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Placed Builds Up Sales Force With Veteran Ad Execs From Google, aQuantive

Amid wider challenges from online-to-offline attribution rivals, Placed continues to rack up partners from buy and sell sides, as well as data and tech platforms.

For the past five years, location-based marketing insights provider Placed has been positioning itself as the standard for online-to-offline attribution measurements. More recently, it’s been fending off an increasing variety of challenges to that position.

Therefore, as the Seattle company works to solidify the gains its made, CEO and founder David Shim has brought in two major digital ad sales veterans to help demonstrate the value of its approach to in-store, cross-platform attribution.

And as a message to its existing array of partners, Placed is also highlighting new growth numbers in terms of its audience reach and exceeding 150 publishers, agencies, media, and data marketplace players that have just signed on to use its in-store analytics.

Placed Tells Its Growth Story

As of today, Placed’s “double opt-in audience” has surpassed 1.6 million active users who are generating over 18 billion first party locations in the month of February 2016.

“With over 150 partners across mobile, desktop, and out-of-home advertising, Placed Attribution is the market share leader in measuring ad exposure to store visit,” said David Shim, Placed’s founder and CEO. “By delivering a best in class solution built on accuracy, and independent of any conflict of interest tied to media, Placed is the common currency used by the media buyers and sellers to close the loop between ad and in-store.”

The new additions are former Google Head of Sales Aaron Johnston, who will serve as SVP of Sales, and one-time aQuantive/Razorfish exec Jim Watson in the role of SVP of Strategy and Operations. Shim started his interactive ad career at pioneering digital ad firm Razorfish during its independent days of 2002.

Johnston’s full title in his last post at Google was Head of Agency Sales and Account Management within the company’s DoubleClick division. As SVP of Sales at Placed, Johnston is charged with overseeing revenue growth as well as building out and leading the sales organization.

“I’ve spent many years working with various solutions to both drive and measure online sales activity,” Johnston told GeoMarketing. “To join a company trying to solve such a fundamental marketing problem — tying ad exposure to real world store visits – represented both an exciting and challenging opportunity. The value Placed’s technology provides to agencies and advertisers is clear, and to be part of such a strong company and leadership team is very exciting.”

Watson comes to Placed from digital ad workflow solutions company Placements.io, where he most recently held the role of COO and was a co-founder. Before that, Watson led mobile marketing startup SPARQ. He helped manage SPARQ’s 2014 sale to Yahoo.

As SVP, Strategy and Operations, Watson is tasked with figuring out ways for Placed to expand its business development opportunities.

“Placed presented a very unique opportunity,” Watson said when asked what led him to accept his new assignment. “First, the company is solving a very significant problem for leading brands in the US. That is, closing the loop between ad exposure and physical commerce. While digital sales continue to grow, brick and mortar still represents 90 percent of all commerce. Second, as compared to some of the other solutions in market, the method Placed uses is a model for protecting consumer privacy. Finally, I enjoy rolling up my sleeves with hard working and smart people and Placed has assembled a world class team of technologists, data scientists and client management staff.”

Initial Priorities

For Johnston, his immediate focus will be on continuing “to build upon the success that Placed has seen in working with publishers to quantifying the impact of their media on store visits,” he said. In addition to the maintaining the investment in Placed’s partner network, the company will also increase the focus on agency and advertiser relationships to highlight the value of ad to in-store attribution. As part of this effort, hiring will be a core area of focus in 2016, Johnston said.

“Placed is growing rapidly so my energy will be focused on enabling us to scale,” Watson added. “That will include a lot of recruiting in order to add talent to the team, working with our large customers to ensure that we continually deliver insights on how they can improve their businesses, and making sure we have the right internal processes in order to allow us to continue to grow.”

Competitive Landscape

Over the past year, pretty much every company operating in the location and proximity marketing space has come up with some form of attribution product. Each one is intended to prove an location ad’s effectiveness by saying whether or not a marketing message led a consumer to a physical store to make a purchase.

Last month, Foursquare expanded its location-based analytics with a product dubbed, fittingly enough, Attribution. The place-based app developer is sharing daily reported insights gathered from a panel of 1.3 million users with Flipboard (which is also a new Placed partner), and cross-device data provider Drawbridge, as well as mobile programmatic platform Adelphic, and brands TGIFridays, and Brown-Forman.

On the subject of relatively sudden crowded marketplace for location-based, online-to-offline, cross-screen attribution, Shim said, “Placed Attribution is the only [pure analytics] solution in market, where [most other] attribution providers are also a media seller — we are not. By delivering a solution that removes this inherent conflict of interest, advertisers, agencies, and media sellers win as they can build around a trusted currency to measure the offline impact of the ad campaigns.”

The scale provided by Placed Attribution, with over 150 partners, enables marketers and media companies to focus on measurement, rather than setup, integration, and compatibility, Shim noted.

“In addition to scale of partners, Placed provides scale of data, measuring 1 in 200 adults in the US, representing over 1.6 million active users in February, generating the largest pool of first party, double opt-in locations. The combination of scale of partners, quality and accuracy of location data, and privacy first approach to measurement all free of conflict of interest is why Placed is both preferred and market share leader for ad to in-store attribution.”

Here’s the list of Placed’s new partners:

Publisher side: DailyMail, Digital Trends, Flipboard, IGN, Resignation Media, SheKnows, SoundHound, WeatherBug, Wikia

Demand Side Platform: AdReady, OwnerIQ, Rubicon Project, TubeMogul, Turn, Videology

Out-Of-Home: Lamar

Agency services: Swirl, Varick

Network: Aki, Alphonso, Bazaarvoice, Bidtellect, CPXi, eBay, impreMedia, Kargo, Magnetic, MobileFuse, Nativo, Placecast, Purch, Q1Media, RGM, Rhythm New Media, Sabio Mobile, Twelvefold, Valassis, Vibrant, VideoAmp, Winstar Interactive, Yieldmo, Yume, Zeta Interactive

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.