10 Things To Know About Online-And-Offline Marketing This Week

GeoMarketing’s Link Picks of the Week:

Top Stories of the Week:

5. Think With Google: Why Voice Assistants Are Resonating With Baby Boomers

Even brands that cater to older demographics can benefit from developing a voice strategy.

4. GroundTruth Expands Cost-Per-Visit Ad Format With Jack In The Box

“When someone enters our restaurant, we know they are going to make a purchase, so the main priority is to simply drive those visits,” says Jack In The Box CMO Iwona Alter.

3. Big Data, Big Ideas: Verve Execs Forecast Location’s Impact On ‘Smart Packaging,’ Connected Cars, Beacons

“CMOs should be focusing on partnerships that emphasize first-party, clean and protected third-party, and even second-party data,” says Verve CMO Julie Bernard.

2. How Starbucks’ 20,000 Square Foot Innovation Center Will Bring New Tech To Its 27,000 Locations

“None of us are shopping the same way we were three years ago, so, what we’re really trying to solve is the ‘pace of innovation,’” says Starbucks’ Brent Cashell, speaking in Austin this past weekend.

1. PlaceIQ And LiveRamp Partner On Creation Of Location-Based Audience Segments

“The true value of this deal is the ease in which marketers can tap into an omnichannel customer understanding,” says PlaceIQ Biz Dev Head Nadya Kohl.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Goes Back To Its Local Roots For ‘Next Gen’ On-Demand Store Model

Dunkin’ Donuts has unveiled what it’s calling its “next generation store” in the city where it opened its very first location 68 years ago with new design elements that are meant to reflect the “on-demand’ expectations of its digitally connected customers.

The new 2,200 square-foot Quincy, Mass. location, just about one mile away from the original Dunkin’ Donuts location, includes the coffee chain’s first drive-thru exclusively for mobile ordering. It’s also the first of 30 or more new and remodeled Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants that will test variations of the new design this year.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ final new store design is expected to be unveiled once testing is complete. The Quincy store is also one of a select number of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants testing new signage that refers to the brand simply as “Dunkin’.”

“The launch of our next generation concept store marks one of the most important moments in Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth as an on-the-go, beverage-led brand,” says Dave Hoffmann, president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada. “We have worked closely with our franchisee community to create a positive, energetic atmosphere for our guests that remains true to our heritage, while emphasizing and enhancing the unparalleled convenience, digital innovation and restaurant excellence that distinguishes Dunkin’.”

Dunkin’ Donuts “Store of The Future” Drive Thru — the chain’s first — in Quincy, Mass.

Dunkin’ On-Demand

The store is meant to reflect the on-demand focus that all major QSRs are rapidly adapting to. The coffee chain has been emphasizing its mobile focus for the past three years and so this can be viewed as the culmination of those initial efforts.

It also recognizes that the concepts of speed and loyalty have vastly changed in light of mobile ordering and discovery.

In particular, the challenges from the heavily mobile-oriented Starbucks has had a major impact on direct rivals like Dunkin’ Donuts, but also on more general QSRs like McDonald’s. By way of comparison, Dunkin’ Donuts has nearly 7,700 locations in the U.S. (and another 3,000-plus in other countries) while Starbucks has 17,009 outlets.

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

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

And that’s the aim of the Dunkin’ Donuts’ “next gen” outlet, which boasts an open layout and more natural light to make the spaces more “breathable” and not just merely “efficient.”

The new store also previews the “fully-integrated digital kiosks” coming in 2018, where guests will choose to order with or without the help of a store staffer.

Dunkin’ Donuts has also introduced an area dedicated to mobile pickups, so that members of the DD Perks Rewards program who order ahead via Dunkin’s Mobile App can get in and out of the restaurant faster than ever before. Guests will be able to track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board.

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Gen-Z Members Watch An Average Of 68 Videos Per Day

Members of the Gen-Z demographic watch an average of 68 videos per day across five platforms, according to a new report from Awesomeness— highlighting for marketers the importance of creating customized video content across YouTube, Snapchat and more.

In fact, 75 percent of Gen-Z teens say that Snapchat is the best platform for staying connected and informed, while 71 percent say that YouTube is the best place to consume long form content, defined as videos over 10 minutes. The takeaway overall? While the digital revolution affects all demographics, Gen-Z appears unique in that video — rather than voice or text — is a primary means of communicating, sharing and learning.

But while many of us from older generations are still trying to decide whether this is the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity, “Gen Zs are likely wondering why that is something that is still being discussed in the first place,” the Awesomeness report states. “After all, they don’t perceive the physical world and the digital world as two separate entities, but rather a cohesive, multidimensional realm in which events transpiring in the digital world are every bit as important — if not more than — what’s happening right in front of them. Smartphones are no longer just a tool, they’ve become digital extensions of one’s self, and some of the most important moments in life are now being lived out online via pocket-sized devices and key platforms: YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook — yes, Facebook.”

Personalizing Counts — For People And Platforms

Much of the research surrounding Gen-Z focuses on the fact that they are “digital natives.” But it is often overlooked that this doesn’t mean they are likely to be swayed by any and all content on their smartphones — quite the opposite. With more information than ever at their finger tips, Gen-Z is poised to become the most informed generation of consumers — and they’re more likely than other generations to flock to brands that create unique content specifically for them.

After all, “they watch 68 videos in a day — meaning this audience has the ability to sort through content faster than ever before,” said Harley Block, SVP of brand partnerships at Awesomeness. “Creating mobile-optimized content that’s platform specific, direct, and entertaining is essential for brands to reach Gen Z.”

Other key takeaways, below:

Strategic Connections Matter: Awesomeness finds that Gen-Z is open to hearing from brands — but in order to reach them on social media, brands must prioritize “extremely relevant content, give great deals, keep content fresh, and respond to their feedback.” Additionally, the influencer effect is real: These consumers are less likely to respond to a overt video ad than to a favorite content creator making a funny video that includes a brand or product. It’s key to provide a platform that empowers existing influencers to authentically use their voice to build a connection between a brand and Gen-Z.

Personalization Wins The Day: This is true across generations, but it’s especially important when it comes to reaching Gen-Z: Whereas Millennials cared deeply about brands being authentic and transparent — they knew of a time before ads infiltrated social — the Awesomeness report finds Gen-Z is less concerned about that. They tend to respond to brands that simply create great content, so long as its “highly relevant, original and entertaining to them.”

Know Thy Platform: Gen-Z’s top apps for news are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat — but their top social apps include Aux, YouNow and Fam. Marketers must think about creating content for — and building connections with influencers on — not just the platforms with the highest viewership numbers, but where Gen-Z teens are most natively engaged. This will take some research, and it will take an open mind: If there’s one thing that is true across generations, it’s that the teens are always hanging out somewhere that the “grownups” are not.

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With Expanded Visual Search Offerings, ViSenze Aims To Expand Visual Commerce To Social Media And Messaging Platforms

As marketers increasingly seek to connect images to products sold online and in-stores, intelligent image recognition solutions provider ViSenze has rolled out new visual search offerings aimed at expanding visual commerce to social media, messaging platforms and more.

It’s a move that makes sense amidst research suggesting that by 2020, an estimated 50 percent of searches will come from images and voiceGoogle and Snapchat have both issued updates related to furthering their image recognition and visual search capabilities. But what does ViSenze’s Visual Commerce Platform actually allow marketers to do?

Here’s how it works: The platform uses AI and machine learning to aggregate and categorize products from various sources and then recommend items based on the products visual attributes like color, shape, style, and more. So, when using a variety of applications that can integrate with ViSenze’s platform, users can take photos or upload images on mobile in order to immediately see that product — or a very similar one — available for purchase.

“With a product catalog of over 100M items from over 500 stores worldwide, including large retailers like Amazon and luxury fashion sellers like Yoox, consumers are delivered relevant recommendations that match their initial search,” ViSenze said in a press release.

“In today’s digital world, shoppers are inspired to purchase through many online interactions — whether it’s through photos taken on a smartphone, images shared with friends on messaging apps, while scrolling through social media feeds, or while browsing the web,” said Oliver Tan, Co-Founder and CEO, ViSenze. “ViSenze’s platform [aims to] allow brands to reach customers during these moments and capitalize on their desire and willingness to purchase when they’re most inspired.”

And for omnichannel retailers, the ability to use the platform to connect inspiration with purchase through messaging apps may be a particularly compelling use case: A majority of Gen-z teens (52 percent) say they spend three or more hours per day on messaging apps — but texting doesn’t rank in their top three mobile activities at all, according to a report from Think With Google.

In any case, image searches are on the rise across demographics — Millennial moms reportedly use Pinterest’s image search feature in large numbers, for example — but marketers need AI to process the mass quantities of visuals, as well as the data points generated in searches for them.

“We as humans simply don’t have the capacity to process the volume of visuals that exists today,” Tan wrote in an article for Forbes. “Only AI has the ability to process the floodgates of data, and it’s our best chance to build real-time, responsive intelligence that bridges the world of mobile content and monetization.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Masterpass be promoting the DD Perks program as well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Millennials Aren’t Giving Up On Stores — They Just Want An Enhanced Shopping Experience

Millennials haven’t abandoned in-store shopping — but 71 percent of them believe a significantly enhanced retail experience would increase their in-store visits and purchases, according to findings from ROTH Capital Partner’s Millennial Survey.

The report also finds that the demographic is likely to research brands and products via digital means before shopping in stores: 43 percent prefer this method, compared to just 32 percent who prefer to complete the entire transaction online. And as we wrote earlier this year, approximately 82 percent of Millennials believe its important for a brand to have physical stores — compared to only 69 percent of Gen-X and 65 percent of Baby Boomers, according to a report from eMarketer.

At first glance, it’s surprising that the digital native generation (67 percent of Millennials say that they prefer to shop digitally) values brick-and-mortar more than any other demographic. But there isn’t a disconnect: Millennials simply want the option to shop both online and offline — and they even want to shop on their mobile devices while they’re in their favorite stores.

Improving The In-Store Experience

So, how can marketers deliver on the promise of a better in-store experience?

By now, it’s a given that brands need to give all customers the choice of how they prefer to purchase in a seamless, omnichannel manner. But two initiatives stand out for reaching millennials in particular.

The first is buy online, pick up in-store programs. Because millennials are reportedly likely to find inspiration online and to pick out products there before coming into a store, the option for in-store pick up let’s them complete the transaction even more quickly — though they may still choose to browse in the store once they arrive. In fact, across demographics, most shoppers make an additional purchase during in-store pickup.

In terms of improving the retail experience, stores functioning as digitally-equipped showrooms, like Blue Nile, have seen success with this demographic: Shoppers can look at and experience the retailer’s wares in person, but they can still place their order on mobile if they wish. Additionally, store associates equipped with iPads make it easier for shoppers to get the information they want — without having to wait in line for one checkout kiosk.

“Millennials want to be a part of the brand experience,” Alison DaSilva, EVP at Cone Communications, a firm specializing in cause marketing and sustainability, told eMarketer. “They want to see and touch the impact they have, and [that extends] to the companies they [patronize].”

They just don’t want to have to wait in line to do it.

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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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Think With Google: Consumers Are Searching For The ‘Best’ — Even For Low-Consideration Products

Mobile searches for “best” have grown over 80 percent in the past two years, but customers aren’t simply searching for the best luxury hotels or the best mortgage rates: Searches for “best” are showing higher growth among “low-consideration” products like toothpaste or umbrellas than these “high-consideration” products, according to research from Think With Google.

In fact, mobile searches for “best toothbrush” have grown over 100 percent and “best deodorant” over 60 percent — confirming that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile research not just for the big things, but for everything.

“Whether it’s value, style, or quality we care about, nowadays anything we’re considering buying — no matter the category or price — can be, and is likely to be, researched on mobile first,” TWG’s report states. “That means today’s consumer defines what’s high versus low consideration for herself, so marketers across categories have the chance to influence these curious and investigative shoppers with helpful advice.”

“Best Of” — Via Voice And Text

So, what does this mean for marketers?

First, that even when it comes to low-cost, frequently replaced goods, marketers must assume that shoppers are doing research for “best in category” on mobile. CPG marketers in particular may need to think about their strategy in this area, as reviews for toothbrushes aren’t typically found on a pharmacy’s listing or a Yelp page; it’s likely Amazon that will yield the most results here, unless these brands think specifically about how to rank in a customer’s location-specific search results.

In that vein, there is an inherent location-based quality to these requests: Searching for the “”best x” generally means that someone wants to go somewhere or buy something in the physical world. As we wrote previously, TWG’s research bears this out: Compared to just a year ago, smartphone users are reportedly significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.

And finally, this trend suggests that the voice-first revolution matters for an even wider range of marketers than previously expected: As Google sees increases in “best of” searches across the board, it’s important to bear in mind that over 20 percent of these searches made in the Google app are made by voice. Whether you’re selling turquoise or toothpaste, search results across across platforms matter.

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Why McDonald’s Keeps Winning The QSR Foot-Traffic Game

From Taco Bell to Burger King, a plethora of QSRs have expanded into the morning space — but McDonald’s remains the winner, with 52 percent share of foot traffic among the QSR breakfast leaders, according to the latest QSR Foot Traffic Trends report from GroundTruth (recently rebranded from xAd).

Part of this success is no doubt due to simple factors, like the chain’s size and number of locations, but that can’t entirely account for the loyalty the brand sees compared to its competitors of a similar scale: While Fast Casual customers as a whole are reportedly the “least loyal,” with only 24 percent returning to the same fast casual brand from month to month, 48 percent of McDonald’s customers came back over the same time period.

In light of these insights, GroundTruth’s Sarah Ohle talked to GeoMarketing about how McDonald’s keeps driving customers to its locations, and what physical businesses — from SMBs to enterprise — can learn from it.

GeoMarketing: From your perspective, why does McDonald’s remain the breakfast winner with 52 percent share among the QSR breakfast leaders?

Sarah Ohle, VP of Marketing Insights at GroundTruth: From our very first Q1 2016 QSR Foot Traffic Trends report, McDonald’s has held the lead in overall share of foot traffic, due at least in part to size and number of locations. However, another big aspect of their success is that they are constantly innovating and responding to market needs. One very clear example of this is their push for breakfast. McDonald’s was the first to offer an all day breakfast menu in October of 2015, and since then they’ve expanded the breadth of their breakfast options, with a focus on more sophisticated McCafe beverages.

Proving the success of these initiatives, our 1H foot traffic data shows McDonald’s experienced a 3 percent increase in breakfast share of foot traffic YoY when compared to a sample of brands.

What’s especially interesting, though, is looking at how much competition has increased over the past year. For instance, while there used to be only a few brands focused on breakfast, now we’re seeing increased foot traffic at breakfast for most of the major QSR brands. The biggest increase is coming from Burger King, who saw significant growth in their breakfast share of foot traffic after rolling out their egg-normous burrito last May. Clearly McDonald’s was onto something with their breakfast focus.

As far as their marketing tactics, what might other brands be able to learn from this?

Other brands can learn from McDonald’s by embracing innovation to respond to changing consumer needs. In addition to breakfast, perhaps two facets of McDonald’s success is through the updated brick-and-mortar location and continued expanded menu options. This in turn is essentially upgrading the fast food experience — and blurring the lines between traditional fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and fast casual restaurants like Panera Bread.

McDonald’s, and a handful of other fast food chains, are adopting more “fast casual” elements by investing more in interior design and offering upscale and healthier food options.

Examples aside from McDonalds include Wendy’s, which has been experimenting for some time with replacing their old carpets with tile and adding cocktail-style tables to encourage people to sit and stay. Taco Bell also launched redesigned concepts that include plush chairs, exposed rafter beams, and modern art. On the cuisine front, fast food chains are now focusing on healthy, fancier, and quick-style homemade food options. Consumers are increasingly being provided more upscale options, like lobster rolls at McDonald’s and truffled burgers and fries at Wendy’s.

What lessons are there in this for other brands — QSRs, retailers in other verticals, or even SMBs? How can they compete and drive more foot traffic to their physical locations?

As we’ve learned from Warby Parker, having a brick-and-mortar presence can prove extremely valuable for a brand. However, in the age of Amazon, some retailers struggle to drive foot traffic to their physical storefronts.

While the convenience of online shopping is a huge draw, the in-store experience still plays an integral part in purchase decisions. And from a marketer’s point of view, once a consumer walks through the door, especially in the case of QSRs, they are very close to purchase. Reimagining the retail experience to draw consumers in-store and providing as seamless of a shopping experience to online is essential in keeping customers returning through your doors. This is exactly what brands like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell are doing with their modernized interiors and tech enhancements like mobile ordering.

On the retail front, one creative reimagining of the retail experience that builds on this idea is the showroom model, which allows customers to browse products in a physical location — upon purchasing, products are then shipped directly to their home. Examples of brands leveraging this model are Bonobos and Modcloth. A showroom model also provides retailers with the opportunity to save space on inventory — given the need to have only a few products in different styles and colors on display.

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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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