Placed wants to redefine mobile web analytics with location

Placed, a Seattle-based location-analytics startup for app developers, is turning its attention to the mobile web. Now, companies can see not just how many people are visiting their mobile sites, but where they are when they’re doing so. If you have ad space to sell, this is valuable information.

I profiled Placed and detailed its location-centric business model in July. Essentially, the company detects a phone’s physical location using data such as GPS coordinates, and then cross-references that against its database of more than 300 million places to determine what businesses that mobile user is in or near. That type of information can be valuable, Placed Founder and CEO David Shim told me at the time.

App developers and, now, mobile web site developers, can learn a number of important things about their customers that can help everything from advertising to product development. Location data might indicate whether customers tend to use an app while drivin — thus necessitating development of voice controls — or help track their general workday commutes from the suburbs into the city. And, of course, finding out, like one beta customer did, that 8.51 percent of site visitors are near a Starbucks provides good data for selling ads to the coffeehouse giant or other related companies.

Here are a few potential use cases for Placed’s new web version that Shim noted in an email:

  • What drove someone to visit a dating site on their mobile device?  Placed Analytics can show that 15% of sessions are consumed nearby a bar, 8% nearby a restaurant.
  • Page views to electronic reviews spike between 6pm to 9pm, why?  Placed Analytics shows that 32% of sessions are occurring nearby businesses classified as Electronics Retailers, and 12% occur nearby department stores.
  • A travel site wants to understand what is driving last minute hotel bookings?  Placed Analytics shows that 22% of sessions are occurring when a user is nearby a Hotel, or Airport.

However, while what Placed is doing is cool, something tells me it’s just the beginning of what we’ll see in the mobile location-data space. As mobile devices become a more prevalent method of consuming content and developers take on a mobile-first mindset, they’re bound to want ever more information about what users are doing. Today, we can know where users are; maybe tomorrow we can know what types of devices they’re on. But thanks to popularity of APIs, for example, the sky’s the limit if companies like Placed are willing to get creative in marrying their data with the troves available elsewhere.