between them own over 50% of the top 100 grossing apps. So it’s no surprise that they employ intelligent engineers and data-savvy growth teams who already have the knowledge of how to achieve cost aggregation and could have a good shot at the greater challenge of getting ROI in an accurate, timely manner … although getting ROI at the most granular levels would be a massive challenge.

Therefore, it’s not a question of whether they can do it, but rather should they do it. We found that when addressing this question, the same considerations led even the largest enterprises out there to outsource this crucial work to a marketing intelligence platform like Singular.

The first thing to take into account is the cost of undertaking such a huge project and the time to completion.

Engineering time is not cheap and a company can rack up several hundred thousand dollars to build the required infrastructure even before considering the ongoing cost of maintenance. Not to mention that a project of this size and complexity will take months to complete and in such a fast-paced industry, this is long enough to start falling behind the competition.

Cost is not just measured in currency

However, the cost of this is not just monetary.

Valuable technical resources likely need to be diverted from core product projects, which impedes innovation and custom developments that address the specific needs of the business, allowing even more breathing room for competitors.

Getting the foundations right is no easy feat: you have to get a framework for your BI system, make sure that your MMP matches that framework, and then map your cost APIs into it correctly to get full cost aggregation. Furthermore, if your marketing efforts extend beyond Google and Facebook, you will have to set up multiple APIs with all the different networks you run with and for any new networks you want to test in the future.

If engineering time is limited, as it often is, and new networks are not integrated – what is the impact of the inability to test on the business? The cost of passing on new inventory and networks with new targeting and ad format capabilities cannot be underestimated.

Once you have your APIs connected, additional work is required to configure the internal dashboards to display the new data. It’s a manual process that is prone to human error which can easily render datasets inaccurate and therefore unsuitable for optimization purposes. If you’re going down the build route, you’ll need to put in place time and resources for checking accuracy before you even start thinking about which data visualization platform you’ll use to make sense of it all.

From cost aggregation to marketing intelligence platform

That’s another reason why our customers choose Singular, a marketing intelligence platform built with the modern growth marketer in mind, addressing their requirements of instant access to reliable data for granular optimization.

Even if all the above is accomplished so that data is flowing in and is accurate which we’ve seen can be done, the issue of combining it with internal data sets poses a true challenge.

Filling in the gaps and delivering the insights requires a complex infrastructure with strong identifiers for combining purposes to enrich campaign and publisher granularity, which almost certainly still leaves creative level combining — and therefore creative ROI — beyond reach.

All this means a lot of data and heavy queries that slow down the internal systems.

Our research and customer feedback reveals that the above challenges, opportunity cost, and continuous and expensive maintenance of self-built infrastructure are what drives small and big enterprises alike to a conclusion that a third party is a better solution for this essential need.

What you actually buy from Singular

Here at Singular, we understand these challenges well — after all, we went through the pain of building it ourselves.

Our product is our bread and butter and we’ve gone far beyond the basics to build a true marketing intelligence platform that frees up engineering time of our clients to build marvelous things that uniquely aid their goals while giving growth marketers the tools that they need.

What you buy from Singular is beyond the aggregation and standardization you’d expect to build yourself: you buy a world-class solution that is focused on continued innovation and automation, to give you unrivaled insights and optimization capabilities.

You buy teams that build and support integrations, improve infrastructure and system performance, and constantly work to add new features. You buy a data science team that make it their business to spot discrepancies, a support team that handles data flow errors and API issues, and a stellar (if I may so so myself) customer success team that makes sure the platform is serving your business.

If you had engineering and BI time to spare — what would you build?

See how DGN Games grew 85% and saved 15 hours each week with Singular.

Next month we’ll hear from an EMEA customer about how Singular has enabled their business and aided their growth strategy. If you have ambitious goals and are thinking of buying or building, reach out to us about a demo to see what Singular could do for you.