Mobile App Terminology


What are impressions?

When a user views an advertisement, this is referred to as an impression (sometimes called a view-through). Not to be confused with an engagement, an impression just means that someone has viewed an ad, regardless if they’ve clicked through or engaged with the ad. This means the user may have simply seen the ad on their social media feed, for example, and continued scrolling.

What’s the difference between reach vs. impressions?

Reach is a similar marketing metric to impressions. Reach is the total unique number of people that sees your content, whereas an impression is the number of times your content is displayed, even if it’s seen by the same person 100 times.

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How are impressions used by marketers?

The reason that impressions are important in mobile marketing is that they’re a common method of purchasing ad inventory and measuring performance of ads.

In particular, one common advertising payment method is called cost per mile (CPM) in which the advertiser pays a certain price for their ad to be shown 1,000 times, in other words, to receive 1000 impressions. This means if an ad campaign has a CPM rate of $10, the advertiser would pay $10 every time their ad received 1,000 impressions.

Impressions can also then be used to compare the effectiveness of different marketing channels. For example, if an advertiser wants to know whether their Facebook ad campaign or their Google Ads campaign is more effective, one preliminary way of doing that is comparing the number of impressions generated by each for the same amount of ad spend. If the Facebook campaign generates more impressions, it’s likely that it’s reaching more people and it could be more effective. To know that for sure, you’ll have to calculate LTV, or lifetime value, from customers or users acquired, and ROAS, or return on ad spend.

As discussed in our guide on impression-level revenue data:

“Granularity is critical in mobile ad monetization,” says Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv. “Understanding the relative value of their ad impressions helps mobile publishers optimize their apps for maximum revenue. It also helps them improve user experience by making decisions that can minimize irrelevant and wasted ads.”

Another important use case of impressions is to calculate other marketing metrics such as click-through rates (CTR). CTR is simply the number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of impressions. So, if an ad has a CTR of 0.5%, that means that for every 1,000 impressions, the ad receives 5 clicks.

Regardless of which marketing metric is being used, it’s essential for marketers to track and optimize these metrics over time in order to improve ROAS.

How does Singular track impressions?

As a leader in marketing analytics and mobile attribution, Singular tracks and aggregates marketing metrics such as impressions for more efficient reporting. As discussed in our article on understanding Singular Reporting:

Singular’s goal is to get your marketing data from your ad networks, attribution tracker, and other sources, and merge it into one report where:

  • Stats from the network side (such as campaign cost) and stats from the tracker side (such as install and revenue) appear in the same row so you can calculate your ROI and other KPIs.
  • Data from different platforms is standardized as needed to help you compare data across ad networks.
  • Data is shown in the highest possible granularity.

In summary, Singular provides marketers the tools they need to track, analyze, and optimize the performance of their marketing campaigns, and in turn, increase the ROI of their marketing efforts.

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