Factual Updates Geopulse For Location Insights And Attribution Beyond Ad Targeting

Factual has been working to broaden its geo-data analytics tools to keep pace with the wider marketing demands to use location signals to inform everything from consumer insights to store attribution to real estate decisions.

With that in mind, Factual rolled out updates to its Geopulse product suite last week designed to put those various use cases brands are asking for.

The two new products are Geopulse Insights, which is intended to enhance demographic information about brands’s customers based on the place history they create, and Geopulse Measurement, promises to help marketers understand the real world impact of their media investment by integrating in-store visitation data into campaign performance metrics.

Both tools are built with Factual’s technology and data assets, including Global Places, which covers more than 130 million places and points of interest around the globe, and its Observation Graph, which describes signals from more than 280 million mobile devices.

“We’re looking at different ways we can make our data more accessible and usable specifically for marketers,” says Brian Czarny, Factual’s SVP Of Marketing. “As brands begin to leverage data for a variety of business purposes, they’re constantly looking at ways to use location data in different ways outside of just targeting. And so that led us to build up the Insights product.”

How Location Informs Business Decisions

The broadening of the Geopulse product suite comes as Factual has continued to sign up programmatic ad platform partners as well as adding clients like global co-working space provider WeWork.

Last summer, WeWork was in the process of expanding the 235 office Locations it runs across 54 global cities — 23 of which are in the U.S. — the co-working operator turned to geo-data insights from Factual’s Global Places data.

Since real estate, in addition to payroll and marketing, is one of the biggest challenges that multi-location brick-and-mortar businesses face, the idea of using location analytics to do more than just drive visits to a place reflects the growing use cases of geo-data in general and Factual’s business model in particular.

“At a macro level, we are a data company and we essentially have three core market segments where we provide our analytics,” Czarny says. “One of the largest and fastest growing is certainly on the marketing side, using location data to help marketers understand customers, target customers, and then measure campaign performance through attribution.That’s a big and growing area for us. We also provide data to companies like, Uber and Facebook, Apple Maps, Amazon, and others, where they’re taking our data and building into their products or their mobile apps.

“The third area is on the analytics side,” Czarny adds. “So being able to provide data directly to companies who are interested in gaining unique business insight. They have a data assigned team who has their own data already or they’re pulling from other sources and are interested in how they can use location data to help make business decisions.”

Addressing Location Accuracy

As the use cases for location data have grown and become mainstream for most marketers, figuring out how accurate, precise, and effective those geo-data signals are remains a challenge.

For the brands, agencies, and platforms that are increasingly reliant on the promise of reaching the right consumer at the right time as marketers seek to develop ever more detailed profiles of how, when, and where people conduct their shopping, in-store attribution has becoming a singular demand and a primary area of competition among location intelligence providers.

Factual’s Geopulse Measurement is meant as Factual’s answer to marketers’ questions about digital ad effectiveness in the offline, physical world.

“The accuracy piece actually falls under a broader category of data quality,” Czarny says. “And since we started that’s been one of the primary drivers of how we go about our data. We focus very heavily on ensuring high data quality across both data sets. On the Places side for accurate point of interest information, as well as on the Observation Graph side where we get into location accuracy. And so, with those data sets we have our own technology that we built that seeks to address both of those things.”As the Geopulse additions were launched last week, Time Inc. integrated marketing shop Viant said it had initiated “a major enhancement” to its partnership with Factual. Viant, whose iconic parent was recently acquired rival media conglomerate Meredith, has been updating its location data strategy for the past year. The latest step its taken involves a direct integration with Factual that allows Viant customers to have access to real-time foot traffic measurement and industry reporting.

“Brick and mortar still accounts for roughly 90 percent of total retail sales, and 70% of shoppers are looking for interaction in physical retail environments. It is critical for brand marketers to understand how their campaigns impact both foot traffic and in-store sales,” said Viant CMO, Jon Schulz. “Our ability to ingest and link Factual’s location data to our graph provides our clients with people-based insights on which customers are visiting which stores and when, enabling marketers to optimize campaigns in-flight, when it matters most.”

Factual’s deal with Viant is billed as providing a complete picture of who is visiting a store and when, including insights into the devices and channels that are driving store visits, the DMAs and specific locations that have highest visitation, visits attributed to impressions and time lag from ad exposure to store visits.

And ultimately, if Factual’s data does connect marketing to actual foot-traffic for its and its partners clients, that’s the answer to the accuracy question.

“On the location accuracy side, we have our location validation and stack,” he adds. “It essentially goes through all the inputs that we have and throws out a high percentage of them based on poor accuracy. We’re doing a lot of the data quality processing around that location validation, post bid stream and before it ever actually enters into either our data sets or into the Geopulse products. Ultimately, the breadth of our data, and the quality of it, makes it actionable. That’s what sets us apart and we’ll keep building on that.”

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Can Super Bowl Ads Boost Brick-And-Mortar Traffic?

Driving foot-traffic to stores is usually considered to be the job of mobile advertising, while TV ads are given the job of burnishing a brand affiliation through entertaining, heart-warming images. But as Super Bowl 2018 30-second spots are going for as high as $5 million, those ads had better drive some business.

Two separate studies from geo-data specialist Factual and TV analytics platform Alphonso show just what brick-and-mortar business Super Bowl ads can deliver.

As Americans are expected to spend roughly $81.17 on average — for a collective $15.3 billion — as an estimated 188.5 million people watch the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl this Sunday, some brands have sought to capitalize on the big game by focusing on other TV placements to carry their message.

Dunkin’ Donuts ran about 1,000 ads before and after the Super Bowl in 2017 and store a traffic lift of about 12 percent among people exposed to its TV spots. Source: Alphonso TV Data

Dunkin’ Donuts Interception

For example, Dunkin’ Donuts avoided advertising during the Super Bowl, but did target sports shows before and after the game. It also targeted counter-programming such as dramas. Ultimately, the brand saw 12 percent higher walk-ins nationally as a result, according to Alphonso data. Dunkin’ Donuts hopes to replicate the store visitation lift it got from tying its ads to 2017’s matchup against the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons in Houston.

The coffee chain, which is working with Alphonso on analyzing its TV data, spent $6.8 million on four different spots last year tied to the Super Bowl (Feb. 5 to Feb. 19th) across 15 TV networks.

Alphonso TV viewers exposed to a Dunkin’ Donuts Ad during that Feb. 2017 period reported more than 10 times the usual visitation.

“TV should no longer be thought of as only a top-of-the-funnel medium. Location attribution is now here for TV ads,” says Alphonso CEO Ashish Chordia. “Brands now can use real-time TV viewership data, at massive scale, to create test groups (exposed to the ad) and control groups (not exposed to the TV ad) to tie those ads to downstream, offline results. In this case, we see a 12 percent lift amongst the audience exposed to ads during the two-week period beginning Super Bowl Sunday.”

Still, TV ads by themselves can’t show attribution the way mobile ads tend to. But there are ways around that, Chordia notes.

“Brands like Dunkin’ Donuts are working with companies like Alphonso to be their trusted source of TV viewership data, and help them better understand their customer’s journey across channels by combining that data with location data and other forms of offline or online attribution,” he says. “Advertisers are no longer in the dark about whether their TV spend is working – even at a local level. We have major trials going now for understanding TV ad impact with major local broadcast groups. In more advanced cases, Alphonso can also tie in the brand’s own CRM data — via a data safe haven – to understand results in more detail, such as which TV ad creatives are performing best to drive the most valuable customers into the store.”

Source: Factual

Where Do Fans Go?

Factual’s Observation Graph, which indexes the behavior of more than 280 million people around the globe, looked at fans of each of the two Super Bowl teams to see what their location patterns can tell brands. Factual also examined some of last year’s Super Bowl advertisers to see how they fared after airing a spot.

Among Factual’s findings:

Big Game Brands

  • Hyundai
    • Hyundai is an official NFL sponsor and is more popular among Patriots fans than Eagles. Fans of the New England team are 75 percent more likely to visit a Hyundai dealership than Eagles fans.
    • H&R Block
      • H&R Block returned to the Big Game after eight years off in 2017, likely trying to draw in customers ahead of tax season. The strategy worked last year – they saw a 51 percent increase in foot traffic to locations across the US from January to February of 2017 following the game. The Super Bowl spot might not be responsible for all of the visits, but it’s safe to say it generated brand awareness among viewers.
    • GNC
      • GNC attempted to air its first Big Game ad in 2017, but it was rejected at the last minute. If they return this year, they’ll be tapping into their core audience – fans of both the Eagles and the Patriots are far more likely than the average consumer to visit GNC locations – 7.5x and 4x, respectively.
    • KFC
      • KFC also aired its first Super Bowl ad in 2017. Nationwide, the chain saw an 8.7 percent uptick in visits from January – February 2017, following the game.
US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will host Super Bowl LII on Sunday

New England vs. Philadelphia Locations 

  • New England fans enjoy burgers, while Philadelphia fans prefer chicken:
    • NE fans are:
      • 4.4x more likely than PA fans to visit a Five Guys location
        • (There are 60 locations in PA, and 75 in the New England area, including one walking distance from Gillette Stadium, which likely contributes to loyalty and visitation on game days by Pats fans)
      • 2x more likely to visit  Johnny Rockets
      • 1.4x more likely to visit Burger King
    • PA fans are:
      • 3.6x more likely than NE fans to visit a Quaker Steak & Lube (perhaps not surprising, as the chain was founded in Pennsylvania and has 22 locations in the state)
      • 4.6x more likely to visit Church’s Chicken
      • 3.4x more likely to visit Popeye’s
    • Eagles fans are into home furnishings – they’re 4.6x more likely to visit Ashley Furniture and 2x more likely to visit Ikea and Sleep Number stores

Top Chain Restaurants for Patriots Fans

  • Maggiano’s
  • Pei Wei Asian Diner
  • The Capital Grille

Top Chain Restaurants for Eagles Fans

  • Dave & Buster’s
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  • Jamba Juice

As brands now prepare to aim ads during the next big “mass media” events — The Winter Olympics and The Academy Awards — TV ad performance and its impact on store visits will be more closely examined given the higher level of attribution data, answering the fundamental marketing question, “which part of my advertising is working?”

“Data provides clear evidence today that TV is working to drive traffic and sales – particularly with large tent-pole events like the Super Bowl, or other seasonal events like Grammys, Oscars or Olympics,” Chordia says. “That is certainly the case with this Dunkin’ Donuts study.

Source: Alphonso TV Data

“What we see brands do more of today is amplify their TV ad spend on digital. With Alphonso they know which ads and programs viewers are exposed to, and they can extend the frequency of their own campaigns on those people’s devices, or go after the audience that has seen their competitor’s ad,” he adds. “Geo-specific ads can be delivered to help bolster a national campaign to help drive results at a regional or local level. TV data and location data is a very powerful combination for marketers.”

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How Marketers Can Use Location Data To Find Brand Affinities Among Holiday Shoppers

With everything from voice search to omnichannel ad targeting changing the way brands attract holiday shoppers, the use of location data to make the connection between brick-and-mortars and consumers.

But figuring out the best ways to use location data remains an issue. While retailers pay attention to online browsing patterns, consumers still make the majority of purchases in stores, and how they move in the physical world influences their path to purchase, notes Ocean Fine, VP, Agency and Strategic Accounts at geo-data specialist Factual.

One of the things that location data does best is find the unusual shopping patterns of mobile consumers so that brands can anticipate who, when, and where shoppers might be more receptive to a geo-targeted ad.

Among the things Factual found at the start of the holiday shopping season:

  • 3.6 percent of Target customers visit a Starbucks before, while 6.3 percent visit a fast food restaurant
  • 4.6 percent of Walmart customers visit a gas station, while 4 percent visit a Walgreens
  • 9.9 percent of Macy’s customers visit a clothing and accessories retailer

“This kind of data could help retailers understand where they should focus ad dollars — Walmart could advertise deals at gas stations, or Target could partner with fast food restaurants,” Fine says.

GeoMarketing: Does Factual’s data have anything to say about the state of retail at the start of the holiday season? Was this a strong opening for retail? Or too soon to tell?

Ocean Fine: Per Adobe, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 were among the highest sales days of all time – definitely a strong opening for retail! What remains to be seen is how sales will hold up throughout the season and, most importantly for brand marketers, how well their campaigns perform to drive people to purchase, both in store and online.

What does this data say about affinities between brands in terms of being able to reach a store’s likely shoppers before they’re in a retail location?

Understanding where shoppers go before and after they visit particular stores, as well as their brand affinities, helps marketers paint a more complete picture of their habits and interests, and better design advertising experiences that will elicit a positive response. Messages that are personalized and make sense in context are preferred by consumers, and a clear map of the consumer journey allows marketers to create them.

Are there any particular ways that retailers should look at location/mobile data when trying to figure out when as well as where its best to reach potential customers?

Mobile is a primary point of purchase for consumers, now more than ever. Using location-based behavior data combined with the insights derived from mobile purchase behavior, retail marketers can understand the entirety of the path to purchase, allowing them to tailor relevant content and achieve the marketing trifecta, targeting the right consumer, with the right message, at the right place. Marketers are able to see patterns in their consumers’ place visits over time, make inferences about their interests and build custom audience segments to ensure they’re reaching those who are interested.

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Why WeWork Is Buying Meetup

WeWork has acquired app-based community gatherings and events promoter Meetup as the co-working space renter is racing to open and expand its global presence.

With the 235 offices across 54 global cities — 23 of which are in the U.S. — WeWork will look to Meetup to ensure that its locations become the center for startups and communities they hope to deepen its ties with.

The deal, details of which remain undisclosed, comes at pivotal times for both companies as they seek to consolidate and build on their respective growth. Meetup, which launched in 2002, has as its motto: “Bring people together IRL to create real community for everyone.”

While it first gained noticed among supporters of Howard Dean’s Democratic Party campaign in 2004 by aligning traditional grassroots organizing with “netroots” online associations, individuals and brands of all stripes have sought to use Meetup as a way to intersect digital and physical connections.

A WeWork office in Philadelphia

In a Medium post announcing its acquisition by WeWork, Meetup touts its 15,000-plus daily gatherings in over 100 countries : “ mostly weeknights and weekends; WeWork is 10 million square feet of space in 17 countries (and growing) — mostly occupied on weekdays.”

In a sense, the arrangement codifies an existing symbiotic relationship between the two brands. This year alone, 100,000 people have attended Meetups at beautiful WeWork spaces, Meetup says  — that’s a lot of RSVPs and related data that Meetup contains.

As WeWork concludes its seventh year, which started with a $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the company needs to balance its startup identity — after all, those are who its primary clients are — with the imperative to rapidly expand into new cities, new neighborhoods.

Over the summer, WeWork tapped geo-data specialist Factual’s umbrella product, Global Places, which gathers data covering over 130 million local businesses and points of interest across 52 countries, help it select potential office locations that would meet the needs of the workers and companies it hopes to attract.

“Our real estate team surfaces myriad potential locations for our workspaces,” says Aaron Fritsch, head of product systems and operations at WeWork, told us last month. “Every space and location has potential but this also means we need to evaluate each lease and consider each location carefully.”

Some of the amenities WeWork was looking for included high-traffic places such as coffee shops and fitness centers, as well as areas with active nightlife — in other words, locations that office workers might want to take advantage of outside of work during the daytime and after business hours.

Considering that Meetup boasts an estimated 35 million global subscribers, being able to connect the right amenities and locations to those members’ groups, WeWork is likely to be using the information from those users to help plot out its next office locations as well.

In turn, awareness of those locations should spur attention from the local businesses that are also looking to attract the same workers WeWork and Meetup are aiming for as well.

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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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