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Snap eyes offline attribution with new acquisition

News, 07 June 2017
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NEW YORK: Snap Inc., the parent company of camera app Snapchat, has acquired Placed, a startup that measures the offline footfall of digital ad campaigns, in a deal that signals the company's interest in offering greater attribution capabilities.

Announcing the news in a blog post, Placed, which employs over 100 people in Seattle and New York, said the company would remain an independent entity – a strategy aimed at allowing it to continue working toward a broader advertising goal.

"Placed's goal continues to be the adoption of a common yardstick that can measure the offline effectiveness of advertising across multiple platforms and publishers," said CEO David Shim.

In a statement reported by The Drum, Snap added that it too shared that goal. "Connecting online with offline is a problem that the advertising ecosystem has been working toward solving for a long time.

"Progress in this area," the company said, "will drive amazing results for advertisers and our community."

Snap has, in recent months, worked hard to put together a sophisticated and convenient product for advertisers. In May, the company announced a self-serve ad platform, which gives advertisers a centralised, fee-free way to buy and track ads.

Elsewhere, the battle to prove that online ads drive sales – on or offline – has become a key challenge for online platforms, with Facebook and Google boasting offline attribution with their services.

However, data protection and privacy issues have dogged efforts to close the attribution loop. Snap told Geekwire, who broke the story, that the companies will establish data-sharing privacy and security guidelines to ensure separation of advertiser data.

Boosting advertiser confidence in ROI could help Snap shore up and grow its revenue, which fell far short of Wall Street's expectations after the six-year-old company posted losses of $2.2bn.

In December of last year, Recode reported Snap's acquisition of ad tech company Flite, a move widely read as an attempt to close the gap between its tools and those of Facebook and Google.

Data sourced from Placed, The Drum, Recode, GeekWire; additional content by WARC staff.

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