The case study was apparently convincing enough for SMG to make
the new metric one of its many marketing products. Derek Thompson,
the global managing director of SMG's mobile practice, said that
although the new metric may not be appropriate for all of the
agency's clients, using location data to inform marketing is
essential regardless of whether you're trying to direct customers
to a physical store.
"It's not just about trying to move people from point A to point
B. Local targeting has a broader appeal than that," he said. "It's
about developing large audience pools that are more qualified to be
certain types of consumers."
PlaceIQ tracks consumers' locations by analyzing information
collected from data partners or bought from publishers and ad
Whenever an in-app ad request is served through a network, the
network assigns the device a hash ID--a string of numbers and
letters designed to anonymize the phone and its user. By tracking
individual hash IDs, PlaceIQ can map the various locations a mobile
phone was served an ad.
The targeting goes beyond simply identifying a smartphone's
latitude and longitude, however. PlaceIQ's data science team has
drawn maps of stores, car dealerships, parks, landmarks and other
notable locations. PlaceIQ then pins hash device locations to these
maps, which in turn can help marketers demographically profile
REI could use PlaceIQ to recognize people who routinely visit
national parks and subsequently serve them ads about a deal on
hiking boots available at a nearby store, for example. If a
smartphone user opens a weather app after arriving in Grand Central
to discover its raining outside, a Midtown retailer can serve him
or her an ad for discounted umbrellas.
The process involves PlaceIQ placing a 100 square meter grid on
top of certain geographic locations and targeting them within one
of those squares. In some cases, PlaceIQ hand-draws a bird's eye
outline of a building or landmass.
PlaceIQ CEO and co-founder Duncan McCall said that PlaceIQ has
drawn car lots in order to identify if users have visited a car
dealership and are thus in the market for a car.
He cited this as a way PlaceIQ's location data can be used to
lure potential customers away from a competitor's location. Lexus
could potentially identify a mobile phone user at an Audi
dealership and serve them a mobile ad directing them to the nearest
The tracking is far from perfect, though. Because each mobile ad
network assigns its own hash ID to devices served through its
network, effectively tracking a phone from one location to the next
is dependent upon them accessing the same ad network. This results
in PlaceIQ being able to effectively traffic only 15% to 25% of all
the mobile ad traffic it monitors.
Place Visit Rate is much like the mobile ad tracking sector at
large, then: it's a crude measurement, but definitely an