Why Programmatic Players Need Multiple Location Analytics Partners

The demand for offline, in-store attribution has fueled a fairly constant pace of alliances between demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and adexchange operators of all stripes with location business services companies.

MediaMath, one of the major DSPs that connects ad agency trading desks to real-time, automated ad targeting platforms, just struck a deal with location intelligence company Cuebiq.

MediaMath On Location

The partnership comes less than a month after MediaMath began working with geo-data specialist Factual. Last fall, Factual began working with another DSP, The Trade Desk, which followed a string of programmatic partnerships with Metamarkets, Adelphic, WPP’s Data Alliance group, InMobi, and The Rubicon Project.

MediaMath became the Factual’s first partner to fully embed the location data provider’s Geopulse Proximity Designer into its platform, said Vikas Gupta, Factual’s director of marketing, at the time. Geopulse Proximity is powered by Factual’s Global Places system, which covers over 95 million business listings and points-of-interest across 50 countries.

“This is just one more data point that reinforces not only the value that location data brings to mobile programmatic but also that the market understands this value and is hungry for access to high quality targeting around the world from a reputable neutral data company,” Gupta told us in early August.

A New Alliance

Since MediaMath has a large and diverse client roster of major brands — like its rivals, to be sure — it needs to be able to present those marketers with a suite of different audience data partners and highlight why each is different, Aruna Paramasivam, head of Audience Partnerships at MediaMath, told GeoMarketing.

“None of our location tech partners are quite the same,” Paramasivam said.

When asked what does Cuebiq can offer MediaMath, Antonio Tomarchio, co-founder and CEO at New York-based Cuebiq, told GeoMarketing that its methodology is what sets it apart.

“Location data might be plentiful, but has its fair share of accuracy and fraud issues,” Cuebiq’s Tomarchio said.

“Instead of looking at just location, Cuebiq uniquely examines the specifics of how location data can be collected, refined and activated to provide context, dwell time and location,” Tomarchio added. “Cuebiq’s solution provides MediaMath’s clients with advanced location data methodology that bridges the offline and online worlds of consumers to provide actionable, accurate insights.”

The partnership between MediaMath and Cuebiq is being “enabled” by customer relationship management data company LiveRamp. The arrangement is built around access to geo-behavioral targeting solutions via Cuebiq’s AudienceQ offering.

AudienceQ allows advertisers to target consumers based on their offline behavior and purchase intent.

As the company describes it, Cuebiq’s intelligence platform analyzes proximity signals such as geo-fences, wi-fi, and beacons to understand location patterns, visit frequency, and dwell time in order to profile audience segments which can be used for all types of cross-platform campaigns.

Asked if Cuebiq’s AudienceQ platform is intended as  complement to what Factual offers, Paramasivam said that “Factual’s Geopulse Audience product competes directly with AudienceQ, but they could conceivably be used together to maximize potential scale.”

“Factual’s Audiences are sourced from bid stream data, thus it is inherently less persistent and more removed from the end consumer,” she added. “Dwell time also serves as a differentiator, as Factual does not currently have the data to effectively segment audiences based on this variable.”

To be clear, Factual that has its own audience segments — and the differences between one company’s list of “in-market auto intenders” can differ to varying degrees from another. And Factual, which has been around for eight years, has noted that it has the systems in place to verify and validate correct addresses and match actual smartphone users to specific places based on the bid stream data it collects.

So when it comes to companies like MediaMath seeking additional alliances, it makes sense to overlap as much location and consumer data as clients want.

Hence, using both Factual and Cuebiq can be a complementary and stronger solution together or they can be used individually depending on what MediaMath’s clients feel is more meaningful to them in terms of how the data is sourced for each.

Lastly, Cuebiq’s VisitQ measurement studies allow MediaMath to “complete the attribution loop” in knowing what customers actually completed the visit to the store and how long they were there.

“These are all very important metrics in being able to evaluate how effective any location-based audience targeting is,” Paramasivam said.

A Critique Of Bid Stream Data

When it comes to that notion of “methodology” as a differentiator, Cuebiq’s data collection is positioned as an “alternative” to both bid stream data from ad exchanges, which can lack accuracy since it depends on passively collecting data as consumers happen to open an ad from a publisher site that collects a smartphone’s location data.

That data signal could be coming as a person pulls out their phone outside a location that they’re just passing through, as opposed to actively visiting and shopping in. As such, there is a perception that provides a limited view of user behavior, and panel-based data, which has limited scale and bias issues.

Along those lines, Cuebiq’s methodology varies slightly from MediaMath’s other location data partners, such that Cuebiq collects user data via its SDK, which is installed across a number of partner apps, Paramasivam said.

“The majority of the location data providers on the market — Foursquare and Placed excluded — gather user-location data from SSP and exchange bid streams, and are largely plugged into the same ones,” Paramasivam said.

“Collecting the data directly from the app publishers, rather than through the SSPs and exchanges, means that they sit closer to the user, and there is less chance of location data quality issues,” she added. “So this is what differentiates Cuebiq from our other location tech partners, and we highlight this.”