Mobile App Terminology

Server-to-Server (S2S)

What is Server-to-Server (S2S)?

Also referred to as server-side tracking, Server-to-Server (S2S) is a method of sharing data about app or web activity from one server to another. On the web, S2S eliminates the need of a cookie on website visitors’ browsers or devices. In mobile apps, S2S eliminates the need for an app publisher to embed a measurement SDK (software development kit) into their apps prior to publishing.

On the web, Server-to-Server tracking works by sending data directly from two secure servers, without relying on a cookie in the user’s browser.

As Tinuiti highlights:

Server-to-Server tracking avoids the use of cookies by creating and storing a unique identifier when a user clicks a tracking link or generates an ad impression. If that user later converts, that unique identifier is matched back to the individual user via your server so you can better assess how your marketing has performed.

In other words, instead of using a traditional cookie for tracking, S2S generates a unique ID when the user clicks an ad or a link. As the user continues on their customer journey, and completes an eventual conversion, this unique ID can be used by a mobile measurement partner (MMP) to track and attribute the conversion to initial click.

For Singular, Server-to-Server is not so much about tracking as measurement. And it’s focused on mobile apps.

Some mobile app developers, generally those employed by large enterprises or major mobile publishers, prefer to not have an attribution SDK in their mobile app. That could be due to privacy reasons, but typically it’s simply a choice around simplicity, app size, app stability, and the ability to rapidly change their apps without worrying about built-in SDK dependencies.

In the mobile world, therefore, some app publishers decide to send app events to an MMP like Singular server-to-server, as opposed to letting an MMP collect them first-hand via an SDK which is embedded within the app.

Looking for a server to server solution?

Learn how Singular’s attribution platform can help!

What are the uses of Server-to-Server (S2S) tracking?

Server-to-Server measurement on mobile enables mobile measurement and attribution without requiring an embedded SDK. That means publishers control exactly what an attribution partner sees and gets, ensuring maximum control of data and minimum app download sizes. Many mobile apps rely on multiple sources for traffic and advertising, and each of the ad networks that businesses rely on also have their own SDKs and servers as well, so this can keep things tidy for big apps.

After all, each SDK that is added to the app increases its size and can lead to errors and slow loading times.

On the web, as Affilae highlights, while S2S is more demanding to set up initially compared to traditional JavaScript or Iframe cookie tracking, there are several advantages including:

  • Precision: S2S only generates the ClickID when a click has already occurred, which can increase reporting accuracy.
  • Security: There are many types of fraud related to cookies that can be avoided by only tracking the ClickID with S2S.

Looking for a server to server solution?

Learn how Singular’s attribution platform can help!

How does Singular Facilitate Server-to-Server (S2S) tracking?

As an alternative to the Singular SDK, Singular provides mobile marketers with a REST API that can be used to build a full integration that runs from your own server. You can learn more about how to implement S2S in our completed integration guide.

In summary, S2S can enable mobile marketers to run attribution without requiring the installation of the Singular SDK. As privacy regulations and ad blocking extensions are on the rise, this gives mobile marketers the ability to accurately track and report on the performance of their ads, know exactly what data is going where, and ultimately improve the ROI of their marketing efforts.






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