Little Has Changed For Location Data Company Placed After Its Snap Acquisition

When Snap acquired location-based data company Placed over the summer, agencies got excited about the prospect of intermingling the data sets – but that won’t be happening anytime soon.

Placed will not share any advertiser or partner data with Snap, Placed CEO and founder David Shim told AdExchanger.

“Keeping the data set separate is important if we’re going to have a clean story to go to market and talk about our company,” Shim said.

Although Shim reports directly to Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan, the day-to-day doings at Placed are unchanged and the company will continue to operate independently of its parent.

The teams will remain separate, Placed will continue to maintain its own office and its production structure won’t mingle with Snap’s.

Snap is tapping into aspects of Placed’s offline measurement technology, but it’s doing so just as any regular partner would.

Placed helps Snap tie its inventory to offline store visits across Placed’s opt-in panel of 166 million daily active users and its network of publisher, ad network and demand-side platform partners.

But why, then, acquire the company and not just keep the partner relationship going?

The answer has a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats flavor to it.

“Around 90% of conversions occur offline in the physical world, and if Snap drives investment in measuring and connecting ads to in-store, that benefits Snap, but it also benefits the ecosystem,” Shim said. “Snap wasn’t looking at this as a roll-up.”

But even if Snap did want to intermingle its data with data from Placed, a move like that could rock the privacy boat at a time when the sea is rocky for Snap more generally.

Unrelated to Placed, the recent introduction of Snap Maps, which lets users share their location and see where their friends are located, has sparked privacy concerns despite helping drive substantial growth for Stories.

The money that came into Placed’s coffers from the acquisition – $135.2 million in cash – will primarily go toward product development and building out its road map with an eye on omnichannel measurement. Placed is planning a 400%-plus boost in its TV measurement investment.

Since the deal closed in July, Placed has experienced a 20% increase in the number of impressions it measures and a 13% increase in the number of advertisers it measures. The uptick is due, at least in part, to enthusiasm in the market about the Snap connection, a more general appetite for better online-to-offline measurement and an increasing desire among advertisers to contract their supply chain.

“It’s been an educational curve, but as advertisers start to understand the value of location data more, they’re seeing how it can be used to determine a store visit,” Shim said. “And from there, they’re actually starting to commit dollars based on these reports and make decisions in the millions of dollars using this data to decide where to invest. Location is becoming actionable.”

Snap reports its third-quarter earnings Tuesday.

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