With Geo-Data Demand Rising, Placed Raises $10 Million
The Location-analytics provider is riding high on additional capital and new partners -- but can attribution separate it from its rivals?
Placed is having a pretty good week — its opt-in, panel-based analytics offering is the centerpiece of a major campaign study by Ace Hardware and The Weather Channel; it’s lined up a range of key ad tech partners; and to top it off, the Seattle company has just raised a $10 million second round funding intended to help it capitalize on the increasing demand for geo-data and related insights from marketers.
Placed will use the proceeds from the funding round, which was led by Two Sigma Ventures and included previous backer Madrona Venture Group, to expand its product suite. The company’s offerings are grounded by Placed Attribution, which connects mobile ads to brick-and-mortar store visits.
The Placed Attribution tool has allowed the company to signup 10 new partners in the past quarter, including Pandora, The Weather Channel, Rocket Fuel, InMobi, Undertone, and AdTheorent. The addition of these new partners will naturally help Placed expand its client base widely, even as it continues its support of location-based advertising programs by Millennial Media, PayPal, Thinknear, Verve, and xAd.
Killing The Click
In a sense the client roster shows how well Placed can situate itself with companies that would otherwise appear to be rivals in the in race to capture and deploy geo-data from consumers — particularly xAd, Thinknear, and Millennial, which have all expanded their location tools recently.
Asked to explain Placed’s position in the marketplace, CEO and founder David Shim pointed to the company’s ability to show how consumers are interacting with a brand on their smartphones. On top of that, Placed claims it can clearly demonstrate the impact of mobile ads driving sales at physical retail locations — the holy grail of geo-targeting.
“I’d say key differentiators include a single cross-publisher currency to measure store visits, a 100 percent opt-in panel that generates over 175 million locations a day, disconnecting the conflict of interest that exists when selling both media and attribution, and best in class technology that has been audited against 14 million consumer validations — adding 20k validation points a day,” Shim says. “Optimizing by click-through rates is no longer an option, when in-store visitation is readily available.”
The company’s attribution tools builds on its two-year-old “Placed Panels” product, which is at the core of what Placed is. The product was typically aimed at publishers as a way to package their audience to marketers as an alternative to talking about demographics, which is vague in comparison to the profiles gleaned from location data patterns.
As an incentive to the 175,000 people who download the Placed app that allows users to opt-in, the company offers deals for reporting their location that include store coupons to donations to select charities.
The range of what Placed can instantly survey has definite appeal to marketers, ad networks, publishers, as Placed directly measures 175 million consumer locations.
But standing still is not an option, as the competitive landscape is only going to grow. So the $10 million second round — which brings the total amount of venture capital raised to $13.4 million since 2012 — is intended to keep it ahead of rivals. In addition to expanding its product offerings, the company is also set to open a New York office, which will put it even closer to publishers and ad agencies.
“BIA/Kelsey is projecting local will make up over 50 percent of mobile ad spend in 2016,” Shim says when asked if the rise of the location-marketplace was related to the timing of this funding round. “This shift in dollars highlights locations importance and its ability to drive measurable changes in the real world behaviors of consumers.”