xAd Rebrands as GroundTruth in Push to Expand Beyond AdTech

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In a signal of where the location technology space is heading, the location-based mobile advertising technology firm xAd announced this morning that it is expanding its scope and rebranding with a new name that better reflects the emerging landscape.

“The name xAd served us well for the past eight years. But it also limited us with the name ‘ad’ in it. After building a solution that receives more than a billion physical visits a month across 21 countries around the world, it became clear to us that a change was needed,” says Chief Marketing Officer Monica Ho.

The company’s new name, GroundTruth, is often used to refer to information provided by direct observation, or a fundamental truth. Ho says that rebranding under the new name gives xAd an opportunity to go beyond its original mission to serve the media industry and build off “real moments” with precise and accurate data for businesses of all sizes and industries.

“To us, the power of location data doesn’t have to be limited to advertising and can be realized in other applications from real estate, traffic, and out-of-home planning to layering in weather to determine its impact on visits. GroundTruth, allows us to realize our ambitions beyond media,” Ho says.

As Ho sees it, location data is the strongest form of intent. A consumer can ‘like’ a brand on Facebook or Twitter without ever making a purchase or showing up at a store in person. But real-time offline visitation data shows regular visitation patterns, shopping habits, and behaviors, providing businesses with a much clearer picture of the path-to-purchase.

Ho points to Snap’s recent acquisition of Placed for location measurement, combined with investments into location technology from Apple and Google, as proof of how valuable location information is becoming across all sectors.

“With the offline retail market sitting at a staggering $4.4 trillion a year and location-targeted ad spend predicted to be 45% of overall mobile ad revenues by 2021, the location category is rapidly evolving,” she says.

xAd is not a newcomer to the space, having been around since 2009. Just this past March, it introduced a new pay-for-performance model that ties mobile ad pricing to offline store visits. Ho says that recent growth in the number of physical visits to places — up 80x in size from last year, to 1 billion physician visits to places globally each month—helped lead to xAd’s decision to expand and rebrand, going from an advertising supplier to a firm that powers decisions across a number of industries.

GroundTruth has already started using its foot traffic data to help retailers with store planning and advise companies on strategic investments. The firm’s partner list includes McDonald’s, L’Occitane, Timberland, OUTFRONT Media, iHeartMedia, and Univision.

The company is also working with the third-party insights firm InfoScout to verify the accuracy of its location data, a step that Ho believes positions GroundTruth as a leader in the space.

“We’re at a time in our industry when brand safety, viewability standards, and ad fraud are top of mind,” she says. “With a brand position like ours, we know that we must be vigilant in seeking third-party validation.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.