Measurement Platforms Full Review

singular score

Singular

www.singular.net

  • Type: Mobile Measurement Platform
  • Platforms: Mobile
  • Core Offering:
    • Cost consolidation, Mobile attribution, Skadnetwork handling, mobile analytics
singular website

Singular was founded in 2014 as a cost aggregation solution. The initial product was only used to collect cost reports from various networks providing both Advertisers and Publishers with the ability to visualize and make decisions in regards to spend and ad revenues in an automated way.

As a cost reporting platform, Singular supported every attribution solution and worked very well on their analytics platform.

The analytics platform is one of the best marketing analytics solutions in the market.

singular dashboard

Singular went into attribution and measurement only later by acquiring Apsalar. Apsalar was a relatively small attribution provider, very popular in India, given that it was a cheaper attribution provider priced based on installs (rather than clicks).

Singular acquired Apsalar as this had already obtained a Facebook “MMP” badge (which was extremely difficult to get) allowing Singular to offer its customers with Analytics, Cost reporting, and Attribution. The merger of the two companies was a match made in heaven.

apsalar dashboard

Integration / Development Needed

To integrate with singular, you’ll need to install an SDK into your app, or create a server side integration  to track website traffic. Singular has a ton of documents ready to support the process of integration, but you’ll 100% need development support.

Our tech teams said that the integration process with Singular went smoothly, and that the SDKs were light and relatively straightforward to work with.

It did however take a couple of days to get the development time on this, and the integration itself took about a week until everything worked well.

Apparently in development terms – this was a “small” project.

singular integration
singular integration

Onboarding

The onboarding experience was also very much straightforward – if you’ve ever used a measurement platform, Singular works pretty much the same as any other MMP.

Singular created a full onboarding portal with multiple articles explaining how to get started: •Configuring partners (i.e. networks) / postbacks •Creating deeplinks •Understanding fraud prevention •SKAdnetwork reporting •

Most of these articles are written in a way that any person responsible for UA should be able to understand those relatively clearly.

We’ll get to it in support – Singular is also happy to train you one on one if you need to.

singular onboarding

Support

Singular offered fantastic support. It came in 3rd in the scores, but it was a really close call between Singular, Appsflyer and Adjust for support.

What we liked the most is that if any escalation is needed – you might hear from Gadi (CEO of Singular) himself who will be happy to jump on a call with you and explain in depth everything you could want to know about the platform.

On the other hand, it was obvious that he was interested in keeping you as a customer no matter what – so during the calls he joined, he was sometimes trying to sell what they could  do, but that didn’t really help us with what we needed to do.

singular support

Useful insights

Singular wasn’t just the first to offer cost aggregation to networks – they were also by far the best at it. The platform is really useful in tracking your spend across multiple ad networks and platforms.

Singular also provides pretty decent anti-fraud tools.

While it does not create insights for you (i.e. you’ll need to spend some time on their dashboard), the data is presented nicely and easily to process.

singular insights

Singular does show creative level reports including calculating the ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) – but the platform labels it as “ROI” which is incorrect.

singular insights

Accuracy

Amongst mobile measurement platforms Singular was more accurate than the other MMPs , but still – suffered from some major discrepancies in comparison with the app store data we’ve seen.

Discrepancies were anywhere from 1% to 11%

Singular does try and explain the discrepancies with a series of articles: •Troubleshooting Your Attribution DataTroubleshooting Facebook Data DiscrepanciesComparing Singular Reports to Apple App Store/Google PlayTroubleshooting Discrepancies between Singular Reports and Ad Network DashboardSolving Runtime Errors and Other Issues Caused by Your Browser Cache

Singular also explains various other reasons for discrepancies in detail. Unfortunately these explanations are not very helpful when the rest of the Singular platform provides insights and reporting as if these discrepancies do not exist.

For example, when Singular showed one of us that the cost per install on a major ad network was $2.83 and the return over advertising spend was positive (34%) – everything changed when we found that the discrepancy with the ad network was so major that the actual CPI was $4.09 (which meant that the ROAS was negative!!!)

We also found multiple scenarios where the Singular platform tracked installs as coming from an ad network, but once we stopped campaigns with those networks, our total count of installs (including organic installs) did not change. This showed us clearly that the ad network was cannibalizing the organic download base.

This was the problem with all mobile measurement platforms we checked.

singular fraud

Secure

Singular’s anti attribution fraud was the best we’ve seen across all attribution platform. We also really appreciated that it was “baked in” the price and not charged as an “added on” feature.

Singular offers transparency in their anti-fraud approach. The anti-fraud part looks at several areas:

  • Android install validation:
    • Stop more install fraud on Android, in real-time, with the first-in-industry deterministic Android Install Validation technology. This breakthrough in Android fraud prevention is a gamechanger and vastly more effective at fighting the growing threat of fake install fraud.
  • iOS install validation
    • iOS devices support install receipts which help us ensure the app was actually installed from the App Store on the given device. Verifying with Apple is not enough however and so Singular provides complementing protection to holes in the verification process. When a valid install receipt is not detected, the attribution is blocked.
  • Android click-injection prevention
    • Fight click-injection on Android with our proprietary Android Click Injection Prevention that leverages Google Play Referrer to recognize fake impressions and clicks intended to manipulate attribution crediting after a legitimate user installed the app.
  • Android organic poaching detection
    • Stop cannibalizing organic users with the industry’s first deterministic solution for more accurate detection of organic poaching on Android.
  • Blacklisting
    • Singular automatically verifies the IP address of every device, uses heuristic rules to identify fraudulent publishers, and maintains a proprietary list of suspicious devices to detect and block fraudulent attributions.
  • Geographic outliers
    • The geographic distance between the location of a click and the corresponding install can be an indicator of click spamming. When the distance between a click and an install exceeds a given threshold or is otherwise anomalistic, installs are flagged as geographic outliers and attribution is blocked.
  • Hyper engagement
    • When Singular receives an irregularly high number of clicks from a given source, it can be a sign of click spamming. Therefore, when the number of matching clicks tied to an install exceeds a certain threshold, an attribution is blocked.
  • Short time to install
    • When the amount of time between an ad click and the resulting install is irregularly small, it can be a sign that the install was “hijacked” by fraudsters using a click injection scheme. Singular combines this along with other techniques to block the attribution.
singular fraud
singular fraud

Privacy compliant

When Apple first made their announcement about deprecating IDFA – Singular was the first (and only) MMP that addressed the matter of attribution with no IDFA while not trying workarounds, not using forbidden methods, and not making false claims about ”what Apple will actually do”

Singular launched a feature allowing Advertisers to use Singular to handle SKAdNetwork postbacks.

Singular is not messing around with fingerprinting, and are not advising customers to do anything that could jeopardize their app from the app store.

singular privacy compliant

Unbiased vs. Biased

As much as we like Singular as an attribution provider, they do have a bias.

Singular works with thousands of ad networks and media platforms and is incentivized by you spending more.

While everything about their platform does not show a bias (i.e. anti-fraud is baked in, they support SKadNetwork  without funny business) – but given their pricing model (see below) they have a bias whether they like it or not.

singular unbiased

Pricing Model

Singular has two “packages” for attribution – Premium and Enterprise. You only need to use Enterprise if you need web tracking, and data exports to S3 buckets.

As long as you don’t need those – you’re good to go with the premium package.

The pricing model includes a small setup fee (which Singular was eager to waive for all of us) and a variable component based on the number of installs tracked through the platform (including tracking uninstalls).

Singular does not list the price on their website, and are happy to underprice any offer you have from another attribution company. It’s a little bit “dirty” play – but it was to our advantage.

singular price

Price

Singular had a setup fee of $1,000 (which they agreed to waive for all of us), a monthly ”license fees” of about $750 , and a “cost per install” variable component based on how much installs and uninstalls are tracked.

You can reduce the costs by committing to a an annual package, and reduce it even further if you can commit to a minimum monthly amount (which could mean that you end up paying a lot even if you had to cut marketing spend to zero – which happened to many of us during the pandemic).

In average, our Singular costs averaged at $18,200 per month , almost 0.25% of our marketing spend.

singular pricing attribution

Review Summary:

Singular is a leading mobile analytics and attribution provider. The core product Singular started with was cost aggregation – and by far, their system is the best for cost reporting. As an analytics provider, the Singular platform has superb dashboard, very intuitive to visualize data. Unlike other solutions, Singular has their anti-attribution-fraud baked into their attribution product (not as a premium product). We found that their attribution method was the most resilient to attribution fraud. Onboarding was easy to understand. Singular offers very good support. Most of us spoke with Shabtay Vardi during onboarding (some tech issues, some SDK issues) and he was a pro. Connecting ad networks to Singular for cost reporting is simple.

Singular is a very honest no-bullshit company. They stand behind what they say, and say what they mean. They do their best in matters of privacy and were one of the few mobile measurement platforms that did not use fingerprinting to attribute conversions in OS versions that ban the use of FP.

Pros & Cons:

  • Best cost aggregation and visualization
  • Onboarding was fairly intuitive
  • While some development was needed to fit the SDK into our apps, it was relatively painless
  • Some of us experienced some major discrepancies between Singluar and our own reports.

  Update: Apparently the discrepancies were due to fraudulent activity.

  • Pricing model is based on number of conversions tracked + SaaS fees. The average costs each of us paid was $18,200 per month
  • There was some bias in the business and pricing model, but the support we got was very honest and transparent. We felt cared for, regardless of incentives.

Measurement Platforms Review for Singular:

Support★★★★★★★★☆Onboarding★★★★★★★★★
No Dev Needed★★★★★★★☆☆Privacy Compliant★★★★★★★☆☆
Accuracy★★★★★★☆☆☆Pricing Model★★★★★★★☆☆
Useful Insights★★★★★★★☆☆Price★★★★★★☆☆☆
Unbiased★★★★★★★☆☆Secure★★★★★★★☆☆