It’s no secret that location is where it’s at in terms of mobile advertising and its future, but getting accurate location data and integrating it correctly with advertising while maintaining relevancy, user privacy and other roadblocks has been a tough hill to climb.
MoVoxx, an innovative new mobile advertising company, has debuted a pilot program that aims on bringing together all the pieces of the puzzle to make real-time location-based mobile advertising a reality once and for all. MoVoxx itself admits that it’s not going to be easy, but says it has mastered the three elements of real-time location-based ads that have hindered other companies trying to master the concept before it- a wide reach, a way to determine where the user is to serve the local ad, and a way to monetize. Here’s what they’ve come up with.
In terms of reach, the company has already developed a core SMS network with around 300 million impressions per month, and has another 400 million monthly impressions via in-app advertising on smartphones. Behind the scenes, the company has also developed proprietary methods for optimizing which users receive which ads by building profiles of user-based information for each phone number in its system, as well as gathering data from its other products that publishers have implemented.
With its foundation in place, the next step is gaining the all-to-important location information from its users. To accomplish this, MoVoxx plans to use CellID data from in-app ads as well as Useful Network’s PlaceWhere platform which aggregates cross-carrier location data whether the user is equipped with GPS or not. It’s not the most accurate solution to determine location, especially relying on CellID data, but it’s the best options available at scale at this point.
The last piece of the puzzle is finding a way to monetize the concept, which is difficult given the nature of local merchants. MoVoxx decided to hand the heavy lifting over to CitySearch, who has already built out a database of 70,000 or so local merchants who have opted into mobile-based advertising. MoVoxx has access to these companies through a local merchant API, and can automatically build out WAP pages for each using data from CitySearch. Beyond CitySearch, MoVoxx is actively working with other local merchant aggregators such as iPromote and Marchex to continue building its database, as well as working directly with large brands such as McDonalds.
When everything comes together, location-aware ads can be inserted in SMS messages and mobile apps in real-time. A perfect example of the process from a user-standpoint is when a user asks a question to ChaCha. In the answer response SMS from ChaCha (which the user already requested) MoVoxx can insert a small ad for a nearby local merchant at the bottom of the SMS by taking into account the user’s location at that very moment. The ad would include a URL to a WAP page built for that specific local merchant containing relevant content.
It’s a valiant attempt to tackle a concept that many have tried before, but in the end many aspects and core technologies need to mature before the full potential of the concept can be realized- mainly accurate location information from all carriers. Until carriers begin making fully accurate location data available to third-party providers, real-time location-based mobile advertising will remain the holy grail that’s inherently unattainable.