PlaceWise, Publisher Of Mall And Grocer Websites, Embraces Programmatic Sales

alexgardnerupdatedCasale Media’s Index Exchange has hooked up with place-based content and shopper media network PlaceWise Media on a new private exchange connecting advertisers with intent-based shoppers.

PlaceWise, a publisher of retail destination sites for 3,000 grocers and 600 shopping and lifestyle centers nationally, reaches close to 16 million monthly visitors across its online network.

A pre-existing supply partner for Casale’s open exchange, “we wanted to elevate the value and have a more direct connection with the buyer and bring more of our data to bear,” said PlaceWise’s president, John Dee.

PlaceWise, like a number of other commerce-oriented platforms and retail publishers, is relatively new to programmatic, and is just beginning to get its feet wet with the sales channel. One reason: Retail’s first order of business is typically to facilitate a sales transaction, not necessarily to streamline an insertion order.

“We started off as a provider of interactive services for the shopping center industry,” elaborated Dee. “Malls needed a website, email capabilities and then ultimately content, mobile services, SMS and social media integration, and we started to provide a full suite of services that engages their shoppers online.”

When managing digital feeds for brick-and-mortar shopping centers, PlaceWise realized it sat on a gold mine of shopper marketing data.

PlaceWise has for several years developed companion shopping apps such as Shoptopia, which lets consumers browse for and redeem coupons and offers in local stores. The Shoptopia Network incorporates local feeds and offers through deals with major brick-and-mortar retail developers like Forest City Enterprises and Madison Marquette, for instance.

“By virtue of our relationships with these centers to host, manage and distribute content, we have varying arrangements with many of them for ad insertions and promotional capabilities,” Dee said. “Their digital presence online is a big part of the network and we’re able to aggregate all that traffic and square that off to the media side, which wishes to access those shoppers.”

Because PlaceWise acts as a digital services provider for brick-and-mortar establishments, it’s able to track how online influence impacts store performance, said Alex Gardner, VP of platform solutions for Casale Media.

“The local aspect is particularly interesting for us,” added Gardner. “We’re connecting with people who are on their way to the mall or grocery store, and it’s kind of like their last touch point before they reach the brick-and-mortar environment.” An added bonus is that PlaceWise’s supply is not overly regionalized or limited to certain geos, he said.

It also skews 60% mobile, which is generally in lockstep with mobile traction Gardner’s seen across Casale’s exchange. “For a long time, mobile was more relegated as an add-on and freebie, but we’re at a point now where it’s now approaching parity with display performance and rates, which is fantastic for sellers,” he said.

Additionally, PlaceWise has to navigate buyer sensitivities, which factor in to the development of the private exchange. As PlaceWise’s Dee puts it, “a Revlon or J. Crew does not want to show up in the wrong place or out of context.” Gardner said Index Exchange implements additional controls over type and quality of buyer demand it allows through to PlaceWise’s network.

“This is still early forays for PlaceWise into programmatic and private, so they’re approaching it cautiously but our expectation is we really want to drive Deal ID, which is where we think the majority of the opportunity lies for them,” Gardner said.


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