How Dunkin’ Donuts Is Using Mastercard’s Masterpass To Drive Loyalty Membership

Dunkin’ Donuts is kicking off the holiday season in a partnership with Masterpass, the digital payment service by Mastercard that is designed to promote the nearly four-year-old DD Perks rewards program and mobile pay generally.

Dunkin’ Donuts now has more than 7.5 million DD Perks members. The growth of the rewards program reflects a broader influence of social media and mobile payments in that, aside from building up points for discounts, the primary benefit for customers is simply a “better experience.”

In the case of a QSR chain like Dunkin’ Donuts, that means getting customers what they want quickly with as little friction as possible when it comes to paying.

At the start of this week — and continuing through Friday, November 17 — Dunkin’ Donuts’ Perks Week program brings new and existing members who reload their Perks enrolled DD card using Masterpass will receive $5 loaded directly onto their enrolled DD Card. (Customers using auto-reload will not qualify for the $5 reload bonus.

Additionally, all DD Perks members who make a purchase through On-the-Go Mobile Ordering on Thursday, November 16 will be entered to win a $5,000 “Ultimate Shopping Spree Sweepstakes.”

Earlier this year, Dunkin’ Donuts began accepting Masterpass by Mastercard as a new digital payment option so guests can quickly and easily purchase and reload virtual Dunkin’ Donuts cards on DunkinDonuts.com and the Dunkin’ Mobile App. Using Masterpass on DunkinDonuts.com and in the Dunkin’ Mobile App to purchase or reload a DD Card ensures your morning cup of coffee is never further than a tap away.

The DD Perks Rewards Program rewards guests nationwide with points toward free Dunkin’ Donuts beverages for every visit they make at participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations. With DD Perks, guests earn five points for every dollar they spend on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts when they pay using an enrolled DD Card, either plastic or via the Dunkin’ Mobile App.

“The program has proven to be successful, with our most recent Perks Week program in May generating higher DD Perks sales with a larger On-the-Go Mobile Ordering mix than any other week in 2017. We also saw our highest volume of mobile orders since the launch of the platform, and new user trial rates doubling during the week,” says Sherrill Kaplan, VP of Digital Marketing and Innovation for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S.

“We are excited to partner with Dunkin’ Donuts during Perks Week, presenting exclusive Masterpass offers to current and new DD Perks members,” adds Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President, Merchants and Acceptance, Mastercard. “Together with Dunkin’, we’re combining cutting edge payments technology with valuable offers to celebrate the holiday season and promote one of the most successful loyalty programs in the world.”

GeoMarketing: How does Dunkin’ Donuts see the value of Masterpass in driving loyalty?

Sherrill Kaplan: At Dunkin’ Donuts, we show appreciation for our loyal guests though technologies that make enjoying Dunkin’ coffee, food and other beverages as fast and easy as possible. Digital payment methods like Masterpass by Mastercard help us provide our guests with even more quick and convenient ways to run on Dunkin’. Combining the latest and safest digital technology with Dunkin’s DD Perks Rewards Program has been very popular with guests.

Will Masterpass be promoting the DD Perks program as well?

Yes, Mastercard is engaging with their Masterpass user base through their email channels during Perks Week.

Is this promotion focused on a particular region, or is it nationwide?

Perks Week presented by Masterpass is a national program that represents a robust and exciting opportunity to show appreciation to the millions of guests who make Dunkin’ Donuts an important part of their daily lives.

Will there be any geo-targeted advertising involved in the promotion?

In order to engage our existing DD Perks members and drive new member enrollment throughout Perks Week, we are supporting this nationally by leveraging proven digital media partners, Facebook, Instagram and Google, key publisher partners, Cheddar and Business Insider as well as owned organic channels, including Snapchat and Instagram stories. We will also use “zero-speed takeovers” on Waze to reach our on-the-go guests.

How does the company see its DD Perks program as differentiated from other loyalty/rewards programs? My sense is that most loyalty programs, even digital ones, are strictly about getting discounts for showing up and getting a card punched (even if it’s a virtual program). How does DD Perks offer value beyond the typical discount for checking in?

Our goal with DD Perks is to provide our guests with great experiences, value, and rewards to our extremely loyal and passionate fans in ways that exceed their expectations. For instance, all DD Perks members who make a purchase through On-the-Go Mobile Ordering on Thursday, November 16 will be entered to win a $5,000 Ultimate Shopping Spree Sweepstakes.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Perks Rewards program has been a key strategic pillar for the brand and a differentiator in the competitive coffee space. Loyalty is the main focus for all that we do at Dunkin’ Donuts and we developed our DD Perks Rewards Program to help harness and strengthen this relationship.

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Snapchat Context Cards Open To Advertisers, Starting With Lionsgate’s Wonder

Marketers will now be able to use Snapchat’s place-based information Context Cards to connect image sharing platform’s to a Lens or Filter ad.

Snapchat’s Context Cards debuted last month. The feature helps Snapchat users learn location-related details about what they’re looking at within the app. The information is sourced from third–party app partners such as Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Goop, and represents the clearest way for brands that manage their online listings to get in front of the image sharing platform’s 173 million daily users.

Context Cards also offer connections to ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, as well as reservation platforms Open Table, Resy, and Bookatable to further make the online/offline link between the app and consumers in the real world.

Coming To A Snapchat Near You

Lionsgate is first marketer to use the Context Cards, which are available to Lens or Filter advertisers with no additional charge.  as their National Lens today will help drive traffic to a movie times site for their film Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson and opening on Friday, Nov. 17.

The Context Cards encourages Snapchat users to swipe up and access more details from any friend’s Snap that features a Sponsored Lens or Filter.

Users will see a Context Card, which is a link to a brand’s chosen URL.

If tapped, the user is taken to that website (without leaving Snapchat). In the future, advertisers will be able to deep-link into their app, among other options. Users will see these only when viewing Snaps, not when creating or playing in the camera. Snapchat plans to rollout Context Cards to additional markets in early 2018.

Snapchat’s Context Card, which is attached to a Filter promoting the Lionsgate film Wonder, directs users to ticket sales — without leaving the app.

Snapping The Knowledge Graph

Snap’s creation of Context Cards reflects the broader desire of brands and consumers to assist real world activity with immediate information around Digital Presence, including a business’s or service’s address, hours of operation, reviews, social media profile, contact, and more.

As GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain notes, “the Knowledge Graph was popularized by Google, which launched the Google Knowledge Graph back in 2012 in a bid to provide users with structured answers to their queries — not just blue links.”

In other words,  the Knowledge Graph ‘understands’ facts about places, people, and things, and it uses this information to give more relevant information to searchers, Chamberlain writes. This Google Knowledge Graph is usually what people are talking about when they use the term “knowledge graph” to refer to getting structured answers on the web that, through algorithms, become smarter over time.

As for Snap and Snapchat brands, using this kind of broad-based information could help improve engagement and ad performance on its platform. Over the past year, campaigns with a Lens or Filter drove a 16 point lift in ad awareness, 8 point lift in brand awareness, and 5 point lift in action intent on average, according Snapchat In-App polling powered by Nielsen Brand Effect.

In terms of the value of the Context Card itself, the additional real-estate to include info so Snapchatters can access greater detail about a product, business, film, game, item. Plus, it helps solve the problem of mobile’s narrow screen, relative to desktop.

As more users shift to mobile, addressing the space issue on mobile is paramount.

While this feature is not intended as a performance marketing tool (such as Snap Pixel), brands get additional metrics, including impressions on the Context Card and clickthroughs.

Once within the Context Cards for a specific location or venue, a user can then locate the restaurant on Snap Map, another feature introduced in this past summer that lets Snapchatters position themselves on a map of the world while displaying crowd-sourced images and videos shared from specific locations.

So for a retailer running a Lens or Filter ad highlighting a coupon can then employ the Context Card to let a consumer contact restaurant directly or make a reservation (if it’s available) via Open Table, Bookatable, or Resy, and even get an Uber or Lyft to take them there — all without leaving Snapchat.

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Snapchat’s Context Cards Extend Digital Presence Information From Outside Apps

The introduction of Snapchat’s Context Cards represent the clearest way for brands that manage their online listings to get in front of the image sharing platform’s 173 million daily users.

The company bills Context Cards as a “new way” for Snapchatters to learn about what they’re viewing via information from third–party app partners including Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Goop. Context Cards also offers connections to ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, as well as reservation platforms Open Table, Resy, and Bookatable.

Context Card in action: Using Snap’s own “Knowledge Graph” and tools like Snap Map, users can find information about places — and then make a reservation or hail a ride all without leaving the Snapchat app.

Context And Engagement

In a larger sense, Context Cards shows the expansion of the “Knowledge Graph” concept promoted by Google that aims to meet consumers’ demand for specific answers and information instead of a list of links from a search.

The Snapchat feature is similar to the mix of personalized news and place-based information that Google Now app users see via “smart cards.”

In the case of  Snapchat Context Cards, when a user sees an image of, say, a place that serves pancakes in a Snap, they can swipe up if that Snap says “More” at the bottom to see more information likes reviews about that business from partners like TripAdvisor or Foursquare, for example.

Once within the Context Cards for a specific location or venue, a user can then locate the restaurant on Snap Map, contact the restaurant directly or make a reservation (if it’s available) via Open Table, Bookatable, or Resy, and even get an Uber or Lyft to take them there — all without leaving Snapchat.

Snapchat Context Cards showcase location information and provide access to apps that will connect the user to a physical place.

It all adds up to the way Snapchat has gone from bewildering publishers, agencies, and brands as marketing partner two years ago to being an essential part of practically all major brands’ app engagement and Digital Presence Management by linking together places and related real-time information) to online/offline strategies.

No Ads, Only Organic Connection

The advent of Context Cards comes as other platforms seek ways of aligning with complementary apps. Two weeks ago, as an example, Walmart signed on to Button’s Marketplace, an app engagement and payments platform that connects matches mobile content with the ability to access related transactions without having to juggle multiple apps at once.

The Context Cards also follow the path set by previous Snap features like Geofilters, which initially allowed only users to add an image overlay telling friends their location,  and Snap Map, which debuted in June and lets Snapchatters position themselves on a map of the world while displaying crowd-sourced images and videos shared from specific locations.

Like Snap Map, ads will not appear within the Snaps found in Context at this time — that includes Snap Ads and Sponsored Creative Tools. In general, it’s worth noting that in the interest of preserving its unique user experience, ads still do not appear between Snaps in Search or Snap Map today either.

Location At The Center

The feature also puts a spotlight on the importance of location technology that Snap has relied on.

Foursquare is noted as a particular partner in Context Cards, thanks in part to its personalized discovery tools based on its location intelligence as well as its connection to a wide range of brands. But it’s not the only provider of geospatial information to Snap.

In addition to its purchase of online-to-offline attribution Placed this summer, Snap Map is also powered by navigation and geo-data visualization players Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and DigitalGlobe. On the advertising side, Snap also works with geo-data specialist Factual and location-based ad targeting and analytics provider GroundTruth.

Overall, Snap relies on a sophisticated combination of internal and external signals to determine relationships between venues and locations. Together with location intelligence from its partners, it been able to build a strong knowledge graph, the value and accuracy of which will continue to grow stronger.

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Snap Adds GroundTruth As Latest Location Ad Partner For Geofilters, Snapchat Ads

Snap has named GroundTruth (previously known as xAd) as its latest location technology partner, as the social messaging/”camera” company seeks to sharpen and broaden its advertising arsenal.

As an official partner, GroundTruth will make Snapchat’s Geofilters and Snap Ads available directly on the location marketplace’s platform through Snapchat’s API.

While Snapchat’s reach and engagement are fairly large — 166 million users who spend an average of 30 minutes on the app during 18 daily visits — GroundTruth boasts a first-party database of 95 million active monthly users and 17 million active daily users, across 100 million places and points of interest across 21 countries.

GroundTruth became part of Snap’s roughly 30 certified partners in early June. But apart from those partners, which includes a range of companies like data science specialist 4C to Kinetic Social to programmatic video ad platform TubeMogul, the company has been striking separate deals with location intelligence providers.

Over the past several months, Snap has signed up geo-data specialist Factual and location intelligence platform Foursquare, on top of acquiring attribution provider Placed and French social-location app Zenly, ahead of its debut of Snap Map.

That most recent feature is supported by a trio of location data visualization and geospatial tech providers: Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and satellite imagery vendor DigitalGlobe.

As Snap Map, which, for the moment, is not available for sponsorships, gets traction by letting users share and see what’s happening around them to their friends, the role of location to power its advertising is becoming clearer.

Snap has proven that it has engagement and that it can break new ground in terms of consumer-facing features. The big issue for the company is turning its ad models — the sponsored Lenses, Geofilers, and video Snap Ads — into a broadly viable business that can steal share away from Google and Facebook.

Expanding Models for Snap — And GroundTruth

Among the questions its asking its growing roster of partners: What are the other ad models Snap can generate based on maps?

The other thing that seems to be key, is if it can see what kind of topics and places its users are interested it, that provides a great deal of context for the kinds of ads it can serve.

And that’s where GroundTruth, which has geofencing and ad targeting at its core, even as it seeks to become known for its analytics and insights separate from advertising purposes, comes in.

Specifically, when xAd rebranded as GroundTruth last week, part of the reason was that the company wanted its name to reflect that its location technology was was focused on more than just advertising.

“With our ability to offer clients targeted Geofilters, this expands our location targeted media offering,” GroundTruth CMO Monica Ho told GeoMarketing. “In regards to our new expansion into data and insights — the ability to use our location-based audiences in Snap for targeted video content is part of our new focus and strategy, and something we hope to offer in other platforms shortly.”

By working with Snap, GroundTruth expects to see how its capabilities can further promote the role of geo-data in enhancing that platform’s own ad products.

“[GroundTruth clients] can work with our team to create or upload designs, select broadcast areas, access GroundTruth’s custom Location Audience segments, and more,” adds Ted Babitz, VP -Supply at GroundTruth, in a blog post announcing the deal. “The potential for delighting customers is limitless and we’re excited to see what our client partners come up with. Will they shock and awe customers with Snap Ads that are so relevant that they feel completely personalized? Will businesses create unique Geofilters and send consumers scouring far and wide to collect and share them? Time will have to tell.”

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Acquisition Of Zenly, Launch Of Snap Map Highlight Snapchat’s Real-World, Real-Time Influence

Snap, the parent company of social messaging app Snapchat, has been adding a variety of location tech tools at a rapid pace lately, and the debut of Snap Maps with the platform’s latest update is further demonstration of how its images and animations are intended to affect users’ activity in the physical world.

Launched the same week as its big appearance at Cannes Lions, where Snap’s branded yellow ferris wheel dominated the skyline in the seaside French town, Snap Map is being billed as a new map experience for its users.

In essence, Snap Map lets Snapchatters show and see what’s happening around their friends. As opposed to most social media uses of location, Snap Map is not about where you are and directions for how to get somewhere.

In addition, after suggesting certain similarities between Snap Map and French social location app, Zenly, Techcrunch broke the news that Snap acquired the company for between $250- and $350 million dollars in May, citing anonymous sources.

While Techcrunch contends that Snap Map is built directly on Zenly’s location sharing capabilities, the similarities actually appear to be merely skin deep.

Attribution is commonly required in map-based apps to indicate the technologies and geospatial data used in the application. The companies listed on the Snap Maps attribution page are all suppliers (directly or indirectly) to Snap Map. Typically a map platform puts together a number of different data sources, synthesizes them into the various map layers and then delivers them to the application. That indicates that Snap maps are built on Mapbox (as indicted in my previous article), not Zenly.

There is an obvious similarity between the two and Snap has acknowledged that they purchased Zenly several months ago. That similarity is may be due to Zenly having built on Mapbox as well…as are thousands of other customized map based applications.

Offline Activity Brought Selectively Online

The map itself is powered by a trio of location data visualization and geospatial tech providers: Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and satellite imagery vendor DigitalGlobe.

The activity on the map is seen through Snap “Actionmojis”– a new type of Bitmoji, which users can download separately to create a new avatar on Snapchat, the company said in its blog post announcement.

The idea essentially updates what other mobile apps from Swarm to France’s Zenly is to connect members of a social network together based on where they are and what they’re doing in the moment.

“In a lot of ways, we’re taking what a map is and turning it upside down,” Jack Brody, a product designer at Snap, told Refinery29’s Madeline Buxton. “This map isn’t about where am I, it’s about where are my friends and what are they up to? It’s not about figuring out how to get to your destination, but about discovering where you want to go.”

The nature of Snapchat, unlike say Facebook or Twitter, indicates a greater level of actual friendship in “real life” and its use of location reflects that level of intimacy: roughly 60 percent of the interactions on Snapchat are between close friends, according to a study called Circles of Influence from Sparkler, US data, commissioned by Snap.

To use and view Snap Map, app users simply pinch to zoom out from the Snapchat “camera.” The Snap Map is a new layer on top of the current Snapchat experience. The first time Snapchatters open Snapchat after updating their app, they’ll be taken through an explanation outlining how to find the Map and how it works.

Showing Snapchat’s Playful And Serious Sides

At the moment, there are no branded sponsorships available in Snap Map, the way they are through Snapchat’s Geofilters, which have been available to marketers for two years, starting with McDonald’s in Aug. 2015.

For Snap, The Map is another place for it showcase its users creativity in the app’s “Our Story” feature, which feature public posts. Users can also opt-out of wide sharing of their Map stories through the “Ghost Mode” privacy setting.

In general, Snaps are available to view on the Map for about 24 hours, though they may be found for a longer period through the app’s search.

A visual “Heat Map” within the feature can be used to point other users to a special event or breaking news at a particular place and are sorted through Snap’s algorithm.

Thumbnails will also help Snapchatters distinguish points of interest where a lot of Snaps are regularly being taken and submitted regularly, like Times Square or a major attraction, as well as those events that the Snap team has more of a hand in curating.

The addition of Snap Map comes a week after the company struck a partnership with geo-data specialist Factual’s Global Places data, which contains real-time info on more than 100 million places across 52 countries. Days before that deal, Snap acquired attribution platform Placed. That purchase came after months of assembling location data and digital presence knowledge from partners such as Foursquare and Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here).

Last August, Snap acquired mobile search and local recommendation app Vurb for a reported $110+ million to help promote discovery of local places.

Snap Map Making — And Breaking — News

While Snap tends to take things a bit more cautiously when it comes to marketing, the company has been trying to demonstrate how it, like Facebook/Instagram and Twitter, can serve as an additional distribution channel for news sites and publications. Given the inherently local quality of news, the use of Snap Map could be used to enhance Snapchat’s appeal to publishers.

As Brody tells Refinery29, Snap wants to prove it has a serious side as well as a playful side.  For example, Brody points to the first test of its mapping capabilities during construction site’s crane accident in Feb. 2016. Snapchat users began sharing details of the incident through the Our Stories view.

Brody’s summary of Snapchat’s role in spreading information is particularly telling for traditional news organizations still trying to catch up to the speed f social media: “That was this moment of ‘we have something here,’” Brody says. “We had newsworthy content 10 minutes before the first news company actually arrived.”

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Snap Layers On Location Services, Adds Factual To Geo-Data Partner Mix

Snap is adding geo-data specialist Factual’s Global Places data as the social media “camera” and messaging platform continues to build up a roster of location technology providers.

The deal comes a week after Snap acquired attribution platform Placed. That purchase came after months of assembling location data and digital presence knowledge from partners such as Foursquare and Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here).

Factual’s Global Places data covers more than 100 million places across 52 countries. The company has also found itself in demand by other high-profile tech brands such as Uber, Apple Maps, and Facebook, which just expanded its nearly year-old partnership with Factual worldwide.

“As the neutral location data company making data accessible to everyone, our mission has been to build the biggest trove of location data in the world and share it with developers, marketers and enterprises,” said Factual SVP of Revenue Rob Jonas in a blog post heralding the deal. “We believe location is an incredibly valuable signal and a core differentiator for mobile based products, and will be more and more embraced by the best mobile companies.

“Snap Inc.’s innovative use of location has continuously impressed us, and we are thrilled to partner with the company to help drive more fun and surprising user experiences,” Jonas added. “During Snap Inc’s first earnings call in May 2017, the company announced it had 166 million daily active users on average.”

While Snap representatives have not be available for comment on the Factual deal, it’s clear that location has long been a crucial aspect of its product line, particularly its Geofilters, which have been available to marketers for two years, starting with McDonald’s in Aug. 2015.

Snapchat rolled out Geofilters — illustrations that can be overlaid onto photos while in specific locations —back in December 2014, but were initially unbranded. For example, a “snapper” on the island of Manhattan could choose a geofilter that simply read “Manhattan” in creative text. But particularly in the past year, Snap has sought to find deeper ways to build a better advertising and consumer experience around the concept of location sharing.

For example, in mid-August, Snapchat acquired mobile search and local recommendation app Vurb for a reported $110+ million to help promote discovery of local places — something that Foursquare’s flagship app also provides.

It is not clear how Factual’s data will fit in — or operate separately — with Snap’s other location intelligence tools.

What is clear, is that Snap, like most platforms, marketers, and agencies, view location data as fundamental to the way it engages and appeals to its users and marketing partners.

As marketers continue to become more data-driven and ROI focused, publishers that offer measurement tools that show a direct correlation between online campaigns and offline results can gain competitive advantage with brands,” said Brian Czarny, SVP of marketing at location intelligence platform Factual, told us last week when asked to comment on the Snap/Placed deal.

“That’s where having access to location data becomes so critical,”Czarny said, adding, “from the initial targeting of an audience all the way through to measuring device movement for attribution – and publishers will increasingly partner with location data providers like Factual or seek to acquire the data themselves.”

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What Snap’s Acquisition of Placed Says About The Value Of Location Tech

This week’s acquisition of attribution specialist Placed by social media giant Snap is reflects trend that has been gathering over the past few years: the notion that location technology is crucial to the implementation of online-to-offline marketing, the powering of artificial intelligence platforms, search, and indoor and outdoor engagement between consumers and brands.

Since geo-data is so essential to all those activities and purposes means that possessing the tools to measure and target and direct the underlying technology is raising the profile of other companies in that area of tech and software. We checked in with Brian Czarny, who was recently appointed SVP of marketing at location intelligence platform Factual, about what the week’s big deal means from his vantage point.

GeoMarketing: What does Snap’s acquisition of Placed say about the importance of location data and publishers/developers’ access to it within the wider first-party data they possess?

Brian Czarny: As marketers continue to become more data-driven and ROI focused, publishers that offer measurement tools that show a direct correlation between online campaigns and offline results can gain competitive advantage with brands.

That’s where having access to location data becomes so critical — from the initial targeting of an audience all the way through to measuring device movement for attribution – and publishers will increasingly partner with location data providers like Factual or seek to acquire the data themselves.

What this means for the entire location space / importance of location data

The acquisition is great for the entire location data market and shows the increasing importance of location data to not only advertisers in how they target audiences, but for publishers who want to offer deeper understanding of how online marketing translates to offline behavior of their users.

How are brands moving to incorporate location data into their marketing mix (understanding of customer behavior and tailoring experiences)

Brands are increasingly incorporating location data into their marketing mix and broader business initiatives. In doing so, they are gaining a deeper understanding of customer behavior, tailoring online & offline experiences, targeting the right buyer at the right time, and measuring the impact of online campaigns with real, offline results in ways not possible without location data.

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Why Snap Acquired Online-To-Offline Attribution Provider Placed

Snap is not just a “camera company” anymore: It’s now in the location-based advertising measurement business thanks to its purchase of six-year-old attribution pioneer Placed.

The purchase is estimated at roughly $125 million, Bloomberg News reported, noting that after a series of deals, this is Snap’s “most significant purchase since its March initial public offering, in which it raised $3.4 billion.” (Geekwire cited a “reliable source” that the deal could be worth as much as $200 million,)

The news was confirmed in a short blog post on Placed’s site by CEO/founder David Shim, who noted that the Seattle-based location services brand plans to remain independent.

“Over the past 12 months, Placed has measured more than $500 million in media spend to store visits, across thousands of campaigns and hundreds of partners, cementing Placed as the leader in location-based attribution,” Shim wrote. “By partnering with Snap, we will do even more. Still working independently, Placed’s goal continues to be the adoption of a common yardstick that can measure the offline effectiveness of advertising across multiple platforms and publishers.”

Again, given its use of other location tech providers, there are reasons to wonder why Snap chose to buy Placed, as opposed to simply contract with it as a partner.

One reason is clear: Snap is still generating excitement from marketers and agencies as an important advertising tool. But the company is facing significant competition from Facebook and Instagram when it comes to both maintaining their respective appeal to Millennials while building a broader base of users and advertisers.

To make the case to advertisers and agencies, Snap needs to take the guesswork out of its placements and collaborations on behalf of marketers.

In some ways, owning Placed goes beyond attribution. It goes to the point that location technology offers in supporting a range of advertising and marketing use cases on a daily, real-time, and predictive basis.

How The Deal Will work

Placed, which has roughly 100 staffers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, will continue to report to Shim. It’s not clear if Shim’s title will change, but he  will report to Imran Khan, Snap’s Chief Strategy Officer.

A source tells GeoMarketing that Snap plans to establish “strict data-sharing, privacy and security guidelines” to ensure a technical and physical separation of advertiser data between Snapchat and Placed.

Snap acquired Placed to continue to scale its measurement business and improve upon some of its own first-party offerings, like Snap to Store, by allowing advertisers to measure impact across multiple platforms.

As a mobile-only platform, people use apps like Snapchat when they are out in the real world — not just when they are sitting behind a computer screen.

Its 166 million daily active users visit the app more than 18 times per day — that’s over 30 minutes in time spent daily.

Snaps overlaid with Geofilters are viewed over 1 billion times a day, often displaying branding from national or local businesses.

According to research commissioned by Snap from Greenberg Strategy, 80 percent of its members have used Snapchat at a restaurant, 66 percent at a shopping mall, 50 percent at a gym etc.

Snap’s Other Location Data Access Points

While Snap has been using Foursquare’s polygon-based Place Shapes data since last fall to support branded Snapchat Geofilters, it’s not clear if that relationship will continue (Foursquare also has its own Attribution product along with related location-based insights). Foursquare had been serving as a complement Snapchat’s other location information sources.

In mid-August, Snapchat acquired mobile search and local recommendation app Vurb for a reported $110+ million to help promote discovery of local places — something that Foursquare’s flagship app also provides.

Since last summer, knowledge management engine Yext began powering Geofilter campaigns on Snapchat. (Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing‘s parent company. More details on that relationship here.)

While Placed will be able to measure the effectiveness of programs such as Snap to Store, that’s not the only reason its worth owning an attribution provider.

Location Assumes Centrality

A number of things drove Snap and Placed’s deal at this moment.

First and foremost, location technology has gone from a niche skill powering interactive maps to and something that has become a fundamental part of digital marketing.

Location is more than just lat/long; the use of geo-data powers all kinds of online/offline knowledge about consumers based on the places they go. Demographics, the traditional method for understanding how to craft and place an ad, is too vague — household income, gender, and education are very broad categories. Even matching them with cookie-based behavioral targeting is not as valuable, since you’re constantly looking in reverse.

Location is more forward-looking than other forms of targeting and attribution. If one knows where a certain type of consumer tends to go, the location patterns they create offer advertisers, agencies, publishers/developers, and platform companies much more depth and insight.

For example, people who go to fast food restaurants in the late afternoon or people who tend to shop at Walmart or Target on Tuesdays and Thursdays give you a sense of where people are in their lives in a way that household income and gender don’t.

Most importantly, location is increasingly powering other technologies like voice-activated search via digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. Instead of a list of hyperlinked search results on an infinite number of pages, location data is being used to provide specific answers based on where the consumer is.

Placed has long been positing itself as the go-to provider of cross-platform attribution, the currency of online-to-offline ad sales and targeting: that is, they promise to answer whether someone saw a mobile ad— even an out-of-home or addressable TV ad thanks to alliances they’ve struck with agencies and demand-side platforms— and then went to a brick-and-mortar store and bought something as a result.

Over the past three years, Placed has aggressively sought to sign up every major agency and ad exchange platform. Media buyers control the planning and placement of spending, and ad exchanges command the attention of publishers and agency trading desks as well.

Snap’s star quality as the “thing” to reach Millennials and Gen-Z is one thing. But with out performance metrics, agencies and their brand clients won’t spend consistently. Placed can easily connect Snap to spending from its partners, who describe their respective relationships with the company as its “preferred, non-exclusive” attribution provider for roughly 100 publishers, networks, and demand side platforms, including IPG Mediabrands, DigitasLBi, Horizon Media, Tapad, DataXu, Drawbridge, RUN, Adelphic, The Trade Desk, and DataXu, among others.

Attribution Wars Continue

Attribution is intensely valued and intensely competitive. And, although Placed has had a big head start on its rivals, like Google, Foursquare, Facebook, and other tech vendors, those contenders have built attribution into their systems as well. As a capability, attribution is increasingly viewed as a commodity or a feature. As a result it has become harder to differentiate among competing providers. This is why Placed felt that now was a good time to sell.

But Placed has a lot of tricks up its sleeve — by positioning itself as the “standard” for attribution among agencies, it has struck important deals that gave it a leg up.

For example, in March, discount shopping app Retale rolled out its “Store Traffic Guarantee” for ad campaigns on its platform a week after location marketplace xAd released its Cost-Per-Visit ad format with Applebee’s and The Home Depot. Both Retale’s and xAd’s pay-for-performance guarantees are being validated by Placed. The company’s primary product, Placed Attribution, is based on a panel model that includes 2.5 million active, double opted-in mobile app users — a number that the company has noted represents 1 in 100 adults in the U.S.

Therefore, with attribution’s value so clear, the bottom line for “owning vs. partnering” in terms of Snap acquiring Placed — and an idea that will power future consolidation in the location space — is this: the fact that on-demand, local digital services are heavily reliant on other parties’ maps and geo-data puts a publisher/developer like Snap at the mercy of those providers.

The choosing which provider to eats up time, costs, and the integration of multiple platforms and/or swapping out one company’s system for another creates gaps and uncertainty in a company like Snap’s marketing programs.

As a public company with incessant demands from shareholders as well as marketers, Snap can’t afford such distractions and interruptions. That’s why you see Facebook and Uber ramping up their own in-house location programs.

Placed’s Roadmap: Location-Based Optimization

And that ability made it important for Snap, which has made built its Snap to Store attribution ad program on top of its geofilters The pressure is coming from marketers to prove they can actually deliver customers to a place.

Placed’s mastery of location data will provide Snap with the ability to demonstrate that Snapchat activity results in physical sales. In an arena where roughly 90 percent of purchases happen in-store, that’s an asset the company had to obtain.

Shim had a sense of where the role of location technology would be heading two years ago.

In 2015, Placed expanded beyond measuring mobile advertising to include desktop ads with the launch of the Cross Device Marketplace.

The Cross Device Marketplace enabled advertisers and publishers to select a cross device provider (e.g., BlueCava, Crosswise, Drawbridge, Tapad) to be applied across a campaign, enabling Placed to connect desktop ad exposures to store visitation.

This expansion of Placed Attribution was something the market demanded, and quickly adopted once available. In 2015, Placed also announced the launch of Placed Revenue, where in addition to store visits, reports included purchase rate, revenue, and return on ad spend metrics.

Going into 2016, Location Based Optimization (LBO) is a term that Placed coined to highlight the shift in 2016 from measurement to optimization and actionablity as it relates to location.

“Location-Based Optimization is set to be the next SEO, SEM,” Shim told us last year. “With 90 percent of retail transactions occurring offline in the physical world, it is a channel where optimization is green field. LBO has the opportunity to be a larger market than SEO and SEM as it is addressing a market that is 9x the size of digital.”

That opportunity is now in Snap’s court.

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