PlaceIQ Closes The Loop On TV Metrics With Starcom, Acxiom

Geo-data and location-based attribution is making the leap from mobile advertising to addressable TV.

PlaceIQ is continuing to drive its location ad analytics beyond mobile devices and into the living room in a partnership with Starcom MediaVest Group and offline consumer data company Acxiom.

PlaceIQ's Duncan McCall
PlaceIQ’s Duncan McCall

The three are collaborating on an addressable television metrics product called SMG MAPS TV, which will be able to draw a direct line between the commercials seen by household pay TV viewers (who will otherwise remain anonymous) and mobile audiences’ brick-and-mortar shopping activity.

“The vision of our company, ever since we started five years ago, was always around the idea of using location, geo-data, and mobile as sensors for understanding consumer behavior,” said Duncan McCall, PlaceIQ’s CEO/co-founder. “And we believed we would be able to apply that understanding horizontally across any consumer touchpoint. That was probably a bit ambitious during our first and second years. So we decided to focus on mobile advertising and the marketing ecosystem to prove it works.”

Ready For Primetime (And Non-linear TV)

Given that relationships between space and time and location have become more mainstream advertising vehicles, PlaceIQ, along with its peers in the geomarketing arena, is now attempting to apply their respective tools to other media channels more deeply than the usual PC-to-mobile cross-screen platforms. Addressable TV, which allows ads to be served via cable and satellite providers’ households, is an obvious step beyond online ad targeting.

PlaceIQ's Derek Thompson
PlaceIQ’s Derek Thompson

The deal expands an existing product relationship between Publicis Groupe’s SMG media buying operation and PlaceIQ, who collaborated on last year’s SMG MAPS location analytics program. It also represents the closer ties PlaceIQ has been seeking to forge with agencies, as evidenced by the company’s decision in February to open up its CIP Analytics platform directly to Madison Avenue partners such as SMG and WPP’s Mediacom. While the timing comes a day after location programmatic company NinthDecimal struck an exclusive online-to-offline measurement pact with SMG’s Publicis sibling ZenithOptimedia, PlaceIQ Chief Strategy Officer Derek Thompson is quick to note that this was not a matter of just trying to lock in client deals with an ad agency.

“We partner with agencies for the purpose of solving business problems,” Thompson said. “It has become a natural extension to take it beyond mobile to the biggest consumer screen.”

This is not PlaceIQ’s first foray into television advertising. In February 2014, it worked with TV measurement company Rentrak on applying its geo-analytics to linear (i.e., “traditional broadcast”) television viewing.

Beyond The Last Click

With SMG MAPS TV, PlaceIQ’s insights now include both regular and pay TV audiences. However, while SMG and Rentrak will be able to create performance attribution models using PlaceIQ’s Place Visit Rate metric to match mobile consumers’ in-store visits to addressable TV campaigns, they will only be able to do so independently, as the linear and non-linear data is not being combined.

Still, even on their own, the application of geo-data in those separate spheres is expected to be compelling to all three companies’ respective marketing clients.

“In an industry first, location-aware intelligence and household matching can now be used to activate more precisely and understand the effectiveness of addressable TV advertising,” said Lisa Weinstein, president of Global Digital, Data & Analytics at SMG. “This partnership is illustrative of our overarching strategy to take precision marketing to an entirely new level, creating a marketplace that moves at the pace of people and creates a new way to measure TV advertising effectiveness.”

At the moment, the clients the SMG MAPS TV tool remain unidentified. The three companies involved expect to be able to bring in any of marketers who want to avail themselves of the addressable TV ge0-analytics. It’s also not clear if the relationship between the three companies will remain closed to other partners or if other companies will be invited to participate.

In terms of the use case of SMG MAPS TV, it is not meant as a final word on whether a particular ad “clicked” with consumers, Thompson said. As the lines blur between traditional media like TV, which prizes brand affinity, and online media, which still tends toward cheap, direct response ads, the hope is that the higher standards — and higher spending — associated with TV will exert a greater influence on digital marketing practices.

“This is not about last click attribution,” Thompson said, referring to the metric that values the last ad an online user saw before clicking on an ad to make a purchase. “It’s not about saying whether a single TV commercial spurred someone to go to an auto dealership. When the various digital teams at the agency and the client side look at this capability, it’ll help bolster the media mix that they’re using. It allows them to look at how all these various media touchpoints a consumer goes through. It will inspire them work together to drive the type of result clients are looking for over the course of a campaign. We don’t want to create another silo around mobile or addressable TV. This is about being able to look at a media plan in a truly holistic way.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

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