Placed and Captivate Partner to Measure the Reach of Digital Elevator Ads

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A partnership between two location tech companies is calculating new data about a few specific moments in consumers’ daily lives: the oasis of quiet in the office elevator.

Digital media company Captivate announced today that it is teaming up with location analytics firm Placed to measure when consumers visit in-store locations after seeing an elevator ad. Consumers exposed to Captivate’s digital screens found in building lobbies and elevators are cross-referenced with Placed’s app users to offer location visit measurement as a new KPI, giving advertisers insights about what consumers do after they see an ad.

“In the elevator, in that moment, you’re not talking on phone, a lot of the time you don’t have Internet, you’re limited in what you can do and what has your attention,” says David Shim, founder and CEO of Placed. “The Captivate screen is the one thing that is moving, that is shining; it’s what you’re looking at. That’s a huge benefit from a branding perspective.”

This opportunity is capitalizing on a short time period during the workday, when consumers involuntarily hit a “pause button” when they enter a Captivate-enabled office building and get on the elevator.

“I think what this really means is that we can show our clients how to drive real world business outcomes, as opposed to media outcomes,” says Neil Shapiro, vice president of digital sales at Captivate. “So, say somebody saw your ad in our building over a four week campaign and then went to your location. The media outcome in digital is just, ‘Oh, somebody checked out my ad. Great. Now what?’ For so many clients, the real business outcome happens in the real world. You don’t buy a car online; you don’t buy McDonald’s online. Yeah, you can shop at JC Penney online, but most transactions happen in brick-and-mortar locations.”

Placed is able to highlight and measure that share of the screen and the consumer’s pause moment, which is especially effective in causing offline behavior. Given that many shoppers research potential purchases while they’re at work, the moment when an employee enters or exits a building lobby or elevator is already primed to influence purchase decisions.

“If you can reinforce that message throughout the day, going up and down the elevator, going in and out of the lobby, that can really help move the needle,” Shapiro says.

Placed uses double opt-in location data to inform advertisers about ROI potential, by asking users of the company’s more than 150 apps to approve location data collection through two separate dialogues. That’s one of Placed’s most important business values – transparency.

“It’s important to get location data in the right way, where privacy isn’t an issue,” Shim says. “Quality, transparent location data, versus cases like bid request data, where you’re only getting location data when someone’s in the app. If you’re in the elevator and a bid request comes through, you might not even get it. When you get consumer to say ‘Yes, I’ll share’, that’s infinitely better than an opt out or a way that’s not explicit to the consumer.”

The double opt-in also allows Placed to gain more comprehensive location data, measuring about 1,000 latitude and longitude points per user, per day.

“We can see someone drive to the office, go outside, walk into the office,” Shim says. “If you were only getting location data in the elevator, then it’s too late. We’re seeing the entire path to the elevator. We’re using GPS, WiFi, gyroscope, barometer, all to identify the visit to the Captivate office and identify that exact ad exposure.”

Captivate’s digital media network reaches consumers via thousands of elevator and lobby displays in 1,800 office buildings in the U.S. and Canada, focusing ads on more affluent consumers who have more disposable income, Shim says. Some locations have already begun using Placed metrics to measure the new KPI.

“If you’ve ever been in one of those Captivate elevators, you’re looking at the screen while waiting for the elevator to get to your floor,” Shim says. “I think the opportunity there to measure the value of that pause is immense. The pause drives better performance. Advertisers and agencies are willing to pay more for that moment.

April Nowicki is a contributor at Street Fight.