Mobile App Terminology

Ad spend

What is ad spend?

Ad spend is simply the amount of money you are spending on advertising campaigns. Depending on how you account for ad spend, you may simply measure actual spending on ad placements, or you may include costs for agencies and ad operations personnel.

Ad spend can be measured in multiple ways, including:

  • CPM: Cost per thousand impressions
  • CPC: Cost per click
  • CPL: Cost per lead
  • CPA: Cost per action
  • CPS: Cost per sale
  • CPI: Cost per install

While cost is a simple concept, aggregating cost across multiple channels is not. Often, ad spend data is fragmented, and even when you manage to pull it together it won’t map properly to your revenue data because each of your ad networks uses different schemas or terminology.

Want to understand your return on ad spend?

Learn how Singular can help!

What are the uses of ad spend?

One of the primary use cases of tracking your ad spend is to measure a campaign’s ROAS, or return on ad spend. With the number of ad platforms available to mobile marketers, the ability to accurately collect and attribute ad spend to a dollar value return is incredibly valuable. By analyzing ad spend data and ROAS, marketers are able to determine which campaigns, targeting, creative, and so on, are providing the highest return on investment.  As Adespresso highlights in their guide to ROAS:

If you want to gain an accurate insight into the effectiveness of your campaigns using ROAS, you need to make sure you are considering all your ad costs.

Although the concept of ad spend is simple, the reality of online advertising is that various events in each network can often skew the data and hence your analytics. These distorted metrics then make it much more challenging for marketers to determine their true ROI and subsequently allocate more budgets to their most profitable campaigns.

To solve this challenge, mobile marketing attribution companies like Singular have built technology that automates the collection of ad spend data, data visualization, and ROI analysis from media providers.

As discussed in our guide to ad cost aggregation, there are main three types of collecting ad spend:

  • Direct data connectors to all media and platform integrations
  • Mobile attribution with tracking link parameters:
  • Manual reconciliation in a spreadsheet

Each of these methods has its advantages and limitations, although in order to collect 100% data completeness and accuracy is with the first method. With direct API access to media sources, marketers are able to ingest data from any source in real-time. This technique also provides marketers the ability to accurately attribute the media providers data with retroactive changes. In addition to ad spend data, this API connection can also pull a wealth of data for campaign optimization including creative, bids, campaign, and more.

Want to understand your return on ad spend?

Learn how Singular can help!

How Singular facilitates ad spend aggregation?

Singular is the premier way to measure ad spend and manage cost aggregation in mobile marketing. In the past, many app marketers have relied on copying and pasting ad spend from various partner dashboards into their own spreadsheet to aggregate costs, which can end up being a significant amount of unnecessary work.

To solve this, Singular set out to address the problem of cost aggregation for mobile marketers over five years ago. Since inception, the company has evolved to streamline the entire process of ad spend analytics, all the way from collecting spend data to providing data visualization tools. This enables marketers to efficiently analyze the marketing spend and ultimately improve their overall ROAS. In particular, a few of the advantages of a cost aggregation tool like Singular include:

  • Making faster decisions with accurate, cross-platform analytics
  • Saving time by transforming previously siloed marketing data into a consolidated dashboard
  • Aligning multiple teams and stakeholders with a single source of truth

At a high level, there are three main steps to solve the problem of siloed ad spend data:

  • Collect: First, the tool extracts costs and other marketing data from any of our 1000+ partner integrations.
  • Transform: Next, the data is cleaned, organized, and enriched in order to provide marketers with an accurate view of campaign performance.
  • Analyze: The data is then displayed inside Singular and ready for analysis in real-time across all channels.
  • Load: If you prefer to use your own tool, you can also choose to load standardized and enriched data directly into an external data warehouse or reporting tool.

In summary, in looking for an ad spend cost aggregation tool marketers should look for a platform that offers accurate data, complete coverage of their partner networks, real-time data collection, and granularity. With these standards in place, marketers will have the right tools to improve the ROI of their campaigns.

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