Comparing mobile measurement partners (MMP)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Imagine this: your CFO asks about the performance of your mobile marketing spends. You stutter and say you don’t have a way to track their performance. Don’t let this be you. It’s time to evaluate the different mobile measurement partners to implement into your mobile application.

The mobile advertising space is rapidly evolving thanks to regulation, innovation and guidelines from each of the different players. Of course Apple’s App Tracking Transparency guidelines caused massive disruption in the world of mobile marketing, costing Facebook upwards of $13 billion dollars. But that’s not the last disruption to come: soon Android will introduce their own privacy tool called Privacy Sandbox.

So how can you navigate these challenges at optimizing your mobile marketing? With a mobile measurement partner, or sometimes called a mobile measurement platform. Both abbreviated to an MMP.

What is a mobile measurement partner?

Simply put a mobile measurement partner allows you to provide attribution data for your mobile advertising. The conversion and eCommerce data you’re able to get out of Google Analytics for the web is what a mobile measurement partner provides for mobile applications.

A mobile measurement partner is integrated into your application using an SDK provided by the vendor of choice. Your application developers include the SDK in your application and then integrate the required tracking, sometimes called attributions or events. An MMP may also provide you with javascript — sometimes called a web SDK — for web tracking, as well.

What can I do with a mobile measurement partner?

In the most basic sense, an MMP should be able to provide you with information on how users interact with your ads, how users interact with your application, and how your mobile advertising campaigns are performing.

Once you have an MMP integrated with your application, you’ll be able to track the following information.

  • Ad impressions, clicks, and application installs
  • Key in-app events, like account creations, subscription creations, or purchases
  • In-app revenue from subscription creations or purchases
  • Performance of your mobile marketing campaigns, including conversion rate, return on ad spend (RoaS), and customer lifetime value (LTV)

Earlier I mentioned that some vendors include a web SDK in their service as well. The web SDK includes an added benefit of cross-platform tracking. That means if a user initially visits your website, then purchases through the application, the MMP vendor can include that level of detail in their reporting. With the combined mobile & web tracking, you can see a complete view of your advertising results.

Who are the top mobile measurement partners?

There are many mobile measurement partners out there, but below are the 7 that most include in their evaluation.

Note, I’m excluding Firebase from this list, not because it is not a capable MMP, but rather Google appears to be moving in a direction that will push Firebase’s functionality into Google Analytics 4.

Comparison Mobile Measurement Platforms

 AdjustAppsFlyerBranchGA4Singular
Mobile SDK
Web SDK
Download
Signups
App UsagePartnerPartner
Channels Supported
Apple
Facebook
Google
Other Features
In-App MessagingPartnerPartnerPartner
Data Export
Ad Click Fraud
Bot Fraud
Ad Automation
Deep Link Creation
SOC II
GDPR

Data last updated May 2022. All attempts at accuracy have been made.

Worth noting in the chart above, each vendor can provide attribution for channels beyond just Apple, Facebook and Google. Many have direct integrations with thousands of different ad networks. However, each one will provide what is essentially a ‘one-click’ integration to those ad networks.

Unfortunately, while I have received pricing for each vendor, many times it has been under a non-disclosure agreement. Adjust and AppsFlyer are very close in terms of pricing, while Branch and Singular typically are the more expensive MMP options.

Adjust

Adjust has a few unique advantages over its competitors. First, not only does it offer a more comprehensive solution providing automated ad management but through AppLovin, its parent company, it has a substantially wider ecosystem. The parent company is one of the largest ad networks, and owns the bot protection company, Unbotify.

An additional unique aspect to Adjust is they solely bill based on the number of attributions provided. There’s no limitations to the number of apps tracked, or monthly active users. In most cases they also include a customer success manager, as well as a technical account manager, which can make on-boarding much easier.

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer I consider to be the developer’s favorite mobile measurement partner. From a marketer’s perspective they also have their own unique advantage, in that they have direct integrations into more than 9,000 partner ad networks. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean they can track more than the other vendors, but instead that the configuration of each ad network should be easier. Without the direct integration, you may have to use a custom a link or a postback to achieve attribution for an ad network that doesn’t have a direct integration.

Branch

Branch does one thing really well: deep-linking. Through Branch’s deep-linking not only can you get attribution information across all channels — including organic — but also you can gain rich user insights. When you use Branch, you’re able to mix web and mobile experiences to track how your users engage with your application. If you’re looking to get attribution and usage data, but only have time to integrate a single application, then Branch is your answer.

Due to the fact that Branch provides more than just attribution tracking, pricing typically runs higher than Adjust and AppsFlyer.

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 has one great advantage: it’s free.

GA4 is the first version of Google Analytics which does both web and mobile tracking, a massive change from Google Analytics Universal Analytics. GA4 focuses on events — including web signups, but also your mobile events, such as the account creation and subscription creation.

Singular

If breadth, and ease of reporting is what you’re after, then Singular is the leader in this space. Their cross-channel web to mobile reporting is what really makes it special, allowing you to see the holistic view of your entire advertising efforts.

Singular takes a unique approach to pricing, basing it off of ad spend rather than monthly active users or attributions.

My Suggestion

Each vendor has their own strengths and weaknesses. As well, budget typically is a factor in choosing the vendor to go with. My approach has been to first identify the advertising channels required, then work with the vendor to determine if they have a direct integration with them. While postback and deep-linking is always available, it’s a less reliable form of tracking and can be time-consuming and confusing to setup. In this case AppsFlyer may be the best option as they have the most direct integrations.

Next, consider the additional information you want to obtain through your mobile measurement partner. If your CFO requires granular reporting data, then it may mean that Singular is the right choice. If you require usage tracking, then Branch is the leading candidate. The vendor in my experience with the best on-boarding, and all-around functionality is Adjust. They’re experts at navigating the initial implementation, and can do everything really well.

Frequently Asked Mobile Measurement Partner Questions

What is a Mobile Measure Partner?

A mobile measurement partner is a SDK (Software Development Kit) that can be implemented within mobile applications to provide attribution for key events. Key events may be downloads, subscriptions, purchases, logins, or any event important to the application.

Who are the Top Mobile Measurement Partners?

There are really 7 key mobile measurement partners, of which in my opinion Adjust and AppsFlyer are the two best MMPs. Others that are worthy of evaluation include Branch, Firebase, Kochava, Singular, and now Google Analytics 4.

Who is the Best Mobile Measurement Partner?

Each vendor has their own unique specialities, and should be evaluated for your specific use case. In my opinion Adjust and AppsFlyer are the two best, but depending on your project Branch and Singular should also be evaluated.

What can I do with a Mobile Measurement Partner?

A mobile measure partner (MMP) provides attribution for key mobile application events. With an MMP when you run advertising pushing traffic directly to your application, you will be able to track the performance of each advertising network. When configuring an MMP, you can setup key events to track, such as the application download, account creation, and subscription creation.

Why do I Need a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP)?

If you want to provide attribution information for your mobile advertising budget, then you need a mobile measurement partner. With an MMP, you’re able to track the performance of each ad network and see which is performing best — and driving the source of key events within your mobile applicatio

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