Tapad Takes it to the Streets

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The Tapad coffee truck. Photo: Kim Davis

Cross-device marketing platform Tapad took to New York City’s streets this month to share coffee and cookies with leading digital agencies, and took the stage during Advertising Week to announce a new metric: Viewable Exposure Time (VET).

If you’re lucky enough to work at Digitas. look out for the colorful “FindWhoMatters” Tapad truck tomorrow morning (September 30). There are still a few more block parties scheduled on a tour aimed at emphasizing the core importance of identity management. The current emphasis—in both marketing and ad tech—on personalization and the customer experience is meaningless, so the thinking goes, unless you can track an individual from desktop to mobile to phone (and ideally in store too). Whether it’s the coffee or the message, the block parties attracted over 1,000 agency visitors in the first week alone.

Tapad, recently acquired by European telecomms giant Telenor, bases its offering on a device graph, which currently accounts for 2.8 billion devices (almost 100 percent of US consumers, according to the brand). The Tapad truck—serving Brooklyn’s Nobletree Coffee and Momofuku Milk Bar cookies—was aimed at reminding marketers and agencies that cross device tracking is fundamental to reaching and engaging consumers in a multi-channel environment.

The customized art on the truck represents hard to decipher pictures which become clear as day when you hold up a little red lens. You can view the truck’s progress on Facebook.

Tapad’s CEO, Are Traasdahl, could be found handing out beverages (on the right below); but there’s much more to the cross device story than street-side snacks. Claiming three times the scale and twice the precision of competitors, Tapad is doubling down on attribution and optimization. Announced at it’s third annual Unify Tech summit yesterday, part of Advertising Week, VET is a metric which runs across screens and ad formats to estimate the optimal time a consumer spends before an ad before taking action.

I spoke with Tapad’s SVP and GM of Media Business Kate O’Loughlin to get a fuller understanding of what VET actually does. She explained that the intent is not to estimate optimal exposure time of ads before an audience generally: “It’s the optimal time for that person, for example eight minutes,” she said. In other words, the optimal time for the specific individual tracked across devices (but with no personally identifying information). Attention paid to an ad plateaus, then declines. VET data should enable optimization of ads addressed to consumers on the graph; what’s more, once the “magic” point is reached, advertisers can stop spending.

VET tracks across digital and television, and encompasses display, video and rich media. The outcome is intended to be higher conversion at lower spend. O’Loughlin says VET is superior to “today’s current measurement options, like click-through rate and TV gross ratings points.” VET is currently in beta (more here).

Photos in text courtesy Tapad

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