InMarket buys NinthDecimal to compete with Foursquare more effectively

Location analytics and data providers InMarket and NinthDecimal are joining forces. InMarket is buying the latter for an undisclosed sum.

The combined entity, InMarket, says “on day one” it will have revenue of $100 million, 550 partners and serve a large number of brands, agencies and publishers. (The company says to date it has worked with “more than 2,000 brands, agencies, publishers and platforms.”)

Need to better compete with Foursquare. The acquisition was likely motivated by several factors, among them the need to get bigger to better compete with market leader Foursquare. In addition, COVID-19 may have put pressure on the revenues and outlook for both companies.

The location intelligence/analytics segment is consolidating and there will likely be more M&A activity to create fewer companies with more capabilities and scale. Roughly a year ago InMarket bought ThinkNear from navigation provider Telenav. Foursquare recently merged with Factual and earlier bought Placed from Snap.

Omnichannel positioning. The press release promotes the benefits of the InMarket-NinthDecimal combination: “Bringing NinthDecimal’s powerful solutions over to InMarket creates the ultimate marketing platform – audience, activation, attribution, analytics – that will enable marketers to build 360-degree, closed-loop omnichannel marketing programs and track a campaign from impression-to-purchase.”

Note the absence of phrases such as “location” or “location data.” The proposition and pitch describe a more comprehensive and brand-conscious “omnichannel” marketing platform that can tie online and offline performance data together.

Third party validation. InMarket also emphasizes third party validation of its audience targeting and attribution methodology, as well as location-data accuracy. The company asserted, “We are the only platform whose individual offerings from Audiences to visits for Attribution that have been certified and/or validated by independent third parties, including Location Sciences for audiences and Comscore for reach, our visit/data methodology and data accuracy.”

This statement is intended as a counterpoint to Foursquare’s resent announcement of MRC accreditation. In 2017 the MRC issued Location-Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines and just issued its first accreditation to Foursquare. This type of third party validation will be critical to any company hoping to compete going forward.

NinthDecimal’s leadership team will join InMarket. NinthDecimal CEO Mike Fordyce will become Chief Business Officer, President David Staas becomes Chief Product Officer. And InMarket will continue to be lead by current CEO Todd Dipaola.

Why we care. Location data is becoming harder to come by even as brands and retailers are embracing its value. With Apple’s (and Google’s) efforts to give consumers more control over location and limit ad tracking, greater scale will be critical in the future.

Location analytics is a segment that had perhaps 15 or 20 smaller companies competing to educate and capture brand advertising dollars. In the end there will likely be four or perhaps five relatively large providers that can offer competing levels of technological sophistication and reach.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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