Snapchat buys startup to help it track your location

PHOTO: Drew Angerer

Snap may have lost a bunch of money last quarter, and by a bunch we mean $2.2 billion. But it's just a young company trying to build a sustainable business model-and that means adding some "creepy" advertising.

Placed, its latest acquisition first reported by GeekWire Monday and confirmed to Mashable by Snap, may help on that mission.

The Seattle-based startup is focused on tracking and measuring consumers locations via their smartphones and using those insights to empower mobile advertising.

Snapchat already offers a "Snap to Store" product that helps advertisers track sales from online to in-store, but that product is limited to only Snapchat and snap data.

For example, 80 per cent of Snapchat users take snaps in restaurants, according to a study by Greenberg Strategy that Snap commissioned.

What Placed offers is analysis on other third-party platforms like Facebook and Instagram and websites, so that an advertiser or a publisher can compare the outcome of each of them. Placed measures billions of locations, according to its Crunchbase profile.

"Over the past 12 months, Placed has measured more than $500 million in media spend to store visits, across thousands of campaigns and hundreds of partners, cementing Placed as the leader in location-based attribution," the company wrote in a blog post.

"By partnering with Snap, we will do even more."

Like its peers in the social media industry, Snap makes the majority of its revenue from mobile advertising.

If it hopes to get a significant cut of the duopoly between Facebook and Google, it'll have to better prove its ads can work.

The move appears to be a far step from Snap CEO Evan Spiegel's former disdain for online tracking.

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