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PlaceIQ Opens Geo-Data Platform Directly To Agencies

Mediacom, Starcom MediaVest Group are among the media buyers who will be able to determine the lift — or lack thereof — cross-channel location ads play in driving sales.

PlaceIQ's Duncan McCall
PlaceIQ’s Duncan McCall

PlaceIQ is providing a greater degree of autonomy to the automated media buying programs that agencies increasingly employ to target clients’ ads both online and offline by allowing its Madison Ave. partners direct access to its location analytics software.

Location-based advertising is typically centered on mobile, where consumers leave a physical trail that advertisers can then use to help build an audience segment. On the PC, location targeting is based either on search or the IP address of the computer. Still, when we talk about PC-based behavioral ad targeting, we’re largely referring to cookies that show the websites a person is visiting. Focusing on where the consumers’ — or rather, consumers’ connected devices — tend to be situated in the real world can suggest a profile of a working mom, a college student, or an entrepreneur. More and more, advertisers consider the attributes made by mobile users in the physical world to be more meaningful and actionable.

Giving agencies direct access to its CIP Analytics platform reflects an important change in the way ads are bought and sold. The manual process of sending insertion orders for ad inventory back and forth, even electronically, can be time consuming and costly for agencies and their ROI/accountability-demanding clients.

It should be noted that CIP Analytics is a “post-campaign” tool that is designed to offer insights into whether a campaign hit its benchmarks or not. While predictive analytics based on location is something that companies such as Simpli.fi specialize in, being able to prove success — i.e., ROI — remains a desirable function for marketers and agencies.

Access To ROI Analytics

Even more important than being able to model out how a campaign might perform is the ability to offer cross-channel analytics to support connecting data such as TV viewership, purchase behavior, automotive ownership and demographic. That’s the real promise in what PlaceIQ’s location intelligence platform is offering to its agency partners right now.

Secondly, there’s a data visualization layer that helps marketing executives, who may lack advanced understanding of engineering language, comprehend the analytics at hand.

“Our company’s focus on helping to uncover patterns in consumer behavior makes CIP Analytics a truly unique offering,” said Duncan McCall, PlaceIQ’s CEO/co-founder, in a statement. “We’ve spent years helping the world’s top brands and agencies connect the physical and digital realms. In the process, we’ve helped these brands refine, visualize, and discover the attributes that make up consumer audiences. These insights are relevant to media strategy, but have applications for informing smarter decisions across the entire marketing lifecycle.”

For the past two years, all major media buyers have been operating trading desks for placing ads programmatically both for direct purchases of publishers’ inventory as well as in real-time auctions. All a media buyer has to do these days to target a specific audience category is to check several boxes on their demand-side platform’s dashboard.

cpg map placeiq
Map of CPG shopping in St. Louis (source: PlaceIQ)

Using CIP Analytics, PlaceIQ claims to have already delivered “significantly improved marketing results to brands and their agency customers,” such as:

  • Automotive brands that want to know more about consumers’ affinities for competitors, as well as their affinities for brands across different verticals, in order to drive visitation to lots.
  • Retail brands that want to learn more about a consumer segment they’ve never targeted before or brands that want to understand the drivers behind an existing campaign success.
  • CPG brands that want to learn where their audiences tend to shop to hone media targeting and point-of-sale marketing.

Getting Into Position

PlaceIQ’s position on agency and DSP dashboards reflect the deepening connection of location data and ad targeting — and the rise of automated ad buying and selling in general.

Over the past several months, PlaceIQ and its rivals have struck a number of non-exclusive programmatic deals. For example, DSP Adelphic is working with geo-data company Factual and Placed, the panel-based location analytics provider. Another sign that ad tech companies are trying to ensure their seat at the programmatic table came last spring, when  NinthDecimal repositioned itself  to better convey that it is now a programmatic player.

As programmatic methods become more mainstream — that moment has pretty much arrived — the companies that are able to prove their value to agencies as a seamless, direct option will be the ones that will be set for the next stage: the connecting of ads based on wearables, nearables, and the connected home.