Mobile App Terminology

Self attributing network

What is a self attributing network (SAN)?

A self attributing network, or SAN, refers to an ad network that measures its results internally, which means they have a different relationship with third party mobile measurement partners (MMP). Many of the largest and most popular ad networks are SANs including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, and several others.

SANs are different from traditional ad networks, which report user activity (i.e. clicks) prior to the app install or conversion event report. Conversely, SANs provide user activity to attribution providers like Singular through an API after the event has taken place. Attribution providers, or MMPs, see an install, and request more information from the SAN associated with the device ID for the phone or table where the install happened. Then the two platforms share data and MMPs like Singular enrich the conversion data with additional insights from the self attributing network.

However, with the removal of IDFA in iOS 14 however, device IDs are not used in SAN and MMP reporting anymore on iOS, though they continue to be in use on Android.

As highlighted by Admiral Media:

Apple announced they will be stripping Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others of their status as self-attributing networks in the next version of iOS. With this change, advertisers will be able to opt in to get copies of the winning postbacks via SKAN, Apple’s privacy-preserving attribution API for iOS 14 and above.

You can learn more about iOS 14, 15 and how they will affect attribution in our blog post on Advertiser access to SKAdNetwork postbacks, App Privacy Report, and more from WWDC.

Want to accurately attribute your SANs campaigns?

Learn about Singular’s partnership with the largest SANs out there!

How self attributing networks work

In a typical customer journey, a user is often exposed to and interacts with multiple ads on the way to an eventual conversion. In order to manage this data with both attribution providers and SANs, they need to make requests from each other to complete the attribution.

For example, below is an overview of how attribution works between a SAN and MMP:

  • A user is shown an ad shown by a SAN, clicks through to the app landing page, and completes the install
  • The SAN records the conversion, click, and impression data associated with the user
  • An MMP also records the app install conversion via its SDK embedded in the app
  • The MMP then sends device data about the event to the SAN via an API
  • If the SAN has data that corresponds with the device, the SAN sends back the click, impression, and other touch-level data for attribution
  • The MMP then joins the SAN data with conversion data for the device, which is then aggregated and can be displayed in the MMPs dashboard

This example shows how marketers rely on both MMP and SANs in order to get a complete picture of the customer journey.

Want to accurately attribute your SANs campaigns

Learn about Singular’s partnership with the largest SANs out there!

How Singular works with self attributing networks

As a leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, Singular partners with many of the largest SANs such as Facebook, Google Ads, Twitter, Apple Search Ads, Snapchat, and Yahoo Gemini. These partners share touch-level data such as clicks and impressions so Singular can accurately track install attribution. As highlighted in our Knowledge Base, instead of using tracking links:

Singular reports installs to the partner, and the partner reports back on whether there was a matching ad click or view in the partner’s advertising platform.

In summary, Singular works with the largest SANs in order to provide marketers with a holistic view of their marketing data, including attribution for a multitouch customer journey. With access to granular marketing analytics and cost aggregation, this enables marketers to understand the true performance of each campaign, optimize their marketing budgets accordingly, and increase the ROI on their marketing efforts.

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