But the benefits flow both ways, allowing companies established in cross-device tracking to enter the offline world for the first time (without paying for third-party services like LiveRamp or Datalogix). Crosswise, for instance, already has a cross-device attribution service, but it “can now refer [clients] to the Placed marketplace to add offline attribution to the mix,” said company co-founder and CEO Steven Glanz.
Facebook and Google loom over all the decisions of cross-device attribution providers, and the same is true once those companies step into the physical world of retail data. Placed’s Shim said he noticed clients were taking the Placed in-store data and layering it over DoubleClick or Atlas reports. The new Cross Device Marketplace is in many ways the open ecosystem’s response to that problem.
As with many ad tech vendors, Placed’s goal is to create scale through a series of partnerships, and then distinguish its combined service from Google’s cohesive service by emphasizing flexibility for the marketer.
Shim noted that Google optimizes for the same metrics driving this product – overall store visits for users exposed to an ad and the cost per store visit – but the decision to license tech from a host of attribution providers “offers options … so [clients] can pick and choose who they work with based on clients’ campaign goals,” as opposed to Google, which wants clients to work with Google.
And while the new market isn’t in and of itself a revenue driver, Shim’s hope is that large retail budgets can be shifted away from big, closed platforms if a network of partners can demonstrate ROI and offer brands more “options and flexibility” in choosing vendors for specific campaigns.
BlueCava CPO Manish Ahuja made a similar point, noting that “marketers will begin to see more meaningful analytics significantly improve their ROI on campaigns,” with revenue as a second-order benefit. “However, connecting offline behavior to online behavior doesn’t happen on its own,” he said.
The marketplace is designed primarily for retail companies – it is, after all, a tool that narrowly analyzes brick-and-mortar impacts for campaigns. GumGum marketing SVP Ben Plomion said it’s a key step for servicing retail clients that have “been able to track POS sales on products for a while now… but they’re more concerned with the number of people we can drive into their stores.”
Shim was quick to note that while the marketplace represents a “checkbox” solution, meaning it’s just one more tool for an attribution dashboard, the product has implications for anything from toy companies to kitchenware manufacturers, which often feature co-branded marketing, i.e., “Find us at your local Toys R Us.”
Tapad’s Traasdahl also said that within verticals like auto dealers and fast-food chains, the new partnership will help the digital-first attribution companies get to “the only final metric that truly matters: ‘Did the customer come to my location and make a purchase?’”