SEATTLE: Placed, the location analytics firm owned by Snap, has decided to make its Placed Insights tool available for free, which will enable users to track store visits across about 1,900 businesses in the US.

Announcing the initiative in a company blog post, the company explained that the measurement tool had been a premium and paid service to date, but an open-sourced version will provide monthly updates of data from January 2018 onwards.

“We see very high demand for location analytics, yet adoption has been tempered by accessibility and cost to access an accurate and robust data set,” said David Shim, Founder and CEO at Placed.

“Placed is taking the unprecedented step of education and investment in the industry by making location analytics available to all at no cost,” he added.

According to AdExchanger, the model Placed uses involves gathering aggregated data from its opt-in panel of around 166m daily active users, who give the company permission to track their offline behaviour.

Users can search or browse by category or brand to discover share of category visits and other data, and the detailed information can include the restaurants most frequented by Netflix subscribers or real-world businesses visited by Bitcoin owners.

In an example given by AdExchanger, users could type in “Dunkin’ Donuts” and then the Placed Insights tool can reveal that the chain’s regulars are located primarily in the northeast, are most likely to visit on Tuesdays, enjoy travel and tourism and are also likely to eat at Golden Krust.

“The challenge with any data, location data included, is being able to distil it into a story or an insight that a brand can use,” said Rachel Freiberg, VP and Associate Managing Director of the Where Group, part of Horizon Media.

“Open access to the data levels the playing field,” she added. “The more people who can access the data, the more ways we’ll see it used, and that will spur ideas for both brands and agencies.”

Sourced from Placed, AdExchanger; additional content by WARC staff