Location analytics firm Placed has launched its Placed Panels, a free service to measure the real-world behavior of opted-in panelists. Companies can use Placed Panels to recruit panelists to measure and analyze the places their customers visit in the physical world.

"If your company is not leveraging location analytics, you are at a competitive disadvantage to peers in your industry," said David Shim, founder and CEO of Placed.

In August 2012, Placed Panels was piloted across 36,000-plus opted-in participants, who installed the Panel App on their smartphone. Measuring popularity by visitors, the Placed Panels pilot found significant fluctuations in the top 10 businesses by market:

  • McDonald's and Walmart were the only two businesses to be ranked in top 10 in all reported markets;
  • Behind McDonald's, only five other restaurants appeared in the top 10 in more than one market: Subway (7), Jack In The Box (3), Whataburger (2), Sonic (2), Wendy's (2); and
  • Starbucks (9) appeared in the top 10 twice as often as Dunkin' Donuts (4). In the markets where both businesses were active, Dunkin' Donuts outranked Starbucks 75 percent of the time.

In less than 15 minutes on placed.com, a company can design a panel and start recruiting panelists. Placed Panels provides a unique URL for panel recruitment, a co-branded app to measure location, and access to reports, updated on a nightly basis. A panel creator only needs to recruit customer segments to join its panel and can optionally offer an incentive for panelists to participate.

The co-branded application, called the Panel App, is available on Android and iOS devices as a free app. The Panel App recorded more than 200,000 downloads during its pilot, with an app store rating of nearly four stars. Panelists only share location data with the Panel App after opting in three times at initial recruitment, app download and app open.

"Knowing the offline behaviors for a publisher's audience is as valuable as understanding their demographics," said Jeff Lanctot, global chief media officer at digital agency Razorfish. "Buying media based on the businesses a publisher's audience visits will become commonplace, and I expect Placed to be the unifying currency for location."

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