Turning it Upside Down with Location Analytics
Executive Interview: David Shim, CEO/Founder of Placed


Background
Placed is a location analytics company that focuses on using location data to better understand consumers’ behaviors in the physical world. Placed Targeting, the newest service in Placed’s suite of services, goes beyond the traditional notions of a simple geo-fence to provide data-driven location targeting at scale. See Location Metrics and How’s Your Mobile App Performing? for previous articles on Placed.


LBX What is missing in mobile ads and intelligence?

SHIM Experience. We’re still in the early days of mobile, where experience doesn’t match up with interest. By borrowing experiences from the desktop web, the market can quickly make up this gap.

As an example, in the early days of Internet advertising, clicks represented conversions, and ad serving was something offered by the publisher, not the advertiser. The market matured, and marketers learned that clicks don’t always equate to conversions, and ad serving should be independent of publishers and networks.

Across all advertising channels, the context and timing of an ad is critical to whether a consumer acts upon it. This tenet is especially true in mobile advertising, where location context is inherent to a channel built on user mobility. Unfortunately, what we see is a mismatch of method to medium as advertisers try to apply web-based ad targeting tactics, such as traditional psychographic and demographic profiles, to the mobile medium instead of leveraging what makes mobile advertising unique: location.

At Placed, we are building behavioral ad targeting models based on consumers’ observed propensity to visit places in the physical world, and measuring how exposure to an ad changes their offline behavior. See Figure 1.


Fig-1_Placed-Targeting_LBX_October-2013
FIGURE 1. Behavioral Targeting Model – real world consumer affinities for Sears and Kmart visualize the opportunity to expand audience reach through location-based advertising. Courtesy of Placed.

Campaign targeting should not be solely based on proximity; in other words, waiting for the consumer to do something or be someplace. Instead sophisticated targeting should be based on consumers’ actual behaviors in the physical world, anticipating what they are likely to do next in order to impact that behavior. This ability to anticipate consumers’ offline behaviors and target ads based on these behaviors is the intelligence that Placed Targeting brings to the market.

LBX What have been the tangible benefits of timing the delivery of ads based on propensity?

SHIM With Placed Targeting, we’ve seen advertisers experience significant performance gains, including double-digit increases in CTRs (click-through rates), conversion rates, and targetable inventory when compared to standard geo-fencing. When the focus is on what the consumer is likely to do next, you are more likely to influ- ence their behaviors and create a measurable impact.

LBX How does it work?

SHIM Placed works with leading mobile ad networks including xAd and Verve to deliver Placed Targeting to some of the nation’s top advertisers. We deliver a set of locations where a target audience has a high propensity to visit (i.e. based on a profile of your customers, competitors’ customers, etc.). The network then serves ads to these specific locations to reach the target audience.
For example, a movie distributor wants to market a new release. The distributor knows that by the time a person is nearby a theatre, it is too late to influence their choice in movies. By leveraging Placed Targeting, the distributor can reach moviegoers before they’ve decided on a movie, giving the marketer the opportunity to influence real-world behaviors.

We continue our corporate goal of setting the standard in terms of privacy by targeting locations, not people.

LBX How does your suite of products work for an advertiser?

SHIM Placed suite of services falls into two categories: location insights and mobile ad intelligence.

Location Insights:

→ Placed Insights: The ratings service for the physical world. For example, a department store monitors its back-to-school store traffic in near real time to benchmark performance against its competitive set. See Figure 2.

Mobile Ad Intelligence:

→Placed Attribution: Quantifying the impact of mobile advertising on in-store visits. For example, a quick service restaurant optimizes mobile ad spend by comparing the visit lift performance across several campaigns and networks. See lift performance example in Figure 3.

→ Placed Targeting: Behavioral targeting for the physical world. For example, an electronics retailer expands mobile advertising reach among Black Friday shoppers based on the other locations they have a high affinity to visit. See Figure 4.


FIGURE 2. Ratings Insights - back-to-school foot traffic trends highlight the importance of keeping a pulse on seasonal retail events. Courtesy of Placed.
FIGURE 2. Ratings Insights – back-to-school foot traffic trends highlight the importance of keeping a pulse on seasonal retail events. Courtesy of Placed.

figurE 4. Black Friday Targeting Model - reach Black Friday shoppers well before store proximity to better influence shoppers’ decisions. Courtesy of Placed.
FIGURE 3. Lift Performance – know the in-store lift of mobile campaigns to better evaluate advertising effectiveness. Courtesy of Placed.

figurE 4. Black Friday Targeting Model - reach Black Friday shoppers well before store proximity to better influence shoppers’ decisions. Courtesy of Placed.
figurE 4. Black Friday Targeting Model – reach Black Friday shoppers well before store proximity to better influence shoppers’ decisions. Courtesy of Placed.

LBX What do you think the market does not understand when it comes to location?

SHIM Advertisers have barely scratched the surface when it comes to the potential of location data. To take location from concept to action, the focus needs to be on the following:

Learning the Value of Location:

→ Location is still a relatively new area. Many advertisers are not fully aware of the technologies available, how they work, and in what ways they can help their business. Educating the market is the first step in dispelling assumptions and driving adoption.

Leveraging Location to Find the Right Audience:

→ Geo-fencing was the 1.0 approach to location-powered mobile ad campaigns. Placed Targeting makes location actionable without depending on store proximity, helping advertisers expand location targeting to reach more of the right audience.

Understanding Differences in Technology:

→ There are many different approaches to measuring location – panels, geo-fences, check-ins, surveys, ad impressions, etc. It’s important for advertisers to do their homework to ensure location insights are based on sound methodology and accurate measurement.


DavidShim_HiRes David Shim is the Founder and CEO of Placed. Previously, David held the roles of Director of Product and Operations at Quantcast. As Director of Product he drove Quantcast Marketer from idea to an audience platform used by 300+ advertisers across 6 billion actions a month. David pivoted to Director of Operations as part of the launch of Quantcast Lookalikes, the primary revenue-generating product for the company. Prior to Quantcast, David held leadership roles at WebTrends, and Farecast (acquired by Microsoft in 2008). David has presented at numerous industry conferences including Venture Beat, Mobile Beat, ad:tech New York, iMedia Breakthrough Summit and Under the Radar.