The Weather Company is looking to tie its mobile ads to something concrete, or at least made of metaphorical bricks: a real-world store.
The company is partnering with Placed Attribution, a location analytics company, to help advertisers see the amount of people their mobile campaigns are sending to physical locations, freeing them from some of the attribution methods currently employed in online advertising.
"If we want marketers to spend their money on the Weather Company, we need a way to show them it's effective," said Weather Sr. VP monetization Alex Linde.
Digital ad effectiveness is often measured by looking at whether a clicked ad led directly to an action like a signup or sale or whether the ad was seen by a consumer before purchase. These methods can leave advertisers open to fraud or cause them to optimize for the wrong metrics -- a problem Weather is looking to solve.
"In a lot of cases, there's no correlation between clicks and store visits, so trying to optimize for clicks is a false economy," said Mr. Linde. "This is a great way to validate the true value of publisher inventory as it doesn't concern itself with clicks and would fail to work if the ads were not seen."
Weather's giant mobile footprint is helping it do the math. The company has 120 million mobile app installs in the U.S. which, when matched with Placed Attribution's 150,000 person panel, can provide a relatively accurate picture of the lift a campaign provides.
The measurement is conducted by connecting people who see ads on Weather properties with their identity on Placed Attribution's panel, and then calculating whether they visit a store more often than those who do not see the ads. If those who see the ads visit the store more often, the campaign is probably working.
Place Attribution built its panel was by promising rewards to its users in exchange for being allowed to collect their location data.
In an early campaign, Weather worked with Ace Hardware, matching 4,000 people who saw its ads to Placed Attribution's panel. 2.5% of those who saw the ads visited Ace Hardware locations as opposed to 1.8% percent of those who didn't.