PointRoll And ShopLocal Combine To Form Cofactor

CofactorImagine adorning a Crest branding video with a custom call-to-action that tells the viewer she can buy the toothpaste on sale at a local Target or Walmart for $3.99.

To achieve this, Tegna-owned companies PointRoll and ShopLocal are combining their capabilities under a new entity called Cofactor. If the name Tegna sounds unfamiliar, that’s because the company only formed two and a half months ago after spinning off from Gannett.

Historically, brands have used ShopLocal to create e-circulars, and PointRoll started as a rich media company. Cofactor’s combined 5,000 clients can now use the ShopLocal tech to upload products and sales, and PointRoll to create hundreds of thousands of ad creatives that include pricing at nearby stores.

Cofactor CEO Mario Diez (formerly CEO of PointRoll) wants to meld the technologies to enable marketers to add a call to action to branding initiatives, as in the Crest example. That’s something its top clients, such as Target, Walgreens, Walmart, P&G, Nissan and Audi, were already keen on doing.

“Across CPG, retail and automotive, our customer funnel was starting to shift and condense,” Diez said. “Advertisers are trying to deliver content to a consumer and drive a branded message and an action.” Within Tegna, “we saw the possibility to unite two companies” to provide that service.

Cofactor’s formation capitalizes on “the rise in how data is becoming a primary initiation point for the advertisers,” Diez observed. Cofactor can take information from a marketer’s DMP and use it to create targeted messaging that its DSP will deliver to consumers.

Marketers can use Cofactor-produced creatives anywhere – desktop, mobile, video, social. Cofactor doesn’t buy media or pick targeting parameters but uses APIs to work with a marketer’s existing DSP or media plans, making it an open platform. It charges a CPM fee for media using its tailored creative.

Cofactor expects to expand beyond shopper marketing budgets and into branding budgets with this switch. But Diez isn’t keen on distinctions – he believes that many of these budgets and initiatives will merge over time.

“If the customer doesn’t know the difference and care, why should we?” Diez asked. “Why deliver a brand message without some kind of activation?”

P&G, for example, has run display ads for Pampers touting the diapers’ protection and fit, but it followed up at the end of the ad with pricing for diapers at local stores.

A separate initiative combining branding with a message led to a $8:$1 return on ad spend for the manufacturer and a $20:$1 increase in sales for the retailer, calculated using data from Nielsen. But attribution from online to offline remains “a big opportunity and a big challenge,” Diez said, as marketers add actions to online messages.

Cofactor will transition clients slowly over the next few months as they familiarize themselves with the new offerings and company name.

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