Glossary
Mobile App Terminology

Cost aggregation


What is cost aggregation?

Cost aggregation is the reconciliation of all your marketing spend. This may be easy with one marketing partner, but as modern marketers add media partners and marketing campaigns across mobile, desktop, TV, offline, email, and more, cost aggregation becomes more and more challenging.

Getting all the data is the first challenge. A good cost aggregation solution solves the need to log into any number of different web dashboards. But aggregating the data in a sensible way that is sensitive to every marketing partner’s terms and standardizes the data so you can add apples to apples while keeping them separate from the oranges is another challenge altogether. 

Cost data from marketing partners is generally highly fragmented and non-standard. Even if you manually collect the data from each source, it doesn’t always map to the associated revenue or outcome data, as each platform applies different schemas to the dataset. 

Many marketers use all three of the major advertising platforms (Facebook, Google, and Apple) at minimum, and most use dozens of additional media sources, traffic partners, and ad networks in their marketing mix. This makes collecting, standardizing, and analyzing data from each source a major challenge for marketers.

Uses of cost aggregation

One of the most important use cases of cost aggregation is to accurately determine and analyze the ROI of a marketing campaign, or ROAS if it is paid ad spend. The reality is that manually collecting cost data from various media sources is time-consuming and inefficient. Equally difficult is the process of standardizing this data into a format that can be quickly analyzed by marketers.

Unifying, standardizing, and visualizing ad spend data in a single cost aggregation platform makes the task of improving ROI much more effective. In order to achieve this goal, our guide to cost aggregation describes three primary methods:

  • Direct data connectors: First, data connectors directly sync to each media source and automatically collect raw data. This approach uses a direct API integration in order to avoid human error and guarantee the accuracy of the data, although Singular can work with imports and extracts as well. Regardless whether the data is on mobile, desktop, or offline, a direct data connector provides an accurate match of the network’s data, including any retroactive data changes that may occur. In addition to cost data, this approach provides a vast amount of data that can help in the optimization process, such as creative details, targeting information, bids and budgets, top-funnel results like clicks and impressions, and more.
  • Mobile Attribution Tracking Links: The next approach involves manually attaching macros to tracking links that are created within your mobile attribution provider. This approach means that cost data is appended to each ad click. Although this approach can be useful, there are often discrepancies in the data of 30% or more. Since the ad spend data from tracking links will likely differ from what you’re actually charged, this makes it extremely difficult to accurately analyze the ROI of each campaign.
  • Manual reconciliation: Finally, the last approach is to manually export all the data from each media source into a spreadsheet. This involves normalizing the data, reconciling any changes, and then trying to map it with your attribution. Ultimately, this approach is incredibly time-consuming and often results in a low degree of confidence and accuracy.

As many marketers have experienced, only the first approach of using data connectors and direct API integrations can ensure the accuracy and completeness of data. In addition to accuracy, this approach automates many manual tasks and frees up the marketing team to focus on optimizing campaigns and improving ROI.

How Singular facilitates cost aggregation

Singular is the leading solution for cost reporting and aggregation, extracting, cleaning, and enriching your data so you can get a real-time view on performance across channels and partners. And Singular has 100% coverage for all your partners and data sources.

As mentioned, the only way to ensure 100% data accuracy and completeness is using direct data connectors to each media source. To achieve this, Singular works in the following way:

  • Connect: Data is collected using direct API integrations to web dashboards, email, or internal BI solutions. Regardless of the data source, the API provides a flexible integration to ingest marketing data.
  • Transform: The data is automatically transformed by standardizing, unifying, and enriching it in order to prepare it for analysis.
  • Analyze: By providing a holistic view of marketing performance across each channel, the reporting platform allows marketers to quickly visualize, analyze, and optimize campaigns.

  • Load: If you prefer to use your own internal tool, you can also load standardized and enriched data back into a data warehouse such as BigQuery and feed it into other reporting platforms like Looker and Tableau.

In summary, Singular provides marketers with the tools they need to automate their cost aggregation process in order to efficiently analyze, optimize, and report on each campaign’s ROI.

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