Snap is adding geo-data specialist Factual’s Global Places data as the social media “camera” and messaging platform continues to build up a roster of location technology providers.
The deal comes a week after Snap acquired attribution platform Placed. That purchase came after months of assembling location data and digital presence knowledge from partners such as Foursquare and Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here).
Factual’s Global Places data covers more than 100 million places across 52 countries. The company has also found itself in demand by other high-profile tech brands such as Uber, Apple Maps, and Facebook, which just expanded its nearly year-old partnership with Factual worldwide.
“As the neutral location data company making data accessible to everyone, our mission has been to build the biggest trove of location data in the world and share it with developers, marketers and enterprises,” said Factual SVP of Revenue Rob Jonas in a blog post heralding the deal. “We believe location is an incredibly valuable signal and a core differentiator for mobile based products, and will be more and more embraced by the best mobile companies.
“Snap Inc.’s innovative use of location has continuously impressed us, and we are thrilled to partner with the company to help drive more fun and surprising user experiences,” Jonas added. “During Snap Inc’s first earnings call in May 2017, the company announced it had 166 million daily active users on average.”
While Snap representatives have not be available for comment on the Factual deal, it’s clear that location has long been a crucial aspect of its product line, particularly its Geofilters, which have been available to marketers for two years, starting with McDonald’s in Aug. 2015.
Snapchat rolled out Geofilters — illustrations that can be overlaid onto photos while in specific locations —back in December 2014, but were initially unbranded. For example, a “snapper” on the island of Manhattan could choose a geofilter that simply read “Manhattan” in creative text. But particularly in the past year, Snap has sought to find deeper ways to build a better advertising and consumer experience around the concept of location sharing.
For example, in mid-August, Snapchat acquired mobile search and local recommendation app Vurb for a reported $110+ million to help promote discovery of local places — something that Foursquare’s flagship app also provides.
It is not clear how Factual’s data will fit in — or operate separately — with Snap’s other location intelligence tools.
What is clear, is that Snap, like most platforms, marketers, and agencies, view location data as fundamental to the way it engages and appeals to its users and marketing partners.
As marketers continue to become more data-driven and ROI focused, publishers that offer measurement tools that show a direct correlation between online campaigns and offline results can gain competitive advantage with brands,” said Brian Czarny, SVP of marketing at location intelligence platform Factual, told us last week when asked to comment on the Snap/Placed deal.
“That’s where having access to location data becomes so critical,”Czarny said, adding, “from the initial targeting of an audience all the way through to measuring device movement for attribution – and publishers will increasingly partner with location data providers like Factual or seek to acquire the data themselves.”