Google Parent Alphabet Leads $1 Billion Funding In Lyft

Ride-hailing app Lyft has secured a $1 billion funding round from CapitalG,  the investment fund run by Google parent Alphabet, as the company seeks to capitalize on the rise of on-demand as its rival Uber works to recover from its various executive controversies and turmoil of the past year.

In a blog post on Lyft’s site, the company added that CapitalG Partner David Lawee is being added to the ride-hailing app’s board.

The deal suggests a growing shift in favor of Lyft by Google, which is also an investor in Uber. The move toward Lyft comes several months after Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, began partnering with Lyft on autonomous vehicles. Alphabet and Uber have been involved in a battle over intellectual property over the development of sensors for self-driving cars during the past year.

And while Uber is still the number one ride-hailing service, despite being banned from London, Lyft points out that this past year has been very successful. In its blog post, the company notes that that its service is now available to 95 percent of the U.S. population — up from 54 percent at the beginning of the year.

“While we’ve made progress towards our vision, we’re most excited about what lies ahead. The fact remains that less than 0.5 percent of miles traveled in the U.S. happen on rideshare networks,” Lyft’s statement says. “This creates a huge opportunity to best serve our cities’ economic, environmental, and social futures.”

Lyft has also been aggressively courting marketing partnerships with brands such as Taco Bell. The two collaborated on a “taco mode” campaign this past July.

Before that, General Motors’ app-based Maven program, is now in about 20 cities across the U.S. and Canada, struck a deal with Lyft in Atlanta as the auto brand seeks to expand the year-old car-sharing effort. A year ago, Lyft and Jet Blue also partnered to bring travelers service from the airport their their door.

As the role of geo-data supports the connection between online and offline, the auto industry will be at the center of the changing interactions between places of business and consumers. And that’s what underlies this funding in Lyft right now.

Carmakers’ future success will be measured in “miles traveled” as opposed to the number of cars actually sold, Adam Jonas, head of global auto research for Morgan Stanley, has opined in a study of the impact of driverless and connected cars will have on the automotive industry.

By 2030, cars will drive more than 19.6 billion miles globally — considerably higher than the 10.2 billion they traveled in 2015, Jonas has estimated. It’s worth noting that the pace of growth is much higher than the estimated production of cars and light vehicles during the same period.

“The natural solution appears to be more shared vehicles,” Jonas said. “Shared cars—taxis and cars operated by ride-sharing companies, but not car rental—in 2015 accounted for 4 percent of global miles traveled, but by 2030, Morgan Stanley estimates that number could reach 26 percent.”

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96 Percent Of Consumers Who Visit A Grocery Store Make At Least One CPG Purchase

Approximately 96 percent of consumers who visit a mass merchandiser or grocery store make at least one CPG purchase, according to research commissioned by GroundTruth — indicating a significant sales opportunity for the locations that most can effectively drive foot traffic.

The same trend appears to hold true for drug stores as well: 91 percent of consumers who visit pick up at least one CPG item.

These statistics indicate that once CPG marketers have gotten a shopper to a physical store location, there’s a near-guarantee of a sale — which is a good thing. But it’s important to separate correlation from causation here: Most customers don’t just decide stock up on toothpaste because they saw an ad when they were nearby a drugstore. Rather, people who have the intent to buy essential CPG items tend to visit a nearby retailer to fulfill this need.

Pharmacies and groceries aren’t locations for window shopping and browsing the same way a retailer like Nordstrom might be. That’s why, when it comes to driving foot traffic, it is crucial to target customer intent: Real-time location is one strong predictor of intent, but when combined with historical geo-data and behavior targeting, these businesses have a chance to win when it comes to driving foot traffic from shoppers who are predisposed to make a CPG purchase.

Additional insights from the study below.

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Over 60 Million People In The U.S. Will Use Voice-Enabled Assistants On A Monthly Basis This Year

Approximately 60.5 million of U.S. consumers will use voice-enabled assistants monthly or more often this year, according to an eMarketer forecast — and the heaviest usage occurs on voice-enabled speakers powered by these intelligent assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The fact that 65 percent of smart speaker owners use their smart speaker’s assistant daily or multiple times weekly isn’t surprising — and marketers are beginning to understand the importance of ensuring that their brand is represented when users ask their assistants to carry out tasks from “order dish soap on Amazon” to “call me a car.”

But more “novel” uses for the technology has yet to catch up to adoption as a whole, according to eMarketer’s research: Most of the skills and apps for smart speakers downloaded by consumers are not used again after two weeks.

Do Skills Work At All?

This isn’t to say that brands should explore the idea of creating skills for these devices: For example, to promote its year-old Patrón Cocktail Lab, Patron enabled its “Patrón skill” in the Alexa app on Amazon Alexa voice-enabled devices, allowing users can ask for cocktail recommendations, recipes and tips — everything from the perfect brunch recipe to the proper way to shake and strain a cocktail.

The liquor marketer launched the effort concurrently with turning to Foursquare for targeted ads — and while execs wouldn’t reveal sales figures, VP of marketing Adrian Parker said that Patrón’s business saw “double-digit growth.”

Additionally, even if such a skill isn’t widely used after two weeks, it can still generates value for the brand loyalists who stick with it — as well as showing that the brand has a presence on a platform that consumers are relying on to power more and more aspects of their daily lives.

That said, given current usage trends, marketers may do well to first focus their energy instead on improving their listings and data such that they show up in the knowledge graph. As consumers make more searches by voice expecting these kind of structured answers, the importance is only growing — and brands who prepare now will be ready for the next phase of connected intelligence.

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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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How Walmart Plans To Connect With App Content And Services Through Button Marketplace

Walmart is the latest retailer to sign on to Button Marketplace, an app engagement and payments platform that connects mobile content and commerce brands.

In addition to adding Walmart, the Button Marketplace has also added more than 30 diverse new retailers to the platform. These include fashion companies such as Gap, Express, and Under Armour; digital travel brands such as Hotwire, HomeAway, and VRBO; retail giants such as Target, QVC, Walgreens, and Sears; among many others.

The Marketplace is run by a company called Button, which provides the connective tissue between complementary mobile apps and websites to promote loyalty and payment.

Just by way of explanation, last May, The Weather Channel app began featuring Button Marketplace apps from Uber, Groupon, delivery.com, Caviar, and Resy.  As a result, its users would be able to hail a ride, sign up for a deal, get a food delivery, or make a reservation without leaving The Weather Channel to connect with those functions. In addition to maintaining engagement, The Weather Channel could potentially drive revenue through affiliate deals to promote those separate app functions.

As Walmart seeks to combat rival Amazon to be the primary online and offline shopping center for consumers, the extension to other apps within its own mobile base could help it prove its own greater convenience to consumers.

Michael Jaconi, founder and CEO of Button, was particularly ebullient in announcing what he believes the benefits are to the retail giant.

“Walmart joining Button’s Marketplace is one of the greatest accomplishments for the company to date,” said Jaconi, at his company’s Tap 2017 conference. “Enabling Walmart to expand the partnerships that matter most to them to the mobile channel is a core ingredient in their digital growth strategy. Now, with Button playing an important role in that strategy, I’m confident our platform will deliver the highest-converting channel for mobile buyers that exists.”

Jaconi backs up his claims by noting that as mobile commerce continues to grow, with smartphone sales expected to reach more than $102 billion in 2017 alone, retailers are seeking new avenues to tap into the growth of the mobile economy and acquire new users for the highest converting channels they have — their apps.

Back in February 2016, we spoke to Mike Dudas, Button’s co-founder, chief revenue officer, about the role that mobile was playing in blurring the lines between online and offline for retailers.

“We are focused on mobile commerce,” Dudas told us at the time. “But what’s really surprising is that mobile commerce is actually happening in store. For example, Walmart saw that something like 10 percent of their mobile transactions are happening in store on device.

“People want to walk in to a store and if it doesn’t have the good on the shelf, they say, ‘Guess what, I’ll buy it from you on my phone.’ You’re going to see retailers responding to this. You’re going to be able to buy anything and get it delivered at the biggest, most savvy and sophisticated retailers. There’s going to be a much bigger shift to transactions that occur on what some would call ‘remote commerce,’ but I would call “proximity commerce,” as I tap the phone and pay with a credit card.

“Then, there’s this whole class of transactions that occur with services like Uber, and other platforms where you can book anything from food to hospitality to movie tickets,” Dudas said, foreshadowing the dozens of partners Button has signed up since.

The Walmart deal follows its recent aim at Amazon by partnering with Google on voice-activated shopping.

Owners of the Google Home will be able to speak orders to their voice-activated Google Assistant (aka “Okay, Google”) for delivery or pickup via its local online shopping marketplace Google Express. The Walmart connection came on the heels previous store partnerships with Costco, Target, and Whole Foods, which, coincidentally, is being acquired by Amazon for $13.7 billion.

In addition to adding Walmart and other retailers, Button is also concentrating on publisher apps as well. It has signed up social news outlet Buzzfeed, which will be able to tap into mobile commerce apps in the same way The Weather Channel’s app is through the Button Marketplace.

“Buzzfeed is the king of merging content and commerce in the most authentic way,” said Jaconi. “Incorporating mobile shopping for consumers within their properties is an exciting opportunity, and the variety of Button Merchants combined with Buzzfeed’s content creates endless possibilities for all partners – a win, win all around.”

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40 Percent Of Millennials Use Voice-Activated Assistants For Purchase Research

Approximately 40 percent of Millennials turn to voice-activated intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant before making a purchase, according to Salesforce‘s 2017 Connected Shopper report — and a similar percentage say they turn to messaging apps and video chat for their customer service needs.

These findings reinforce what marketers should largely already know: There is no longer a linear consumer path to purchase — and in 2017, more devices are involved in the ultimate decision to buy something online (or in stores) than ever before.

And the research stage of buyer journeys isn’t the only one undergoing a digital revolution: “When buying products online, the No. 2 channel shoppers turn to, second only to traditional websites, is now a retailer’s mobile app. Social
media has also entered the top five channels for online purchasing,” the report states. What’s more, “millennials are more than three times as likely than their baby boomer elders to leverage video chat when making online purchases, and at least twice as likely to use social media, messaging apps, and SMS/text, among other emerging channels [like voice.]”

Marketers Prepare For Messenger, Voice

So, what does this mean for marketers? First, that prioritizing one-to-one communication via the interfaces customers are shifting to — here, namely messenger and voice-based means — is of critical importance.

As we’ve written before, this means that businesses should look to begin readying their underlying data layer for consumption by voice-activated assistants — making sure that they’re up to date on all SEO best practices, ensuring correct and current listings, and utilizing effective visuals — so that they’re discoverable whether searches are made by text, voice, or image.

“Bots, voice assistants, smart homes and other AI-informed communications are top of mind for nearly every retailer today,” said Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar. “The technology innovation complicates what we already know — that customer communications are never one-size-fit-all.”

Secondly, there is a lot of potential for marketers to build relationships via text-based communication in messaging apps, particularly by using chatbots to answer the most popular consumer queries quickly and seamlessly — so long as they remain transparent about what the bot can do (and not do) as well as making the conversation as straightforward and relevant as possible.

In fact, “85 percent of consumer mobile time is spent in the top five apps,” said Stefanos Loukakos, Head of Messenger at Facebook, during an Advertising Week panel. “That’s why using Facebook messenger [or] Whatsapp can be a great way to [interact] and build business. But every experience has to be valuable — not only for the business, but for the user.”

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China’s Tencent And WeChat Ready To Make A Big Play For U.S. Advertisers

China’s leading social media and commerce developer Tencent is expanding its reach to Chinese-speakers in the U.S. as it seeks to challenge Google and Facebook  on matching advertisers and consumers on a more global basis.

Tencent will make its official U.S. marketing debut during the Advertising Week New York next week. The company, which runs the popular WeChat messaging app, will showcase of a new suite of advertising solutions and resources that enable U.S. marketers to directly engage Chinese consumers on Tencent platforms both in China and while they travel abroad.

These new offerings and the establishment of a dedicated U.S.-based support team provide U.S. brands and agencies with unique and powerful ways to capture attention, drive brand preference and increase sales among Chinese consumers.

Why should U.S. businesses pay attention?

As Tencent points out, Chinese tourists visiting the U.S. spent roughly $35 billion in 2016 alone.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average spending per trip of a Chinese traveler in the U.S. is higher than any other international traveler, and shopping is a key activity for Chinese outbound tourists.

“For U.S. advertisers, China presents a dynamic, lucrative and challenging opportunity. Brands have become more sophisticated about the needs and behavior of Chinese tourists. To make a sale outside China, they understand that they need to speak to their customers before they even plan their trips,” said Poshu Yeung, VP of International Business at Tencent.

Over the past few months, a few select U.S. brands were invited to use these new advertising solutions, including the largest mall operator in the United States, Simon Property Group, and popular women’s fashion brand, Rebecca Minkoff.

“Tencent and WeChat’s new travel targeting and advertising solutions provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to directly connect with Chinese travelers, both in China and when they visit the U.S.,” said Kristen Esposito, Simon Property Group Vice President of Tourism and Marketing Alliances. “China is projected to be the largest overseas inbound travel market to the U.S. by 2021, so the potential for growth is truly extraordinary.”

The connection between U.S. brands and China’s social media platforms could produce a lucrative exchange that allows American advertisers to expand their reach beyond U.S. borders.

In terms of the size of China’s social media usage, More than eight in 10 internet users in China, or 626 million people, will access social networks regularly in 2017, according to an eMarketer report this summer.

eMarketer has raised its previous estimates for social network user growth in China by more than 4 percent, mainly because of older users increasingly using homegrown messaging platform WeChat to perform a myriad of tasks that reach far beyond messaging.

For example, 62 percent of internet users ages 55 to 64 in the country will be social network users this year—equating to 28.8 million individuals.

Since its launch in 2011, WeChat has evolved into what eMarketer called a “must-have” app in China. As messaging apps in the U.S. are still slowly expanding into commerce, WeChat has pioneered the format to be used for shopping, food delivery, even booking a doctor’s appointment and paying bills.

“WeChat’s further expansion into the areas of payments, shopping and general utility have proven fruitful for China’s social networking and messaging giant,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior forecasting director. “And it will only increase the attraction for new mobile users and older users, as WeChat increasingly has something for everyone.”

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Consumers Are Ready To Tell Their Voice-Controlled Devices What They Want For The Holidays

Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers are reportedly ‘somewhat’ or ‘very likely’ to make a product purchase through a voice-controlled device in the next year — and the crunch of the holiday shopping season could mark a decisive turning point in this type of voice commerce, according to research from Walker Sands’ Future Of Retail 2017 Holiday Report.

Shoppers aren’t going to purchase every gift on their list via voice. But as the volume of voice-based searches overall continues to skyrocket, it makes sense that consumer familiarity with the technology — not to mention the relative cognitive ease of voice over tap or swipe — will lead to an increase in consumers looking to avoid store lines by simply saying, “Alexa, order X.”

Voice Assistants Become ‘Essential’

Walker Sands’ research bears out much of what NPR found in its recent examination of the role of voice-activation and consumers’ media usage: Consumers increasingly rely on voice assistants to power the way they discover, interact with — and yes, make purchases from — the world around them.

As we reported last month, roughly 65 percent of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine to going back to the days before they had a smart speaker, and 42 percent of that group say the voice-activated devices have quickly become “essential” to their lives, NPR’s research said.

“This is another [means] of search functionality, only this time done through voice,” Pandora’s Keri Degroote told GeoMarketing at the time. “Users are already turning to smart speakers and voice assistants to talk, search, entertain, shop, etc in moments where they may have used a screen in the past. [And] data from a follow up study on the Pandora Soundboard suggests that Voice Assistants are going to be key referral sources for a whole range of consumer needs.”

In other words, the number of customers willing to make a purchase directly through a voice assistant without ever visiting a website is climbing — but one of the most important shifts for marketers is the even greater number of shoppers who will use the devices as what Degroote called a “referral source.”

As we’ve written previously, this means marketers need to think about the many new paths customers are taking to find a product or gift to purchase in the first place; more and more often, this is happening through a voice search or a voice command.

“Brands need to be aware of messaging to consumers on Smart Speakers, or any Connected Home device for that matter (Smart TVs, Fridges, Games Consoles),” Degroote concluded. That includes preparing their underlying data layer for consumption by these intelligent assistants, as well as thinking about the growing role of speech-based ads as part of the “audio renaissance” — this holiday season and beyond.

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Amazon To Open Its First Fulfillment Center In New York To Expand Faster Delivery

Amazon is moving aggressively to expand its promise of near-immediate delivery and physical pick-up options for its online shoppers by rapidly opening up fulfillment centers in major cities.

“We are excited to bring our first fulfillment center to New York and work alongside the state’s incredible workforce,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s vice president of Customer Fulfillment, in a statement. “The support of local leaders has been instrumental in our ability to come to New York, and we are grateful for the welcome we’ve received to bring thousands of new jobs with benefits starting on day one.”

The fulfillment center comes a few months after the opening of Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in New York City as a showcase for its online/offline ambitions.

Amazon On The Move

Amazon employees at the 855,000-square-foot Staten Island fulfillment center will work alongside robotics to pick, pack and ship customer items such as household essentials, books and toys.

With the creation of its latest fulfillment center, which is coming to Staten Island, NY, coupled with the closing of its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon’s pressure on established brick-and-mortar businesses’ omnichannel strategies is apt to be felt even more acutely as the holiday season approaches.

Over the summer, Amazon has expanded its discounts and two-day shipping with its Prime membership option, and has just heralded its Instant Pickup option, retailers have turned to one advantage they still possess — at least for the moment — in relation to Amazon: proximity to their customers and known inventory, which makes it possible to offer the ultimate convenience of letting someone click “buy” and then having it brought to them within a few hours.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s instant-pickup has already begun in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, CA., Columbus, Ohio, and College Park, Md. Initially, the items available with Instant Pickup include snacks, drinks and electronics, as well as some of Amazon’s most popular devices.

Amazon’s latest offering represents an expansion of the same-day pickup service at the 22 locations it began opening in 2015. These same locations will serve as Instant Pickup depots for Amazon Prime customers.

While available for free to Prime and Prime Student members, the program strikes at the heart of what has so far remained brick-and-mortar brands’ clear advantage over e-commerce: immediacy.

Omnichannel Pressure

New York represents one of its biggest tests.

Rivals like Target have been getting ready for the challenge. For example, Target’s purchase of San Francisco-based transportation tech company Grand Junction last month is designed to better position it against Amazon’s speedy delivery.

Grand Junction’s software platform is used by retailers, distributors, and “third-party logistics providers to manage local deliveries through a network of more than 700 carriers

Target and Grand Junction have currently been working on a same-day delivery pilot program for the Target store in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. By 2018, Target plans to roll out same-day delivery to unspecified major cities, said Arthur Valdez, Target’s executive vice president, chief supply chain and logistics officer.

Target’s move follows similar tests by Walmart. In addition, same-day, app-based grocery delivery platform Instacart has lately been racking up partnerships with Costco, Key Food, CVS, and others.

The trend towards same-day delivery is becoming a wider retail imperative not reserved for discount shopping and food service.

Earlier this month, Office Depot announced  its same-day delivery program. The initiative kicks off on August 28 in Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California; and on September 6 in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Florida.

“With our new same-day delivery and our omnichannel approach, we are utilizing our retail stores as assets and part of our supply chain to give our customers the best possible experience,” said Office Depot CEO Gerry Smith.

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4INFO’s Business Model Shift Reflects Mobile Attribution’s Central Marketing Role

4INFO is continuing its evolution as a location-based analytics ad platform to encompass more customer relationship management tools as personalization and individual targeting is changing the demands of brands, agencies, and publishers.

The bottom line is that programmatic advertising and marketing has made the series of inter-connections among platform companies more intrinsic to advertising that crosses desktop to mobile and online-to-offline. As such, the San Mateo, CA.-based analytics provider is making its data onboarding solution generally available to give its clients and their own partners greater ability to seamlessly target and attribute advertising programs.

Mobile At The Center

The program is built on the company’s customer identity and engagement platform and is focused on how mobile is at the center of shoppers’ media consumption, as people spend nearly three-quarters of all digital minutes on their portable devices.

“We’re quickly seeing traction in the market since introducing our onboarding solution because our expertise in mobile is helping customers achieve higher match rates with the scale and accuracy they need to monetize data and maximize revenue,” said Mari Tangredi, general manager of 4INFO’s Identity Platform.

The main promise of 4INFO’s opening of its onboarding solution is that it will capture the shifts in mobile ad budgets. The company notes that mobile ad spending is expected to more than double desktop display, even as most identity and data onboarding solutions on the market today are rooted in desktop as a starting point for mapping people and data to devices.

“4INFO was born in mobile. More than four years ago, we solved the biggest challenge of connecting people and data to mobile devices helping marketers precisely target national mobile ad campaigns with our patented methodology,” Tangredi said. “With our onboarding rollout, we’re expanding access to this proven approach for marketers’ use across platforms and publishers.”

Matchmaking

4INFO CEO Tim Jenkins is also making the case that partners include Kantar Worldpanel Shopcom, DataStream Group, and StatSocial have seen 3x- to 6x higher match rates.

“One of the big drivers in opening up our solution was that we had brands, advertisers come to us and say, ‘Hey, we’ve worked with you for years on a media side of the business, but we see so much marketing potential to your data and being able to work with you in a more open fashion. We want to be able to work with you directly with our CRM files. We want to be able to have a way that all of this is onboarded together so we can ingest, for example, location data and purchase data back into our own CRM system to be able to have a much greater feeling for the customer experience.’

“The other thing we heard from clients, which really prompted us to open this up, is that they said, ‘When we work with you directly, our match rates, whether I’m a third party data company like Kantar Shopcom or I am a big brand who is trying to onboard their CRM file against digital identity… When we work with you, our match rates are somewhere between four and six x what they are when we work with our other onboarding partners,’” Jenkins said. “It was kind of a no-brainer for us that we needed to work with them and enable their data in an open fashion.”

Calling All Verticals

For the last three years, 4INFO had been heavily working on its appeal to retailers and consumer packaged goods brands by being able to match UPC and SKU — the barcodes on products at the shelf-level that can then be tracked directly at the checkout line by partners like Kantar Shopcom — to mobile devices and the company’s insights on households’ consumption.

But the onboarding solution is intended for any physical business, from retail to restaurants, that wants to better get a seamless view of customers’ media and shopping information.

“This program is for every vertical out there,” Jenkins said. “If you look at the data partners that we’re working with, like Kantar Shopcom, They have a lot of transaction data that they’ve accumulated through the various loyalty programs they track. The onboarding solution works perfectly in those environments where the advertiser is focused on addressability where the advertisers focus on wanting to be able to measure the impact it has on offline sales.

“CPG is all about getting down to the UPC level, while retail is all about trying to be able to measure things at a SKU level,” Jenkins added. “But let’s talk about quick serve restaurants. QSRs want to be able to measure more broadly than single products. They’re not asking, ‘Did you buy a hamburger and fries?’ They just want to know, ‘Did you spend $25 at my restaurant?’ We can provide that answer.”

 

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