In 2022, companies around the globe spent an unprecedented $327 billion on mobile advertising. Next year, this figure is predicted to approach $400 billion. Consequently, companies and app marketers are spending more and more on mobile advertising, trying to keep up. When done correctly, this makes perfect sense. But without proper care, businesses can jeopardize both their own security and their customers, especially when they work with third parties such as mobile measurement partners (MMPs). Of course, while such attribution platforms can perform a terrific service, helping marketers understand what consumers want, they can also represent a great risk, particularly in terms of data privacy


This article will, therefore, discuss the ins and outs of data privacy and MMPs so that, when it comes to selecting an app analytics platform, you’ll be able to proceed with confidence.


What is a mobile measurement partner (MMP)?


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Mobile measurement or attribution partners (MMPs) are third-party companies that assist app marketers in measuring campaign performance across different ad networks, media sources, and advertising marketing channels. MMPs use app data to perform various tasks, such as collecting, organizing, and attributing. One of the main roles that app analytics platforms perform is to assist marketers in learning which media sources earn the credits for conversions


By employing an MMP, app marketers can subsequently wave goodbye to spending several hours and resources dissecting and making sense of several spreadsheets and dashboards. Once upon a time, this process was part and parcel of the job. But since marketers aren’t computers, there was always a good chance you could make a costly error. Even today, some people still prefer to do things for themselves, leading them to miss various opportunities for return on ad spend (ROAS) as well as windows for optimizing lifetime value (LTV). When you use an app analytics platform, however, this isn’t a concern. You’ll always be able to optimize your app performance, and you’ll never miss a beat in terms of keeping a tab on your app’s growth



The data ecosystem in MMPs


In order to grasp the nuances of such collaborations, it’s best to begin by delving into the intricate data framework of mobile measurement partners (MMPs). In a nutshell, this framework involves meticulously examining user data collection, the array of tracked data, and the crucial role played by user identifiers, such as Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and Google Advertising ID (GAID).


MMPs consequently curate a wealth of data points, serving advertisers with actionable insights. From app installations and user engagement to retention rates and in-app transactions, the data collected and presented in the platform becomes a cornerstone for informed decision-making in mobile marketing.


At the heart of this ecosystem are user identifiers—IDFA for Apple devices and GAID for Android. These identifiers act as the linchpin, allowing MMPs to link app installations and inapp interactions to specific users. This connectivity empowers advertisers, allowing them to understand users’ intricate journeys across diverse touchpoints.


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The impact of data privacy breaches on businesses


Data privacy breaches have a profound and often detrimental influence on businesses. When user information falls prey to compromise, the repercussions are stark, leading to a loss of consumer trust and loyalty. In turn, this erosion manifests itself via reduced engagement, diminished conversion rates, and, ultimately, a harmful impact on revenue streams.


To be sure, the aftermath of data privacy breaches extends beyond user dissatisfaction. As discussed later in this article, legal ramifications loom large for brands and app developers, especially in the context of stringent regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Failing to shield user data adequately may open the floodgates to hefty fines and legal actions, presenting a significant financial threat that can undermine a business’s foundation.


Beyond courtroom battles and financial difficulties, though, the fallout of data privacy breaches extends to a loss of reputation. In our hyper-connected age, news of a privacy breach can spread like wildfire. Once consumer trust is compromised, rebuilding it becomes a Herculean task. 


As such, the repercussions of adverse publicity and a tarnished brand reputation can cast a long shadow on any company, potentially hindering a business’s sustained success and growth trajectory – outcomes any marketing professional would wish to avoid.


Key regulations and laws related to data privacy in mobile measurement partnerships


Data privacy laws and regulations have played a significant role in shaping the current MMP landscape. If companies want to avoid legal problems and penalties, they simply have to abide by them to the letter.


Today, one of the most instantly recognizable pieces of supranational legislation is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Passed in Europe in 2018, GDPR applies to any business that collects personal information belonging to people living in the European Union (EU) and enforces strict requirements upon companies when collecting data. It stipulates various requirements, including mandates for obtaining informed consent, implementing security measures, and granting individuals the right to access and control their data.  


In the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a comparable piece of legislation, passed in 2018 and enacted in 2020. The CCPA permits California citizens certain rights regarding their private or personal information, including the right to learn what data is being collected and how it is being used, the right to forbid the sale of their data, and the right to request the deletion of their data.


These are just a few examples of the regulations and laws businesses should be aware of and comply with in order to protect user data and maintain data privacy in mobile measurement partnerships. Businesses should stay updated with the evolving landscape of data privacy regulations and be ready to adapt their practices accordingly to avoid potential penalties.


Challenges in data privacy for MMPs


While data privacy is critical, MMPs nevertheless face unique challenges when balancing user privacy with the need for attribution. In this section, we will discuss different challenges that MMPs face. 


Attribution without compromising privacy


Attribution is the process of assigning credit to marketing touchpoints for user actions. It is essential for understanding the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. However, achieving accurate attribution without compromising user privacy can be demanding.


In a privacy-centric landscape, traditional attribution methods, which rely heavily on tracking individual users across multiple touchpoints, face scrutiny. Platforms and regulators are, therefore, increasingly placing restrictions on employing userlevel data for attribution.


To address this challenge, MMPs are innovating with privacycentric attribution models. These models often aggregate data at a cohort level, providing insights into the collective behavior of user groups without exposing individual identities. The advantage of this is that privacycentric attribution aligns with evolving privacy standards, protecting consumers while ensuring compliance with regulations.


Consent mechanisms in MMP


For data privacy protection, obtaining user consent is paramount. Nevertheless, the efficacy of consent mechanisms in the mobile ecosystem is not always foolproof. Since users are bombarded with consent requests, they sometimes blindly accept or reject them without fully understanding their implications. MMPs must, therefore, design user-friendly consent mechanisms that clearly communicate the type of data being collected, how it will be used, and the benefits for the user. Transparency is critical for fostering trust, and clear communication can empower users to make informed data-sharing decisions.


Handling sensitive user data


Certain types of user data are more sensitive and require more protection. For example, personally identifiable information (PII), such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers, calls for robust security measures.


With this sort of data, MMPs have to implement encryption protocols, access controls, and data anonymization techniques to safeguard such sensitive information. Additionally, data minimization practices, where only essential data is collected and retained, reduce the risk of handling sensitive user data.


Best practices for ensuring data privacy in MMPs


Achieving robust data privacy in MMPs involves implementing best practices to safeguard user information while making sure advertisers are still able to obtain the invaluable insights they need. This section will consequently outline practical strategies for MMPs to uphold data privacy that tread this fine line and will aid any business searching for a secure and effective mobile measurement partner


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Obtain explicit user content


Data privacy is all about collecting user data by obtaining explicit consent. Explicit consent requires users’ clear and unambiguous agreement, indicating their willingness to share specific data for defined purposes.


As such, MMPs should integrate consent requests seamlessly into the user experience. Whether through in-app prompts, push notifications, or dedicated consent screens, the goal is to make the consent process transparent and user-friendly.


Transparent data collection practices


Transparency is data privacy’s guiding principle. MMPs should adopt transparent data collection practices that inform users about the types of data being collected, the purposes of collection, and how they will use the data.


Clear, concise, and accessible privacy policies are therefore essential. To this extent, MMPs should also communicate their data practices in language and vocabulary that users can understand.


Secure data storage and transmission


The security of user data extends beyond collection and includes storage and transmission. To stay on the right side of data privacy laws, MMPs must implement robust security measures to safeguard data throughout its lifecycle. These include encryption protocols that protect data both in transit and at rest.


Secure storage practices involve limiting access to sensitive data, employing multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits. Additionally, choosing reputable hosting services with strong security credentials is essential to maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of user information.


Regular audits and compliance checks


The dynamic nature of data privacy regulations necessitates continuous monitoring and adaptation. Consequently, MMPs should regularly audit their data practices to ensure ongoing compliance with evolving regulations.


One means of achieving this is working with external auditors or compliance experts who can objectively assess data privacy measures. Regular compliance checks also enable MMPs to proactively identify and address potential vulnerabilities, mitigating the risk of regulatory penalties.





Simply put, data privacy should be a core consideration when working with any MMP. Today, laws and regulations mean businesses should prioritize data privacy in their mobile marketing strategies and foster a culture of responsibility and trust.


In essence, our journey through the intricacies of MMPs and data privacy has hopefully underscored that success in the digital era requires more than analytical prowess. It demands ethical and vigilant stewardship of user data, too.


Therefore, the evolving landscape of attribution necessitates compliance and a proactive commitment to ensuring that every data point traverses the digital ecosystem with integrity and respect for user privacy.


Want to discover how Swaarm MMP safeguards data? Then book a demo now!