Mobile Location Firm Placed Secures $10 Million, Will Open NY Office

Location analytics firm Placed on Tuesday announced closing $10 million in a second-round funding led by Two Sigma Ventures, along with existing investor Madrona Venture Group. That brings its total raised to date to $13.4 million.

The Seattle-based company plans to use the new capital to ramp up product development, add new customers and open a New York office in the next two months headed by Andrea Eatherly, vice president of operations at Placed.

Demand for Placed analytics services is driven by brands’ desire to connect mobile campaigns with actual sales. To that end, the company last year launched Placed Attribution, which can show whether an ad campaign actually drove foot traffic to a retail location. It uses a panel of 175,000 opted-in users whose behavior it tracks in and out of over 175 million consumer locations.

The attribution service is built on Placed’s core product, Placed Analytics, which uses the same panel to map activity in locations, discern trends and understand which groups have the highest affinity to visit which retailer. With the funding, Placed announced the addition of publishing and other partners including Pandora, The Weather Channel, Rocket Fuel and InMobi.

Companies including Millennial Media, PayPal, Thinknear, Verve and xAd have already been using its attribution and look-alike targeting services. The companies plug the Placed solutions into various media campaigns and are charged by Placed on a CPM basis. That cost is baked into the amount charged to a brand or marketer.

The system will know which of the opted-in devices have been exposed to an ad for a given campaign and then track whether that user entered the advertised location.

Based on attribution data collected from campaigns since last year, what works when it comes to driving store visits? In a word, geo-fencing, according to Placed CEO David Shim. He likens the approach, which involves technologies surrounding a location to trigger mobile messages as people come within a certain distance, to retargeting on the desktop.

While acknowledging that geo-fencing may count as conversions people that may have gone into a store anyway, he call it “the clear winner in terms of targeting tactics in mobile.” By contrast, he argues that clicks do not matter in mobile advertising. “Placed has seen no correlation between clicks and in-store visitation rates, and in certain cases, it can be negatively correlated.”

Beyond the 500-foot perimeter of a geo-fence, however, is where behavioral information comes into play in targeting a mobile campaign to the right audience, said Shim. He also maintains that content, inventory and ad creative each play a part in determining in-store conversions, as well as the cost per visit.

In connection with the Placed funding, Two Sigma partner David Joerg will join the company’s board of directors. 

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