Adobe Adds Mobile Location Data to Its Audience Platform

Location Data Becoming More Integral to Marketing

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An Adobe slide illustrating how location and other information can inform advertising and metrics.
An Adobe slide illustrating how location and other information can inform advertising and metrics. Credit: Adobe

The latest in a flurry of data distribution deals will insert information about consumers' movements from PlaceIQ into Adobe's Audience Manager, the marketing tech firm's data management platform.

PlaceIQ tracks when mobile devices show up at retail shops, car dealerships, grocery stores and eateries and attaches an anonymized ID to those devices. The company uses that data to measure when someone actually visits a business location and how frequently.

The new relationship with Adobe suggests that brands are seeking location data as a more integral component of their marketing strategies as well as measuring the results.

In addition to more traditional users of location data such as retailers and auto dealers, clients from sectors such as financial services are showing interest, according to PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall. "Now we just see adoption across the board," he said.

It's the first partnership providing mobile location data on a large scale to marketers using Adobe's audience segmentation platform, said Rich Phillips, senior manager of business development for the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The company plans to also make the information available in other marketing cloud software, such as its media optimization tool, he said.

Location data showing whether someone's mobile device was present at an automaker's dealership, for example, can complement information already available in Adobe's system, such as data showing a visit to an automaker's website through a mobile device or desktop. Clients can then target marketing messages across several channels or gauge the efficacy of their campaigns, the companies said.

PlaceIQ uses opt-in mobile app location data -- the information consumers allow access to when they download most free mobile applications -- to detect when devices are present at specific locations. The system can measure locations down to a 100x100-meter level, and the company stresses that the IDs are "hashed" or altered to protect consumer privacy. Adobe clients won't be able to match, actual individual devices' location with those same devices' browser history, but the aggregate picture will be valuable, according to the companies.

Advertisers of consumer package goods are increasingly looking to incorporate mobile location information in their marketing data streams, said Nadya Kohl, executive VP of business development for PlaceIQ.

"The CPG space is something where we're experiencing demand," Ms. Kohl said. "In my history that's been a tough nut to crack."

CPG makers historically have difficulty obtaining information showing who the actual buyers of their products are, because retailers are reluctant to share that information. With the help of a platform like Adobe's, mobile location data can help CPG marketers determine whether people who saw their ads actually visited a retailer or competitor.

PlaceIQ clients can do this already, but the partnership gives Adobe clients a way to do so without having to work directly with the mobile data provider.

In January, PlaceIQ announced a $25 million Series D funding round. The company has signed data partnership deals with retail purchase data firm IRI and with Starcom MediaVest Group and Acxiom for TV set-top box ad targeting. It also works with Comscore-owned TV data firm Rentrak and Clear Channel Outdoor.

Location data competitor Placed formed deals in 2015 for agencies including Essence, Digitas, Horizon, Southwest Media Group, Crossmedia and IPG Mediabrands to use Placed's mobile measurement system as a standard ad attribution metric for the impact of mobile advertising on store shopping visits.

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