Technology means it’s easier than ever to know when someone sees an ad. And while the ability to measure viewability has jumped leaps and bounds in the past few years, it means very little if brands can’t track whether those ads actually drive consumers to a store.
Amid the boom in programmatic platforms, Neil Sweeney, CEO and founder of New York-based Freckle IoT, says the next wave of measurement will be the ability to marry ad deployment with in-store visits and purchases.
To date, location-based information available via the programmatic exchanges has been, at best, only 30% accurate, Sweeney says, but with the advent of beacon and sensor technology, coupled with the massive proliferation of smartphones, there’s a greater ability for precision by combining these two independent data sets.
Freckle does not sell media, but rather collects information for its cross-device attribution solution from the programmatic buying exchanges. Freckle tags media across all vendors and programmatic platforms and pairs it with the information collected in locations by users carrying its software in their handsets.
Here is how Freckle works. The consumer’s smartphone logs when he or she enters a store. After completing his or her shopping, the consumer leaves the store, triggering an “exit” event that is logged by Freckle’s system. The difference between the two events (a “dwell”) allows Freckle to determine how long someone was inside the store. Only those with a dwell time are logged in Freckle’s system removing any concern about picking up a passerby while simultaneously addressing limitations of traditional geo-fencing location inference.
If the location where the user was seen matches the location information provided by the programmatic platform, Freckle is able to match that person’s unique identifying number with the ads he or she was served. This is offline attribution, says Sweeney.
The company is completely independent and media agnostic, Sweeney says, which means it is able to work across different mediums, including OOH, online, mobile, social and addressable TV. “Because we don’t sell media we do not suffer that inherent bias in measurement that comes from selling media under the same banner,” he adds. “The days of selling media and marking your own homework are 100% over.”
Additionally, Freckle does not build standalone applications, but rather works with more than 2,500 different applications and partners accessing more than 130 million phones across North America monthly, scale that is impossible to achieve via a stand alone application.
Third-party measurement has been increasingly on the rise over the past few years as brands and media platforms look to validate their ad spend in a more trusted manner. The result is that brands will be better able to determine what ads, on which platforms, are actually driving consumers to stores, he says. This gives advertisers more assurance when it comes to assigning media buys.
And Freckle continues to innovate and improve on its platform. Like artificial intelligence, the software improves with use: each new brand execution helps fine tune the metrics and tracking system, which makes it all the more effective for the next round of analysis. Freckle also continues to get deeper into the purchase funnel adding store level and product sku level data to a number of its executions.
What’s more, as Freckle grows in reach, it creates a richer demographic and psychographic profile of the end user.
“The industry has done a good job of measuring online attribution,” Sweeney says. “But the reality is, 90% of transactions still happen in a physical location. Until now, there’s been no real way of measuring how effective different platforms, vendors or media verticals are at driving consumers to store. That’s the promise of our business: we provide a holistic view of your entire media spend to prove you’ve been effective at driving an individual into a location. We prove your advertising works.”