#SFSNYC: How Marketers Are Closing in on the Holy Grail of Mobile Attribution

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As more people are on mobile devices all the time, the ability to analyze the journey a user takes from an ad impression to a purchase is becoming much easier. This gives publishers the ability to prove ROI for their advertisers — and it means that advertisers can better plan their marketing budgets with a focus on proven results.

At Street Fight Summit 2016, Yuyu Chen, a reporter at Digiday, Steven Rosenblatt, President at Foursquare, David Shim, CEO at Placed, and John Sedlak, CRO at PlaceIQ talked about the new innovations in data collection and the ways it can be used to improve business.

“What’s super interesting is the fact that we now have a bridge between the digital and physical world,” said Rosenblatt, talking about how this new rise in data makes it much easier to see what’s going on down to the hyperlocal level.

One of the early examples the panel talked about was how Foursquare has been able to track the effect the political campaign has had on Donald Trump’s businesses.

“We’ve been looking at traffic to Trump Properties and we can see a significant decline, especially with women, a 21% decline at Trump Properties,” said Rosenblatt. “Because we’re in the consumer business, we can track that.”

Another way that mobile attribution has helped has been in explaining why loyal customers suddenly disappear at the same time every single year. Sedlak from PlaceIQ explained that they analyzed this behavior for one of the largest retailer advertisers in the United States and found why they were a flight risk.

“There were three or four retailers who were a higher quality brand. It’s likely because, when you are putting a gift under the Christmas tree, you want to have the higher brand box. It was obvious in the data that people left this already premium retailer to go to an even higher premium retailer,” he explained.

With this growing amount of data, agencies and brands are beginning to pay attention.

“What you’re going to see is brands and agencies ask if there is a better metric to see the effect of the ad in the physical world,” said Shim. “Agencies have started to turn around and said we need to measure things. They’re getting a lot smarter.”

Part of that has been in the way that these attribution software companies work with their partners.

“It’s about educating on the space and the idea that you’re probably evaluating media in a very 2005-2010 way in a cookie-based mechanism. We’re working in a world where you can see on a one-to-one basis and you can measure about what’s going on,” said Rosenblatt.

The panel agreed that, as these brands and agencies get smarter, they will become more insistent on higher quality attribution data. Now that data can be tracked down to the one-to-one relationship, businesses can make much wiser business decisions.

And for investors that are trying to determine whether to buy or sell shares of some of the largest retailers, this data provides that edge.

“The hedge fund sector is making multi-billion dollar decisions based on the data that we’re providing. Gone are the days where they hire two-prop planes to fly over Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Now they’re using our data,” said Sedlak.

Jacob Donnelly is a Street Fight contributor.  Photo by Shana Wittenwyler.