TextualAds is an interesting startup with the aim of combining the power of SMS marketing with the targeting capabilities of Facebook profiles, and recently announced a $650K seed round of funding to expand on the concept.
The platform initially launched back in September as a Facebook application that allows marketers to ask fans to opt-in to targeted SMS messages directly from their fan pages. The messages can then be targeted to fans based on their age, gender, country, city, or exact geo-location. Put simply, the platform helps SMBs leverage the treasure trove of profile data housed in Facebook to send highly targeted SMS messages.
A nightclub or bar could send out free drink coupons to women under 30, for example, who are fans of that particular bar on Facebook. Or It could send an SMS message to any fan who happens to be walking in the vicinity. A spa having a slow weekend could even entice women customers to “Bring in three friends and get 25% off.” So far the company says it has around 1,200 businesses using the platform, but that there’s much more to come in the near future.
Fresh off its first funding round, the startup is planning a 2.0 launch of its product in the coming month, and says it has “several major household brands” lined up as clients. For starters, the new version will feature a one-click signup for SMS opt-ins on Fan Pages, which makes much better use of Facebook’s platform to collect the user’s gender, age, and other content from their Facebook profiles as opposed to making them enter it manually.
In addition, the new platform will be opening up access to a sophisticated analytics dashboard, which includes data on users’ Facebook Likes, wall posts and other content that most brands haven’t taken full advantage of yet. The plan is to charge based on the amount of customization companies need, and large clients are said to be paying six figures a year for whitelabeled versions of the platform.