Placed Builds Out Attribution Platform, Connecting Store Visits to Dollars Spent

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Location-based analytics provider Placed is looking to prove that mobile ads not only have the power to drive visits to brick-and-mortar retailers — but that they also have the power to drive sales. With location-based marketing firm xAd as an official launch partner, the Seattle-based company today unveiled Placed Revenue, a tool that learns whether consumers bought anything at a store for which they saw a mobile ad, and how much they spent.

The goal of Placed Revenue is to show mobile advertisers where they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck, and, more definitively, prove that mobile ads are effective in driving in-store purchase activity. Placed Revenue asks mobile users —whose mobile device’s location data reveals that they physically visited that store — whether they bought anything at the store, and if so how much they spent. It achieves this through a push notification survey.

To best understand this product, it’s necessary to understand how Placed’s other products work. Here’s a breakdown of the Placed process: a consumer opts-in to Placed Insights, a panel that collects their device’s location data (in exchange for their location data, the consumer is given “points” which can be gift cards, prizes, or charity donations). The platform works like Nielsen’s TV ratings system, showing the retail environments consumers are spending their time in. Next comes in Placed Attribution, which ties in the mobile ad component by tracking which clicked-on mobile ads were followed up with an in-store visit.

Placed Revenue is the third layer in this process. The tool measures the purchase rate once an ad has been clicked and a location has been detected.

David Shim, CEO and Founder of Placed says that the new feature shoots out a simple survey to opted-in consumers within a few hours after their mobile device’s location data shows that they’ve been inside a retail store.

“We send them a push notification asking, ‘Did you buy anything,’ and then, ‘How much did you spend?'” Shim says, adding that the questionnaire is completely optional, but that consumers are inclined to participate because they can earn extra Placed points by doing so.

Working with xAd, Placed collected over 2 million first party survey responses in Q2 2015. This constituted a response rate of about “30 to 60 percent,” Shim says.

Based on this feedback, Placed calculated and indexed the visit to purchase rate for the largest retailers in the U.S. The index excludes food and gas retailers because Shim asserts, “nobody visits a grocery store or a gas station and doesn’t make a purchase.”

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According to the Purchase Rate Index, consumers make the most purchases in dollar stores. 99 Cents Only came it at number one, followed by Dollar Tree, and then Dollar General. This is somewhat ironic, because dollar stores aren’t exactly known for they’re stunning ad campaigns, let alone their inspiring call-to-action mobile ads. Obviously they are doing well, as this survey shows, but one doesn’t think of dollar stores blowing the big bucks on splashy mobile ads.

To some extent, Shim suggests, this is just the nature of the consumer beast. Dollar stores, he asserts, “are designed to drive conversions.” They emphasize one thing and one thing only: cheap prices.

While dollar stores rank highest on the purchase index, it’s membership-only warehouses that account for the biggest sales, Shim says. These too, Shim notes are designed to drive sales because they charge an annual fee to shoppers. People pay to have access BJ’s Wholesale Club (number 5 on the list), so chances are they’re not going to walk out of the store empty-handed.

What Placed Revenue can best do for brands, Shim believes, is educate as well as motivate them to become more inquisitive about why a customer prefers say, BJ’s Wholesale to Sam’s Club (number 9 on the list).

“They’re in the same category,” Shim says. “So why does one have a higher conversion rate? The starting point is that you have the data in front of you, and you can find out if you’re above or below your competitor. If you’re above, great, but if you’re below, you need to reevaluate your layout and do some research on your competitor’s store.”

It will be interesting to see how Target, which comes in tenth, may look to beat out Walmart, which claims the eight spot. In that scenario, it will be less about store layout, and more about value offered. Which brand can offer the most for less? Start working on those mobile coupons, Target. They pair impeccably well with Placed Points.

Nicole Spector is a contributor to Street Fight.

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