- Snapchat parent Snap Inc. has acquired the location analytics platform Placed, according to a report in GeekWire. The deal came in at $125 million, per Bloomberg, making for one of Snap's priciest acquisitions to date. The total value of the deal could surpass $200 million based on future contingencies, as reported by Geekwire citing a person close to the deal.
- Placed focuses on location-based attribution, covering everything from how TV ad spend translates to in-store foot traffic to where Pokemon Go users are located, per GeekWire. Placed has more than 100 employees across its Seattle headquarters and satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles, who will continue to work independently under Snap ownership.
- In other Snap news, MightySignal reported in a blog post that Snap recently installed the PayPal SDK, which suggests it is eyeing expanding or changing its existing payments strategy.
Offline attribution remains a Holy Grail measurement for digital marketers, and one Snap is clearly eyeing as it attempts to carve out a distinct niche in the social media space. The Placed acquisition fits into a broader push toward Snapchat focusing on location-based marketing, an area that is a natural fit for the video and photo-sharing app given the popularity of native ad formats like sponsored geofilters with users.
Since it went public at the beginning of March, Snap has also unveiled a Snap to Store tool for advertisers that measures in-store visits as they relate to Snapchat ad campaigns. Placed specializes in the same area, and provided independent analysis of Snapchat users' offline behavior last year, according to GeekWire.
The deal for Placed points to how interest in location-based data, while a part of the mobile marketing landscape from the beginning, is picking up so far in 2017, in part of because of efforts to link offline and online strategies but also because marketers have a deeper understanding about how it can be used to enhance search, social and targeting efforts, among other programs. Hertz, Nissan and Facebook are just a few of the marketers ramping up their use of location data this year.
As interest in augmented reality grows, one marketing opportunity that is emerging is leveraging AR in tandem with location data to provide real-world experiences, a trend that was on display at this year's SXSW Conference and Festivals.
Between its advertising innovations and dedicated, youth-centric audience, Snapchat continues to be a huge draw for advertisers despite a Q1 performance that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Snapchat faces stiff competition from Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram, and might be attempting to differentiate itself from the imitators by providing more granular location-based attribution tools, which could prove invaluable for marketers with strong physical or brick-and-mortar businesses.