Placed Follows Shoppers From Mobile To Physical—At Least As Well As Anyone Can

Knowing whether a mobile ad has gotten a potential customer to visit a mobile-commerce website is (relatively) easy. Identifying whether that shopper has crossed channels to a physical store is more like guesswork, and the state of the art is currently a mobile coupon. But location-analytics company Placed is now trying to make that a little less of a guess, according to Venture Beat.

Placed uses an opt-in panel of consumers and tracks their location pretty much constantly by means of a variety of paps. That results in minute-by-minute location tracking for a large number of users. Placed CEO David Shim says the company now collects 100 million locations per day, which suggests it's a big enough panel to make a good test for almost any mobile ad.

With a new service called Placed Attribution, the company tracks panel users who see an ad and then visit a store compared to typical store visitors, including whatever demographic information Placed has on the panel members, then can issue reports to advertisers. The goal is to make it a real-world version of the kind of tracking done with on line shoppers.

The disadvantage, of course, is that it's an opt-in panel, so it may not perfectly model all customers. On the other hand, it avoids the annoyance of check-ins for customers and eliminates legal concerns about tracking customers without their knowledge.

But it may be better than anything else available. In practice, a mobile ad can't perfectly instrument a potential customer's mobile phone to track how the customer will react to the ad. For obvious reasons, that's never going to happen. But by collecting what's essentially a very large focus group—and then trying hard to not remind them that they're test subjects—mobile advertisers at least have something more than a coupon to tell whether a mobile ad has made an impression.

For more:

- See this VentureBeat story

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