Location Panel Company Placed Is Racking Up The Partnerships

PlacedPlaced “isn’t looking for one-off deals – we’re looking for scale,” company CEO David Shim told AdExchanger.

The location analytics player, which uses an opt-in mobile panel to track offline behavior, announced a flurry of partnerships on Tuesday, including with cross-device solution provider Drawbridge, app monetization platform TapJoy, digital out-of-home company Vistar Media and demand-side platforms The Trade Desk, RUN and DataXu. Cross-device firm Tapad announced its partnership with Placed last week.

Closing the online/offline loop has been one of the industry’s abiding bugbears.

“It’s imperative for us to be able to track offline store visits,” said Dave Vitelli, VP of marketing and media services at RUN, which was acquired by Publicis Groupe in October on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group. “Clients are demanding it.”

It’s a need evidenced by similar moves in the agency space, most recently ZenithOptimedia’s partnership with mobile data platform NinthDecimal.

The Placed panel comprises around half a million active users, which translates to about one of every 500 adults in the US, a number that Shim said is roughly representative of the US smartphone population. Placed measures about 1,000 locations per panelist per day, around one every 90 seconds or so. Panel members opt in to have their activities tracked and, in some cases, to answer survey questions about their purchases.

It’s the opt-in that particularly appeals to Drawbridge CEO and founder Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.

“As sensitive a topic as identity is, there are various ways to acquire location as a signal,” Sivaramakrishnan said. “We don’t want to be part of any environment whereby we ever get location in a nonpermissioned way. But when a consumer raises their hand and says, ‘You have the right to use my location for the purposes of attribution,’ that is very valuable to us.”

The first-party data generated by Placed panelists is intersected with ad exposure to create a correlation between online ads and offline consumer activity. For privacy purposes, all of the data work is done behind Placed’s walls.

“Our partners send us data, but in a hashed format, a hashed identifier like a device ID, and we hash ours as well,” Shim said. “Where there’s a match, we can say, ‘This person saw that ad,’ and we can also see what subsequent activity happened downstream.”

Vistar Media uses Placed as a third-party measurement solution to help prove itself to clients. In one recent case, one of Vistar’s telecom clients ran a mobile campaign to drive in-store foot traffic with multiple different vendors, each of which used a different tactic. One vendor targeted competitors’ audiences, while another used proximity to hit users the moment they entered the store. Vistar’s tactic was to target loyal users based on their habitual offline behaviors.

“All of the partners signed on to have Placed measure their strategy to see which one performed best in terms of lift,” said Jillian Kushner, manager of marketing and analytics at Vistar. “Placed showed that we outperformed the other mobile strategies, which helped us move forward with the client, and we’re actually running something else with them right now.”

For RUN, it’s about enhancing its existing cross-screen feature set, which is at the moment more “specific to the online space,” said Mark Costa, RUN’s EVP of platform and ad ops. RUN works with Verizon’s Precision Market Insights division to tap its Precision ID for cross-screen targeting and attribution.

“To do great stuff in cross-screen, you’ve got to be able to tell the whole story, and that includes offline,” Costa said.

In terms of the Placed panel’s scale, Shim is confident in its representative quality. “We’re 20X to 25X bigger than Nielsen’s television panel and comScore’s mobile web panels,” he said. But even bigger is always better when it comes to the panel-based model.

“In the absence of scale, it’s very natural to substitute a sample of the population of users who were exposed to advertising message and measure the attribution, and in a sparse panel, you might end up with a flawed conclusion of incremental lift,” Sivaramakrishnan said. “But the mechanism of panel-based approaches are legitimate. The scale is an ongoing work in progress, though. We’ve built the scale at Drawbridge to a billion plus, but it took several years to do it.”

Placed also works with StrikeAd and Adelphic as well as several large agencies, including IPG Mediabrands, DigitasLBi, Horizon, Southwest Media Group, Essence and Crossmedia.

 

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