Placed, the Snap-owned location data company, is giving away its analytics tool for free.
Starting Thursday, brands and media planners can use a public version of its insights service to view foot traffic trends for around 2,000 businesses in the US.
Placed pulls the aggregated data from its audience of around 300 million monthly active devices, including users who give the company permission to track their offline behavior. Placed supplements its panel through publisher partnerships and second- and third-party data sets.
The insights include everything from share of visits within a category and popular days of the week to audience insights, such as where else visitors shop and what apps they prefer.
Type in “Dunkin’ Donuts,” for example, and Placed reveals that the chain’s regulars are primarily located in the northeast, are most likely to visit on Tuesdays, enjoy travel and tourism and have a propensity to also eat at Golden Krust.
Anyone can access the insights tool, but only clients can activate against an audience segment through Placed and a partner, whether that be a publisher, a demand-side platform or a data management platform.
The decision to develop a free version of the tool is part of an effort to use transparency to dispel the distinct odor of BS that wafts over the location data space.
“There’s a lot of noise in the marketplace, but what people need is direct access to data about the physical world with the same level of granularity and accuracy they can get in the digital world,” said David Shim, CEO and co-founder of Placed. “We’re trying to break down the wall between the data and whatever the business question is.”
Shim likened the tool to the online real estate database Zillow, where consumers can look up home values and other related data for free.
The notion of democratizing access to location data insights is appealing from the buy-side perspective, said Rachel Freiberg, VP and associate managing director of the Where Group, an insights and planning unit housed within Horizon Media, which uses Placed as its preferred location partner.
“The challenge with any data, location data included, is being able to distill it into a story or an insight that a brand can use,” Freiberg said. “Open access to the data levels the playing field. The more people who can access the data, the more ways we’ll see it used, and that will spur ideas for both brands and agencies.”
Horizon has been using a premium version of Placed’s insights dashboard for several years to do planning research and ingest data into its proprietary data hub, Infuse. The agency slices and dices data in the dashboard and then triangulates it with other data points through the hub.
Data nuggets like foot traffic tied to time of day or how visitation stacks up against competitors is often either “siloed, anecdotal or self-reported,” Freiberg said.
“But with data sources to validate all of these traffic metrics,” she said, “we can start to put real data behind strategic decisions.”
[Correction, 3/2/18: A previous version of this story stated that Placed's opt-in panel is comprised of 166 million daily active users.]