PlaceIQ’s Mandeep Mason on Looking at Location from an International Perspective

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As brands and advertisers familiarize themselves with ways of leveraging location data, companies like PlaceIQ are stepping up with sophisticated platforms to help ease the process of parsing dense information to find value. Markets around the world are at varying stages of identifying and embracing the increasingly large role location is playing in a number of industries, and part of the evolution and maturation of location technology as a whole is bringing those international markets up to speed.

PlaceIQ, which is based in New York, launched in the U.K. last year and is continuing to broaden its reach throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Street Fight caught up with PlaceIQ’s EMEA General Manager, Mandeep Mason (who will be a speaker at Street Fight’s upcoming LOCALCON conference in London on April 21), to talk about the company’s online-to-offline efforts and what he has learned about the industry from expanding internationally.

Place IQ has been doing a lot to connect physical location visits with media consumption. Do you think those connections will ultimately help brands sell more advertising, or is it more about quality than quantity at this point?

I think it’s both. There’s absolutely a role for location data to help marketers be more informed about the impact of their existing media spend. Location has really enabled an opportunity to create a new lens on how consumers are reacting to ads and behaving in the real world — it becomes this sort of connecting tissue between different media. And the other side of that is it’s possible to quantify impact with more certainty.

How far along are we in the process of creating consistently dependable metrics for ROI?

[PlaceIQ] pioneered with a product called Place Visit Rate that aims to solve the online-to-offline challenge and link the impact of consumers seeing digital ads on mobile or desktop to the movement of consumers in the real world. For hundreds of the advertisers that we work with, it’s the cornerstone of what we do. I think we’re going to see a lot more innovation in this area in the coming years to support that bridge of online-to-offline in real time. Location data and footfall measurement play a very important, foundational role within that. And when you start thinking about other proximity technologies like beacons, or the ability to link to coupons in-store, there’s definitely an exciting future ahead.

What are some of the issues at play in international expansion?

Many of the clients we work with are multinational and were keen for us to be in more and more markets.  There are a lot of similarities in appetite to use location data and measurement. The IAB published a study at the beginning of this year outlining that in the U.K., 66% of marketers surveyed thought that location was the most exciting opportunity. We think the timing for us has been fantastic, and we had a great reception from many of the clients and agencies we were talking to. The U.K.’s a fairly forward-thinking market.

There are differences — privacy, for example. We’ve built a platform that ticks all of the boxes on that front — we’re largely anonymized and are working with organizations like the IAB and MMA to push forward standards, because it’s still a growing space. One of the things we realized is that at an industry level, there’s more work taking place at peer companies to provide more standards in the use of location data.

A second thing that’s become clear is that location can so often just be part of an overall media plan. But with the ability to know how people are moving in the real world, there’s now more of an always-on approach that can be used. There are knowledge gaps within the agency and advertising landscapes. As a business, we spend an incredible amount of time educating on how this data and measurement can be used, and equally, how it can move beyond media into a wider CRM-based application.

Looking down the road, what’s most compelling to you about location data?

I think the scale and level of location data being generated from smartphones and made accessible to marketers is going to grow significantly, in line with growth in device usage by consumers, as well as the infrastructure-led development taking place in markets like the U.S. and U.K. That’s a good thing; it will give more color to the picture of the consumer in the real world. The next thing is innovation in other technologies that will complement what location companies are doing in the space — things like proximity-based targeting and payments that will pave the way for end-to-end solutions for marketers. Beyond that, I think location is going to play a very important role in the strategy and planning of advertising as a whole. As marketers make more sense of how the space can be used in their organizations, it will be coming in far earlier in the process and not only used as a targeting and measuring tactic. Overall, it’s very exciting times. When you think about the initiatives a lot of marketers are taking around data management platforms and building robust consumer profiles, the location opportunity in the enterprise realm impacts a diverse set of applications.

Hear more from Mandeep Mason and PlaceIQ at our upcoming conference on April 20-22 at the Chelsea Football Stadium in London. Click below for tickets!