How Privacy Concerns Hinder Growth Of Autonomous Vehicles, IoT

There’s long been a disconnect between the appreciation of the “open” web — with its practically limitless ability to share and access all kinds of information –and the fear that the trade off involves surrendering vast swaths of personal details.

When it comes to mobile services that rely directly on location data, such as on-demand food delivery and ride-hailing apps, map searches, social media sharing, and the use of Connected Intelligence/Internet of Things-powered concepts like self-driving cars and chatbots, the disconnect is particularly fraught, a study from mapping and navigation platform HERE finds.

And as HERE continues to pursue the position of being the foundation of carmakers’ autonomous vehicle projects, the company sees privacy fears as a significant hurdle.

“While the lack of trust is problematic today, we believe that there could be greater challenges down the road if privacy practices continue to be dominated by a click-to-consent approach,” says Dr. Peter Kürpick, Chief Platform Officer at HERE Technologies.

“Autonomous transportation and other new services will require increasingly time-sensitive and machine-to-machine communications, and for people to enjoy uninterrupted access to these kinds of services, a new approach to privacy is needed,” Kürpick adds.

In a survey of 8,000 people across eight countries (Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and the U.S.), HERE found that two-in-five people discovered they share location data with more apps than they thought, while only one-in-five feel they have full control over their location data.

A Clear Value Exchange + Transparency

Despite the high percentage of consumers who express fear about location data and their personal information, most consumers surveyed would consider using an Artificial Intelligence bot to manage their data privacy in future.

It all goes to the idea of transparency in terms of letting consumers know exactly what information is being accessed and for how long. Secondly, if there’s a good, necessary reason for accessing it — such as getting from one place to another or ordering an item quickly — the barrier to connecting with consumers’ location information falls.

Specifically, the study showed how increased transparency and control over how location data is collected and used could increase consumer trust and make them more willing to share.

Around 70 percent said they would grant access to a data collector if they knew why their location data was needed, what it was used for, and that it was protected, stored safely or systematically deleted. A similar number said they would also allow access if they could more easily change their settings, withdraw access and delete their history.

Accordingly, most people would be open to using new technologies to help people manage their data, the study showed. Some 63 percent said they would use a “privacy service,” which would manage their privacy settings based on their preferences on any device that they use.

Can Bots Be Trusted? Apparently So

Meanwhile, 51 percent said they would entrust their private data management needs to an Artificial Intelligence bot.

Among the many benefits gained by sharing their location data, people ranked greater car safety the highest, with some 73 percent of people saying they would be likely to share their location data in such a scenario. Services which enable people to save money, get discounts and rewards also ranked highly.

In more futuristic scenarios, 72 percent of consumers would be willing to share their location data for an autonomous car to find the most efficient routes, while 69 percent would share to enable a drone to find a missing person, pet or item.

“We believe the answer is in equipping people with transparent user-friendly settings that allow them to grant and withdraw access rights as well as manage their privacy preferences, helping them stay in better control of what they’re sharing across their digital life,” Kürpick says.

“For our part, we’re exploring privacy-as-a-service concepts for potential development,” he adds. “However, it is also paramount that there is a collaborative approach across different industry segments to develop the right solutions. Verimi, in which HERE is an investor, is a good example of a cross-industry initiative which will help people manage their data and privacy.”

Among the other findings from the HERE study:

  • Australian consumers are cautious about their location data and are more concerned about lack of transparency than the average
  • Brazilians are the most enthusiastic about sharing today, especially in the social context
  • France is the country where the ‘privacy paradox’ is most evident – with people expressing high concern about their privacy, but being less likely to do anything about it
  • In Germany, safety is paramount when it comes to sharing location data, with Germans more likely to restrict access and share location data with fewer apps than the global average
  • Consumers in Japan are the most anxious and strongly restrict access today, but they are willing to share for greater convenience and time savings
  • The Dutch are pragmatic in their behavior and value personalized services and increased control
  • UK consumers are the least restrictive in their behavior and less anxious than others
  • Americans trust ride hailing companies more than their government when it comes to location data

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Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt Prepares Transition To Advisory Role

Steven Rosenblatt is preparing to step down down from his role as President of Foursquare as of April 2, as he turns his attention to creating his own startup with a focus on consulting and building early stage companies across “various industries,” a rep for the location intelligence platform said.

The company praised Rosenblatt’s leadership, which began in 2012 when he was named CRO of Foursquare. Before that, Rosenblatt led advertising sales at Quattro Wireless and ultimately ran Apple’s iAd strategy following the latter’s acquisition of the former in 2010.

Foursquare’s Resurgence And Momentum

Rosenblatt departs at a particularly good time in Foursquare’s history.  Three years after Foursquare was often put in the position of insisting there was no company “deathwatch,” CEO  Jeff Glueck reported last month that the company’s  revenues rose for the third consecutive year.

As a private company, nine-year-old Foursquare doesn’t disclose specific financial details, so all the company is saying is that 2017 marked the third straight year revenues rose by “50 percent or higher,” as outlined in a Medium blog post.

The post is also a response to remaining doubters about Foursquare, which was launched in 2009 with tremendous hype during that year’s SxSW.

Foursquare’s revenues primarily have been deriving from areas that Rosenblatt charted over the past few years, including its place-based ad targeting solution for brands, Pinpoint by Foursquare, which now counts over half the Ad Age 100 as advertisers.

In addition to advertising, Foursquare’s enterprise solutions has also attracted high-profile clients and partners, allowing it to position away from being known as a “social check-in” app and into a fuller developer that focuses on connecting brands with location analytics.

For example, in March 2017, Foursquare expanded the use of its location analytics outside of its own two apps, the eponymous flagship which promotes “discovery” and its Swarm check-in app. Foursquare struck licensing deals for its Pilgrim SDK to platforms that want to use the same tools to promote discovery within their branded apps.

Concentrating On Location Intelligence

But it’s the ability to connect digital marketing to in-store attribution and traffic that has helped Foursquare continue to bring in new business while raising its own profile as a data insights provider. It’s struck notable deals powering the location data of digital publishers like Pandora and Snapchat along with advertisers like tequila brand Patron.

Last summer, Foursquare began looking toward driving business in Asia in alliances with Samsung, WeChat and others.

In past conversations with Rosenblatt, it was Foursquare’s decision years ago to see location intelligence as its main business, not social media. The true test of location analytics’ value and viability is whether it can transcend clickthrough rates as the primary pricing and measurement mechanism of digital ads versus methods the look to store visits and actual sales, he said by way of Foursquare’s current mission.

“There’s been a huge demand for a company to have an always-on, non-incentivized persistent view that really has a true measure of whether an ad drove someone to a place or not,” Rosenblatt told GeoMarketing. “Brands are demanding the ability to optimize daily and then have access to lookback windows. We provide a two-day to 30-day lookback window. Tools like Foursquare Attribution is going to move us from the ‘click’ and finally get us out of a click-based economy and into what does real-world measurement act like online as well as offline. This is all about connecting the online and offline world.”

Asked about Roseblatt’s transition, Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck said in a statement:

“Steven’s valuable contributions over the past six years have made a huge impact on Foursquare, as we’ve grown from a consumer brand into the leader in location technology. Steven’s the kind of guy who knows nearly everyone in the business; he’ll be a true asset to early-stage companies, and we’re thrilled he’ll be staying on in an advisory role as we continue to grow and scale.”

For his part, Rosenblatt summed up his time at Foursquare — and hinted at his plans, in a statement:

“The time I’ve spent at Foursquare has been transformational, both in terms of the partnership with [founder and former CEO Dennis Crowley], Jeff and others on the leadership team as well as the innovation we created building the best-in-class location intelligence company.

“However, I’ve had an insatiable itch to start a company that emblemizes my passion for working with early stage companies,” Rosenblatt continued. “I’m excited for this new endeavor that will allow me to work alongside investors and startups at pivotal moments of growth. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.”

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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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Attribution Provider Arrivalist Brings In Location Ad Sales Vet James Smith As CRO

Location analytics and attribution company Arrivalist has named ad tech veteran James Smith as Chief Revenue Officer, General Manager.

Smith brings over a decade worth of ad sales experience to the attribution specialist. Among his previous posts, Smith as the first CRO at Huffington Post in 2006, and went on to similar ad sales leading roles at Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes. He was most recently at Verve, where he served as CRO from 2013-15.

As he has in previous posts, Smith will oversee all revenue and marketing efforts at Arrivalist, which is releasing its latest cross-platform analytics tool. Dubbed Arrivalist 3.0, the upgraded platform promises to deliver marketers “comprehensive media exposure and visitation reporting accurate down to 30 feet” and is based on a network of more than 120 million devices to supply that data.

“Marketers are hungry for a truly independent and objective mobile location attribution product that is both scalable and statistically bulletproof. Arrivalist has quietly been offering exactly that to a large base of loyal customers for several years, and I’m excited to serve these clients while bringing the new A3 product to a broader set of marketers,” Smith said. “I look forward to delivering actionable insights about customers’ offline purchase journeys, and uncovering the advertising tactics that are most effectively driving transactions for marketers who have too often had to rely on proxy metrics and biased reporting.”

“James has an incredible track record for leading innovative companies through dramatic growth,” added Cree Lawson, Arrivalist Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to bring James on board to turn the demand for Arrivalist services in to sustained value for our customers. James shares our vision for delivering the most objective, statistically significant and granular insights available in a rapidly evolving market.”

In terms of his initial goals as he takes on the CRO spot, Smith told GeoMarketing that his first main charge is to focus primarily on “presenting Arrivalist to brands beyond the blue-chip travel and tourism marketers that already renew with Arrivalist at an industry leading rate.”

“Over the past six years, Arrivalist has built a very impressive SAAS data platform, providing deep consumer insights and an independent, objective evaluation of marketers’ advertising effectiveness for more than 130 travel and tourism marketers,” Smith continued. “With ‘A3’ — Arrivalist’s latest and significant platform enhancement — Arrivalist is an even more compelling solution for other marketer verticals.”

As location data continues to evolve to encompass Connected Intelligence and voice-activation as a way of bringing connected consumers to brick-and-mortar business, we also asked Smith what marketing tech trends is he most interested in exploring as he looks to 2018.

“There is still so much more opportunity re: providing marketers with even stronger solutions regarding connecting offline/online commerce and online/offline consumer behavior,” Smith said. “To help marketers with this puzzle continues to be my focus.”

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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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Blis And GroupM’s Mediacom On Uncovering ‘Smart Trends’ In Attribution

Location analytics platform Blis is rolling out the beta launch of Smart Trends, a new data and insights tool that allows marketers to analyze consumer behavior, from profiling to attribution, by capturing and activating mobile movement data.

Smart Trends gathers in-store consumer behavioral data and then matches it with in-store comparisons of multiple location types and brands, so that marketers can break down by demographic, contextual, time/day, and device type analysis, as well as compare behavior of user groups side by side.

Media buying shop Mediacom, which is part of WPP’s GroupM, is one of the first ad agency partners to take up Smart Trends with Blis. We checked in with Amy Fox, head of Product at Blis, and Ben Phillips, global head of Mobile at Mediacom, to get an overview of their partnership and what it means for brands.

GeoMarketing: What’s the nature of Blis’ consumer behavioral analytics within Smart Trends?

Amy Fox: Using mobile location data, Blis’ new Smart Trends tool unlocks consumer behavior insights on purchase intent, shopping patterns, and mobile consumption while shopping. Smart Trends provides in-store and inter-store brand analysis by breaking down audience demographic, contextual content, and foot traffic. This allows for side by side behavioral comparison of user groups to enable more effective campaign planning, delivery and attribution in order to deliver competitive advantage.

How does Smart Trends compare to more established behavioral analytics tools like PC-based cookies?

Amy Fox: The data feeding Smart Trends starts out as a string of otherwise arbitrary numbers, which once overlaid with the Blis Point of Interest Database becomes insight into the daily behaviors of devices in store.  Smart Trends layers these snapshots of information over time to provide brands a full overview of spatio-temporal behavior– looking at how people move between the residential, recreational and retail environments.

Ben Phillips: It adds another layer of data that enables us to cross reference existing tools that are available to us and our clients.  Mobile has always been able to provide vast amounts of data based around a consumer in the moment, what were now developing is how to not only understand where our audiences are now but where they have been and to enable predictive modelling for the future. Smart Trends helps us to better understand consumer journeys, attribution and engagement with digital and offline media.

If location is at the center of this tool, how do you regard the perennial question of whether “location data is the new cookie?”

Amy Fox: Location is the new cookie and more when it comes to targeting and engaging with audiences. Proximity is important but you’ve also got to look at location in a historical context. You can build up comprehensive consumer profiles looking at where their device IDs turn up– whether it’s an retail store, a hotel or a movie theater. This is vital to predicting future behavioral. It’s not about where people are, but where they’ve been and using those insights to know where they are going.

Ben Phillips: Location does afford us elements of personalization above and beyond the traditional desktop measurement solutions.  Mobile has developed ways and means such as device graphs, probabilistic and deterministic ID matching and behavioral modelling to determine its audience.  This goes a long way to conforming that the best solution in market are those designed for Mobile first, this approach negates a lot of the preconceived problems encountered when working with desktop platforms and methodologies and expecting them to work in a mobile world.

Location data quality from bidstream/programmatic, GPS, cell phone tower, wifi, and (to a certain extent) beacons/bluetooth IoT sources, offer varying value in terms of accuracy. What are the sources of Blis’ analytics tool and how does it deal with the questions of signal sources and accuracy?

Amy Fox: Smart Trends data is captured via movement data sources which includes GPS, wifi and beacons. Like all Blis-verified location data, it passes through our quality control technology to filter out inaccurate and fraudulent points so that we’re only working with sources we can trust.

Ben Phillips: With 50-70 percent of GPS data being inaccurate, fraud needs to be removed which unfortunately leaves the data sets at a fraction of the size with the need to be scaled up again in order to identify actionable insights. What Blis does is they use verified GPS data scaled out to public wifi, something we haven’t seen done with any other location partner.

Are there any particular kinds of clients that the new behavioral analytics tool benefits? (Retail and QSR versus automotive and banking/financial services? Or does it benefit all major categories?)

Amy Fox: The insights gained from Smart Trends are applicable to any category.  Brand marketers across all verticals have access to a wealth of information on their customers, but often the data is limited to engagement with their own properties. To get a more holistic perspective of their audience – looking at aspects such as behavior with your brand in the context of competitors and in different environments – is valuable in identifying lifestyle indicators to inform brand positioning or cross-vertical partnerships that will help convert target audiences.

Ben Phillips: Many clients, not just retailers with storefronts, are using location data to measure the amount of time spent with their brand– everything from footfall attribution to cross platform engagement. Blis took us through a pilot study looking at foot traffic across the national grocery market. Obviously this is an extremely competitive sector, with promotions and store openings constantly shifting as they fight to increase shopper frequency , which ultimately impacts revenue market share at a brand level.

This passively collected data can provide insight on the actual store-to-store behavioral of shoppers with a granularity that survey data simply can’t match. As we move further away from traditional buying proxies, I predict that location data will become a broad consideration in the coming months, accounting for a large percentage of campaigns in 2018.

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Can Retailers Combat ‘Webrooming’ With NinthDecimal’s Website-To-Store Attribution?

Forrester Research estimates that “webrooming — online research to in-store purchase (see showrooming on mobile) —  will hit $1.8 trillion in sales this year.

For location analytics provider NinthDecimal, webrooming represents a need for marketing solutions that help brands understand, and capitalize on, omnichannel behavior. Or, as David Staas, president of NinthDecimal, notes, brick-and-mortar brands can’t just worry about the impact of mobile commerce competition.

That’s the premise behind NinthDecimal’s expanded offline attribution platform, Location Conversion Index, which will now measure “website effectiveness” in driving digital consumers into physical stores.

The company has partnered with CRM specialist Ansira to further test this new website-to-store attribution solution. Initial findings from the first phase of the collaboration, which span Ansira clients across QSR, auto, and retail verticals, showed:

  • Mobile generated a higher incremental lift in store visits than tablet and desktop
  • Paid search traffic drove the highest website-to-store conversion rates (1.7x greater than direct site traffic)
  • Direct site traffic drove the highest lift in incremental store visits

“Website LCI’s insights highlight the importance for brands to build a successful plan in order to reach and convert omnichannel shoppers who are visiting their website,” said Jim Badum, EVP of Client Partnership at Ansira. “It is a prodigious opportunity for brands using their web presence to increase foot traffic to their physical locations.”

We checked in with NinthDecimal’s Staas on how the new feature and new alliance will help retailers close the gap between website purchases and real-work transactions.

GeoMarketing: How does the focus on “website to store” attribution differ from what NinthDecimal has done in the past?

David Staas: NinthDecimal got started using the industry’s first location signal, Wi-Fi, and then expanded into mobile as developers began creating location-based services. That expansion resulted in Location Graph, the industry’s first audience solution powered by location data. Since then, NinthDecimal has continued to build unique data services addressing some of the industry’s biggest needs: offline attribution, physical world consumer insights, household-device graph for omni-channel services, CRM activation and programmatic data.

Does it augment or supersede NinthDecimal’s existing measurement products?

NinthDecimal’s omnichannel measurement portfolio, which includes LCI, transaction data, TV tune-in and other forms of measurement, has been adopted by some of the largest agencies in the world and now has more than 250 integrated partners including the largest media companies, DSPs, and advertising networks in the industry.

As a result, NinthDecimal has become the industry standard for third-party measurement across the advertising ecosystem. Today NinthDecimal’s measurement platform helps brands measure the effect of digital advertising (both mobile and online), TV advertising across linear, addressable and OTT, as well as OOH, print and other forms of media.

Website LCI is the next innovation in our measurement portfolio, addressing the next big need for marketers – namely connecting their e-commerce and in-store assets for today’s emerging omni-channel shopper. Website LCI expands a brand’s visibility into all of its website traffic marketing strategies, such as paid and organic search. In addition, Website LCI goes beyond media and ad campaigns to provide a more comprehensive view of marketing impact across the business. It offers a new set of “always on” performance metrics and business intelligence that allows brands to close the gap between online and offline shopping behaviors with their customers.

Why is website to store important? Is it about closing a gap, or does the mobile and desktop browser risk being neglected by platform companies and brands as everyone becomes more app-focused?

Despite the massive revenue opportunity that omnichannel consumers represent, marketers haven’t had visibility into the overlap between website visits and store visitors in order to capitalize on this growing shopping behavior. And for those marketers who have made massive investments in their websites, they still struggle to connect that investment to results beyond the web. As reflected in the findings from the NinthDecimal and Ansira study, Website LCI is able to help marketers fill the “blind spot” around understanding and developing omni-channel consumers for the first time.

Is the website to store feature being offered to clients across the board, or only as a requested-basis?

Website LCI is an always-on measurement product being offered to new and existing clients. Through NinthDecimal’s LCI Dashboard, subscribers can create an ongoing analysis of performance, quarterly foot traffic lift reports, visitation trends, and audience insights. This is all supported by a dedicated account management team to handle everything from implementation to analysis and recommendations. In addition, NinthDecimal will curate these online and offline customer audiences for brand activation and follow on engagement.

Can we mention any advertisers specifically who have tested the website to store function?

The findings from the NinthDecimal and Ansira joint study are based on actual implementations of Website LCI for major QSR, auto, and retail brands. With this type of marketing insights these brands have been able to uncover important trends related to their website traffic. For example, mobile generated a higher incremental lift in store visits than tablet and desktop while paid search traffic drove the highest website-to-store conversion rates. With this type of insights, each of the brands included in the study have been able to measure how effective they are at closing the gap between offline and online shopping behaviors.

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What’s The State Of Digital Out-Of-Home In 2017?

Out of home is one of the oldest forms of mass advertising — and the literal first form of location-based messaging. As OOH has largely adopted the contemporary use of digital through mobile advertising and geo-data to strike a balance between mass marketing and one-to-one personalization, the industry is experiencing what Kym Frank, the president of Geopath, calls a “renaissance” in terms of spending, technology strides, and creativity.

Originally known as the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement Inc., Geopath is a non-profit organization governed by “a tripartite board comprised of advertisers, agencies, and media companies.”

Geopath’s historical role was to audit the circulation of OOH media in the United States. Geopath looks to the future with state-of-the-art audience location measurement, deep consumer insight, and innovative market research.

In an interview, Frank offered her sense of outdoor’s digital transformation is winning over advertisers and marketers need to know.

In particular, the main point Kim drove home was  how the outdoor ad industry has invested huge amounts in a digital transformation “that has helped reignite excitement among marketers by making the format more creative, interactive and targeted.”

GeoMarketing: What Is Geopath and what is its mission?

Kym Frank: Geopath is the industry standard currency, powering a smarter Out of Home advertising industry (OOH). We are a not-for-profit organization that has provided auditing and measurement for OOH for more than 80 years. Many people — even those within the industry — are often surprised when they hear how long we have been around. Currently, we measure more than 1MM advertising spaces across the United States. Our members span the entire media landscape from general and specialized advertising agencies, to media companies and large brands like Coca-Cola.

Being a not-for-profit allows us to focus on the needs of our members without having the pressure of quarterly profit goals. It also allows the entire industry to share the costs of a highly accountable measurement system, to help set our priorities, and to have input into the way that our organization is governed. Ultimately, we see ourselves as an extension of our members’ teams and want to do what is best for them — and the industry overall. We are here to support them through our research, measurement, and thought leadership.

This what drove our rebrand in September of last year. The new name is not only a reflection of what is happening within the industry and the dynamic organization that we truly are. It also reflects a strategic shift in our focus from strictly measuring audience impressions to one based on analyzing audience location. This new focus will allow us to provide better analytics, deeper consumer insights and a better understanding of OOH ad effectiveness.

How has Geopath’s focus changed since rebranding from Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement Inc.?

Overall, our mission has remained the same, but there has still been a tremendous amount of change at Geopath since the rebrand.

Last year, the Geopath membership decided to make an investment in our industry’s currency, enriching the system with data from mobile devices, connected cars, and GPS platforms. This investment was to ensure that our organization can provide state-of-the-art and responsible metrics that today’s advertisers are demanding from publishers across all channels.

As part of this change to the industry currency, we changed our tagline from “Out of home ratings” to “Audience Location Measurement.” The new focus of the organization’s measurement system is on measuring people, not inventory.

Our solution, slated to launch in early 2018, will provide Geopath members with a 360-degree view of aggregated anonymous audience movement. OOH advertisers will now be able to more precisely understand who they are reaching every hour of the day, every day of the week. This gives advertisers and their agency partners the ability to better optimize their planning and assess campaign performance.

Ultimately, empowering them to deliver the most impactful messages, at the right time, in the best location to their specific target audience.

This level of granular insights will position outdoor advertising to be one of the most well-measured and reactive channels for marketers.

What’s the state of Digital Out of Home in 2017?

The entire OOH industry is currently in a renaissance. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), industry revenue hit an all-time high of $7.6 billion last year and has grown in every one of the last 28 quarters. In fact, every segment of the business has increased.

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) has been a key part of this. For one, the dynamic nature of DOOH enables advertisers to change creative as a result of triggers such as weather, search queries, or even the presence of mobile devices. Sensors can even be embedded in displays that can recognize automobile models and respond with custom messaging.

Another big trend we are seeing with DOOH, is the streaming of live content, like sports scores and social media feeds. This is highly impactful and helps brands build a dialogue with their audience in real-time — and in real-life.

Is there any sense of whether all outdoor advertising is digital in some form (even static print billboards often mention a website)?

OOH advertising, even in printed form, is becoming more and more digital. The process of identifying which locations to purchase, buying the inventory, ordering the creative and having it mounted was a very manual process in the past, but all of that is becoming automated today. The decision of which inventory to advertise on is often fueled by big data and optimized utilizing advanced software systems. Even printed inventory can be bought through automated systems. The entire process of getting the advertisement in front of a consumer – even if it is on vinyl – can be digitized.

A quarter of the top 100 advertisers last year were tech companies like Google and Apple – and in many cases, they choose to place their ads on printed inventory.

In fact, there is a significant amount of synergy when OOH is paired with digital and mobile advertising. A recent study conducted by the OAAA and MBI USA Touchpoints, revealed that pairing OOH advertising with digital media can increase reach by more than 300 percent.

Marketers can geofence any type of inventory, printed or digital, to amplify their OOH messaging with mobile retargeting. And to your point, messaging on printed boards can also drive consumers to a digital call-to-action.

How does geo-data and the use of location analytics factor into Geopath’s measurement capabilities and offerings?

Quality geolocation data are at the core of how Geopath measures audience. Geopath’s approach to audience measurement requires an understanding of the entire population, not just individuals with smartphone or connected devices.

We require scale, to measure across the country, but also precision, to understand local movements on every single roadway. To achieve such ambitious capabilities, we utilize diverse sources of geo-data and powerful analytics to contextualize all data sources against one another. This approach ensures that we provide a useful planning product to our members and an accurate historical resource for post-campaign analysis.

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Does Location-Based Advertising Have A Viewability Problem?

Location-targeted mobile ad sales are expected to rise from $9.8 billion in 2015 to $29.5 billion by the end of 2019 — but with that rising demand comes greater expectations about ROI, attribution, and accuracy.

The issue of geo-data accuracy has always been a thorn within the great promise of location-based advertising to bridge online and offline, desktop and mobile (and we first outlined the problem here back in 2014).

Placed, which was acquired by Snap this summer to provide attribution services for Snapchat ad clients,  is the latest geo-data specialist to offer guidance on the matter of location analytics accuracy in a report, Accuracy & Bias In Ad Exchange-Derived Location Data.

The analysis for the report is gleaned from the company’s primary product, Placed Attribution, which is based on an audience of over 150 million device generated over 140 billion latitudes and longitudes on a monthly basis.

Thanks to its extensive alliances with dozens publishers, networks, and demand side platforms, including ncluding IPG MediabrandsDigitasLBiHorizon MediaTapadDataXuDrawbridge, among others, Placed’s data sources have grown to include first and third party data as well.

As Placed CEO David Shim describes it, location ad accuracy is a viewability problem.

  • Average location accuracy was 4 New York City blocks
  • Only 1 percent of locations were accurate enough to identify a store visit
  • 80 percent of bid requests with location occur when they are in-between visits, with a good portion of the visit based impressions occurring at home

“With location accuracy not in the forefront of the viewability conversation, bad players have been able to capitalize,” Shim said. “Placed’s recent research and findings arm advertisers with an understanding of the location landscape that has been missing to date, independent of media.”

The Viewability Issue

In the larger ad tech sense, viewability has been a considerable cause of mistrust between buyers (brand and agencies) and publishers. In essence, viewability refers to whether a display ad placement was seen by an actual person or if it fraudulent ad impressions were generated by the “visits” of bots.

“In the near future, marketers will require a viewability-like metric to gauge the accuracy of location used for media, targeting, attribution and analytics,” said Benjamin Bring, VP, Mobile Media Director at Ansible, in the Placed report. “To date, the siren’s song around the potential of location has been able to drive the early adoption, but scale won’t come until the industry delivers a standard verification solution.”

“Viewability in location is directly aligned with accuracy,” Shim told GeoMarketing. “In an ecosystem today, where anyone can claim any location, it is important to not take location at face value, and continually verify the source of the location.”

‘Not All Geo-Data Is Created Equal’

Among the most difficult issues for marketers who want to use location data comes down to the sourcing of that information. Those sources, or signals, can come from a variety of channels, including GPS/satellite, wifi, computer IP-addresses, cell phone towers when it comes to pinpointing the specific lat/long the device accessed. Panel-based check-in services  like Placed’s— the location-based ad equivalent of a Nielsen diary that contains what a viewer watched on TV — are another popular avenue for accessing location data.

As programmatic advertising has become mainstream, the general purpose for for location advertising is two-fold: there’s the desire to provide real-time ad targeting as well as developing a greater understanding of consumers according to the places they go that provides more actionable insights than mere demographics (age, gender, household income, etc…) can offer.

Placed also leverages a proprietary behaviorally-derived measure of store location that it calls ‘Survey Geometry.’ Similar to the store geometries that measure the outline of the building or parcel (i.e., car lot).

One of the problems with a source like bidstream data is that its not a persistent signal like wifi or GPS. Bidstream data often depends on a person opening an ad on their phone while they’re in a specific place. The publisher whose ad is opened in that moment receives the data and passes it on to the network or vendor that placed the ad. If that person who saw the placement then goes to a store that was advertised, that visit counts as being “attributed.”

Of course, a phone’s location services records signals from hundreds of places in a given day. The odds of the information being attributed coincidentally (i.e., incorrectly) is a challenge that comes with real-time data platforms.

Quality bidstream location data, like those coming directly from publishers, is generated from the mobile device native location-based services, which use a combination of GPS, wifi, and other signals. That data is then pulled by the app developer via the phone’s SDKs. The process is the same whether the app sends location data via the exchange (bidstream) or direct. Regardless of a location data’s origin, bidstream or direct from publishers, it’s important to filter data and curate sources as well as recognize and filter low-precision signals.

“Not all data is created equal,” said Joao Machado, director of Mobile at OMD, in the Placed report. “You have to be very diligent in determining the accuracy of location data coming off the exchanges.

“Quality beats scale all day long and 1st party data is the gold standard in quality of location data,”Machado added. “A horoscope app dumping location data into an SSP before landing in the exchanges is the example of what leads all of us to scratch our heads around lack of value around so much of what goes on in the market.”

As we noted above, the average location accuracy Placed found was within four blocks — and only 1 percent were able to identify a store visit. That all sounds pretty dismal and much less reliable than the image a user has when looking at their own location on a map and seeing the accuracy within 3- to 20 feet on average, according to industry sources we’ve spoken to.

While it’s a given that location accuracy is, all over the map (pardon the pun), is this a matter of the difference of location signal sources, such as GPS versus cell towers versus wifi versus bidstream data?

“It’s a combination of factors,” Shim said. “When measuring directly from the device, location signal can vary based on a number factors include environment.  This said, the primary source of location inaccuracy is bad players on the exchange that treat cell tower location the same as GPS, map IP address to latitude and longitude, or commit outright fraud by applying a latitude and longitude to a non-location based impression.”

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Understanding Marketers Top ‘Pain Points’ When Using Geo-Data

About 38 percent of marketers say they have difficulty deriving context from the historical insights about consumers when using location data, a survey by Verve and Forrester have found.

At the same time, another 37 percent say they can’t achieve the expected “granularity” when attempting a geotargeting campaign. In Verve’s analysis, those findings suggest that brands are not able to take advantage of “the unique characteristics of mobile in the effort to maximize advertising value for the consumer.”

The study, Pursuing the Mobile Moment, was conducted in June and was based on an online survey of 203 “marketing decision makers” in organizations that spend $250 million or more annually on advertising in North America.

On the positive side, the idea of location marketing has clearly achieved mainstream marketing acceptance. About 74 percent of the advertisers surveyed say they appreciate location’s value in helping to craft and deliver more “relevant” ads, particularly when it comes to “micro-moments“— those on-the-go periods when a need to satisfy an impulse (coffee, a place to eat,) come up.

Additionally, nearly half the respondents value location data’s omnichannel usefulness in driving incremental in-store visits. But closing the gap between recognizing location’s importance and the ability to get the greatest ROI out of these marketing methods is something that the industry can’t simply ignore, says Julie Bernard, Verve’s CMO.

“It’s not enough to point to the successful outcomes that leading global brands are achieving with location-powered mobile marketing; we have to strive for even deeper insights into what advertisers across the spectrum of mobile-marketing maturity are experiencing,” says Bernard in a statement.

As Forrester concludes in its recommendations, understanding that the quality of location data depends on the source, and how it differs in accuracy, scale, and access, is the first step that brands and their agencies and vendors need to be clear on.

“Limiting these differences means asking a few questions,” Forrester says. “Where does the location data come from — for example, a first-party SDK, a publisher, and/or a beacon? How accurate is the data and how is it validated? What types of location tracking are available for gathering historical insights, cross-device tracking, measurement, and attribution?”

In terms of the discussions that brands, agencies, and location data providers need to have, Verve CEO Tom Kenney recently discussed the ways platform companies can build confidence and stability in their offerings.

“For location-powered leaders and their brand and publisher partners, the high king is the technology that we use to make all this data and media and expertise come together in a unified way. It’s this unification that drives real-world sales,” Kenney wrote in an contributed piece this past month. “It’s the platform. It’s the result of the engineering inventions that empower us to execute with accuracy, speed, and overall excellence as we create meaningful and responsive mobile moments for the consumer.”

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