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PlaceIQ-comScore Deal Further Mainstreams Location Analytics

For some time now, we’ve been talking about how location analytics is a profound development that will dramatically impact not only digital media but all advertising. That was on full display at LSA’s recent Place Conference in New York.

At the conference PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall presented a compelling case study involving location-based audience segmentation and offline-to-online targeting for e-commerce purposes. Today the company announced a deal with comScore to report physical store visitation from TV, mobile and desktop advertising.

Comscore said that in their early testing of the product advertisers had a “really positive reaction.” Categories that are going to be interested include retail, QSR, automotive, hospitality and CPG. Taken together these categories represent well over $100 billion in annual ad spending. Last year the IAB reported that total digital ad spending in the US was roughly $73 billion.

Accordingly location analytics will eventually touch a substantial chunk of digital (and even traditional) ad spending. It can also be used to measure traditional OOH, direct mail and TV. Indeed, traditional TV is part of the PlaceIQ-comScore partnership. All this happens through IP, household and device ID matching and then a control and exposed methodology for visitation.

At the Place Conference several people brought up whether offline measurement was creating another “last click” attribution problem by not factoring in all the different influences on store visitation. However comScore responded to that question by telling me that control/exposed lift measurement could isolate the designated medium and measure its causal impact on location visits.

Currently comScore won’t be measuring the impact of combined media or channels — TV + mobile, for example. But that kind of measurement is hypothetically possible. For now, having this widely apply to TV, display and video across platforms and channels is very significant.

Facebook and Google are also rapidly building out their offline measurement and online retargeting capabilities. Not long ago Facebook announced the ability to retarget online based on store visits. Offline visitation is also available as an ad objective for SMBs on Facebook, though the analytics are not at this point. And Google enables location analytics and offline tracking for search, display and YouTube ads.

PlaceIQ’s Duncan McCall makes the point that Facebook and Google are “walled gardens” that both sell and measure the efficacy of their own ads. He says that the difference here is that comScore and PlaceIQ are not selling media but independent actors measuring media performance across platforms.

Eventually all platforms, ad sellers and resellers will need to either directly offer location analytics or ride on top of third party platforms that do.

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