The Dirty Little Secret About Location Targeting In Mobile

As Sir Martin Sorrell said, location targeting in mobile is the holy grail of marketing. Reaching consumers when they are out and about, on the go, interacting with both the digital and real worlds together can actually fulfill the longstanding goal of ‘right ad, right person, right place, right time’.

Location is a big deal. For the history of digital advertising we’ve basically been targeting on a few things, like content, cookie data and search. The big new data set mobile brings to the table is location – a data set that can be as important at inferring intent, demographics, audience segments and other attributes as any we have seen to date. And it brings genuine value to end users – helping them find products and services where and when they want them – a key attribute of the most valuable advertising mediums.

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Bill Ganon Speaks at 2013 Mega Conference

Today from 4-5 p.m. our very own SVP, GM of Local Markets, Bill Ganon will be discussing “The Serious Potential of Mobile Ad Sales” at the 2013 Mega Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Key Executives Mega Conference is the largest annual local media event attracting over 500 decision makers from local media companies in the U.S. and Canada. The conference is hosted jointly by the Inland Press Association, Local Media Association and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and runs through February 20th.

For more information about #2013MegaConf check out the program.

eMarketer Highlights Verve Location Data

eMarketer’s latest report about mobile targeting features important data from Verve’s inaugural Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report. The two charts below highlight percent of campaigns by targeting tactic and industry plus targeting tactic.  Campaigns that leveraged location targeting performed better than those that did not, in most cases by 2x.

As marketers continue to explore mobile marketing, location needs to be at the forefront of their strategy because it brings genuine value to end users. Additionally, quality location data can help brands reach consumers near their real world locations and drive foot traffic to stores more effectively traditional media resources.

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Location is a big deal

Industry Colleagues –

I’m excited to share with you Verve Mobile’s inaugural “Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report”. This report highlights key insights from over 2,500 mobile campaigns run across our location-based mobile ad platform in 2012. 

Going forward, we will publish our Location Powered Mobile Advertising Report on a regular, quarterly basis. 

A little background on Verve

Verve leverages location data to help major brand advertisers achieve their mobile marketing goals.  We work with premium publishers so that advertisers only appear in contextually relevant, brand-safe environments.  We typically collaborate with brands on complex, location data-driven executions that leverage dynamic rich media and pull location related information and/or product information into the user experience.

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Mobile Isn’t a Device, it’s a Mindset

Verve’s regional Vice President, Michael May, attended the J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Marketing Roundtable conference last week in Las Vegas, NV. As one of the keystone events for the automotive marketing community, Michael captured some great insights and made some keen observations that we thought you would find interesting.

If there was one central theme this year, it is the concept that mobile is not about the device itself; it’s about the shift in the consumer mindset that mobile devices have created in our culture. This of course has resulted in a shift in consumer behavior, and it is paramount for auto manufacturers to recognize this shift, and the role that mobile is now playing in the purchase funnel, as they engage in media planning for 2013.

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Did you notice??

Did you notice?

It is ok if you did not, but those following along at home noticed that we released a new brand identity last week. Yep. We have a new logo, a new mark, an updated website, a new style guide…and well, a new name too (Verve Mobile). I guess that is a lot actually, but we didn’t want to make a big deal about it, we just felt it was time to update our wardrobe so to speak. We have evolved considerably in the last year and a half as a company, we wanted something to reflect that progress, capture the essence of Verve, our employees, our technology, and our great partners. It was time. We referred to this evolution internally as Verve “re-defined.”

Verve [vurv] noun
1. enthusiasm or vigor, as in literary or artistic work, spirit.
2. vivaciousness; liveliness; animation.
3. Talent

Spirit, artistic work, enthusiasm, talent. Yes. That is what we apply to everything we do and we want the whole world to know about it. Well, at least our world of leading brand advertisers, media partners, and creative talent.

We have a new tag line too- Location Powered. It is the foundation of everything we do here at Verve.

Today’s mobile consumer demands relevance and utility in their daily lives, and the ability to drive the “perfect” advertisement, one that reaches the right consumer, at the right time, and at the right place and in the most meaningful context possible is predicated on accurate and reliable location information. Our premium media partners are all location centric. Our consumers are location centric, and our advertisers are location centric. See a theme here?

The Verve platform, an “engineered and built in America” combination of advanced software code and hardware, drives an advertising decisioning system that anonymously leverages that location data with other Verve data sets to create a relevancy score. See a theme here?

Location Powered.

Verve Releases QSR Study Results

Earlier this week, we released the results from our latest consumer research study about QSR and fast casual diners’ attitudes and preferences towards using their mobile device to help them select what to eat and where to eat.

The survey was conducted over a 30-day period across smartphone and tablet users on the Verve mobile platform which consists of 3,500 media properties.

We learned that mobile users are very receptive to engaging with mobile ads that have location relevance, and provide useful information such as:

  • Restaurant locations
  • Special Offers
  • Menu
  • Nutritional Information
  • Customer Service
  • Consumer Reviews

It was no surprise that nearly half (45%) of those surveyed said that the information they receive on their mobile device influences their decision to purchase a meal from a quick service restaurant.  Additionally, Verve mobile users said that mobile dining recommendation apps, loyalty programs and maps affect their decision on where to dine or order take-out from.

If you’d like to read the full results from the Verve QSR Study, please download the PDF here.

Going Mobile This Holiday Season

It may seem like the winter holidays are lightyears away considering the triple-digit sweltering heat affecting the majority of our country right now; but, we are exactly 100 days away from Black Friday (Nov. 23rd). One of the biggest shopping days of the year.  So, crank that air conditioning on high, bust out your holiday play list, and get into the jingle-bells state of mind.

This is the year that mobile matters most of all for retailers.

Based on 2011 post-holiday shopping reports from Google/Ipsos, Forrester Research, eMarketer, comScore and Nielsen, we learned across the board that shoppers (over 80%) relied more heavily on their mobile devices in 2011 than in years past to:

  • find store locations 44%
  • call for store hours 42%
  • compare prices across retailers 61%
  • access product information/reviews in-aisle 75%
  • make purchases via mobile after visiting the retailer 11%
  • searched for promos/deals before visiting the retailer 46%
  • share deals and special offers with friends via social mobile networks 30%

We also know that mobile and tablet holiday shoppers shopped earlier and more frequently. What this means for retailers is having a location-relevant mobile strategy is critical.  Want to know more? Get in touch with us, and we’ll help you not just survive, but thrive this holiday season.

Highly Connected Travelers

Maybe it’s because it’s summer time or Verve’s HQ is located in one of the most popular travel destinations in the world (always sunny San Diego), but I have a travel bug that doesn’t seem to go away.

I often find myself browsing travel sites and apps on my iPhone wondering where my next adventure lies. Based on Verve’s latest research study results, it appears that I’m not alone in considering my smartphone as a convenient travel agent, and a good one at that.

Smartphones are proving to be a great utility to travel connoisseurs, like myself, and general consumers alike as more and more travel companies are going mobile. I don’t know about you, but I love how easy it is to find flights and fares, hotel reviews and rates as well as fun activities around destinations of curiosity in a few swipes of a screen.

To further illustrate how awesome smartphones and tablets lend themselves to being travel aides, here are a few highlights from the Verve Travel Study:

  • 65% of people search for airline flights or hotels on their mobile device, and 44% follow through with making a reservation
  • Almost 50% of people make travel arrangements via their mobile device with rewards programs in mind, like Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • 53% of smartphone users travel many times throughout the year for pleasure

If I’ve piqued your interest, and you want to read more data snacks about smartphone savvy travelers click here to learn more!


Introducing the IAB Mobile Local Buyer’s Guide

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently launched their new Mobile Local Buyer’s Guide. As active participants in the IAB’s Local Committee, we are pleased to have assisted in the construction of this document in order to help provide some clarity around location based targeting.

Greg Hallinan, Verve’s CMO, also provided several insights into geo-targeted versus geo-aware campaigns, and defined what is the most accurate location data for mobile advertising purposes during last week’s launch event at IAB’s Ad Lab in New York.

As the leaders in location-centric mobile advertising, we believe it is important to provide clarity to the market, and more specifically, to our agency partners and brand managers about mobile media and location targeting. We trust you will find the IAB Mobile Local Buyer’s guide useful.

Verve Honored as Top Mobile Company

We’re pretty excited and honored about being selected for the second year in a row by AlwaysOn as a 2012 OnMobile Top 100 company for our location-centric mobile advertising technologies.

Verve was selected from hundreds of other mobile companies based on a set of five criteria: Innovation, Market Potential, Commercialization, Stakeholder Value, Media Buzz.

We look forward to joining our mobile industry peers at the AlwaysOn OnMobile Event June 13th at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, California to celebrate this achievement.

We’ll see you guys there.

Announcing Verve’s New WordPress Plug-in….sweet!

We announced the “official” release of our WordPress plug-in for mobile web today.  We are pretty excited because this is something the WordPress community has been requesting for awhile.  With nearly half of the Top 100 blogs in the U.S. using WordPress, the ability to bring them a quick path to mobile distribution and monetization is…well…just cool.

Some of the highlights of the new plug-in include:

  • Free to all self-hosted WordPress site owners
  • Open-source
  • Easy to Install – Standard plug-in installation process
  • Customizable Themes – Users can choose one of our provided themes or advanced users can customize or create their own
  • Automatic Detection of Mobile Devices – Leverages existing content and hierarchy of pages and posts
  • Integrated with the Verve mobile ad platform – Monetization made easy
  • Provides Basic Mobile Statistics – Track visits, mobile search engine bots, etc.

Full release can be viewed here.

Webinar: Best Practices in Location Targeting and Using Rich Media

We’re excited to invite you to participate in a webinar that Verve is co-hosting with our partners at Celtra to share with you best practices in location targeting and using rich media.

On Thursday, March 22nd at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) join Greg Hallinan, Verve’s CMO, and Grant Stratemeyer, Celtra’s VP of Business development, to:

  • Explore strategies for creating engaging rich media mobile ads.
  • Gain a stronger understanding of best practices for location targeting.
  • Learn about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for successful mobile campaigns.
  • Review case studies from leading Finance, QSR and CPG brands.

This webinar is geared for agency executives as well as brand marketers. Learn the best way to engage target audiences and how to leverage rich media and location targeting on mobile to achieve desired results and a relevant user experience.

Register today!



Leap Day @ MWC

February 29th is sort of a “bonus” day, that strange oddity that occurs on calendar years evenly divisible by four.  So in the whimsical spirit of that oddity, so to speak, one of the more interesting studies released by Vodafone here at MWC was a current riff on an old classic:

“What would you give up for a week for a smartphone?”

  1. Alcohol 70%
  2. Chocolate 63%
  3. Coffee 55%
  4. Exercise 54%
  5. Sex 33%
  6. Toothbrush 22%

While I have no idea about the overall size of the sample or ‘scientific’ methodology, the percentage of people that would actually give up their toothbrush for a smartphone is alarming.

Ok.  Some more important observations from Verve and our participation on the Mobile-Loco: The Social-Location Revolution panel are coming soon….

Musings from Barcelona

Some great mobile innovation is being showcased at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  It seems there is consensus from all of the marketer and agency execs we have spoken with over the past several days, mobile has truly arrived as a commercial medium.

During day two of the Qtel Innovation Exchange it was evident the big areas of opportunity are in:

  • Connected car and connected home
  • Healthcare
  • Utilities
  • Data

Behavioral targeting is also a major topic of discussion this year. The ability to identify consumers based on desirable attributes via the mobile sites they visit is key to tailoring mobile ad creative specific for audience segments. Carriers are exploring a new type of customer segmentation called “life graphics” which plots consumer behavior based on the user’s mobile phone usage. Using behavioral targeting in tandem with geo-targeting will give advertisers the advantage of contextual relevancy to the mobile user, and ultimately cutting through the clutter.

Some other interesting facts coming out of MWC…

  • 25x mobile Internet growth from 2010 – 2015.
  • Data traffic is expected to grow 18x over the next two years.
  • 6.6 billion mobile subscribers and 1.3 billion broadband subscribers worldwide.
  • The next wave of premium devices will be custom configured smartphones where the user will decide what features they want for their smartphone. The price of general market smartphones will decrease more rapidly than is projected due to intense competition for share of market.
  • The highest CPMs are in South Africa followed by Germany, Italy, Spain and France. The largest market in terms of advertising volume is India, which has some of the lowest CPMs in the world.

More to come!


Verve @ Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress, the largest international mobile industry event of the year is right around the corner! The conference officially begins on February 27th, however there are some exciting events happening this weekend in Barcelona that Verve is participating in.

On February 26th, Dan Hodges, Verve’s Chief Revenue Officer will help lead a mobile advertising roundtable discussion at the Qtel Group Innovation Exchange, an exclusive by-invitation summit that brings together the world’s most respected operating companies and mobile partners to discuss the future of the telco ecosystem. Dan will provide Verve insights on the topics of rich media and mobile video, maximizing mobile advertising ROI, and how apps have changed the mobile advertising display sector.

Then on February 28th, Dan will join executives from HP, Intel and Exicon to participate on the “Going Mobile: Decoding the Future of Mobile Marketing and Enterprise Mobility” panel as part of
the mPowered Brands Workshop. Mobile-Loco on February 29th is also going to be a great event to attend if you’re in Barcelona. Dan will be joining other notable ad industry execs on Mobile-Loco The Future of Mobile Marketing: Proximity, Intent and Content = Engagement and $$$ panel to contribute thoughts on location based mobile advertising.

Over the next few days we’ll be posting highlights from MWC and look forward to providing you with a glimpse into all of the activities from Barcelona!

Verve’s Q1 Local Mobile Index(tm) Released

We just released our quarterly Local Mobile Index report that highlights some key insights on local mobile advertising across the Verve Network.

Some key findings include:

  • Automotive was the top category with 28% of local mobile ad spends
  • St. Louis was the leading emerging metro area for local campaigns
  • Wednesday is the biggest day for local content consumption on mobile
  • Local display ads on Android platforms performed 52% better than on Apple’s iPhone®

The Verve Local Mobile Index (LMI) is a quarterly report showing the latest trends and insights in local mobile advertising. Derived from data collected on the Verve Network during Q1 2011, the report pulls from the more than 60 million active local mobile users consuming more than 1 billion pages of mobile content, along with analysis of over 3,900 local campaigns placed during the reporting period. Data is a combination of Omniture, comScore, and Verve reporting.

Download the complete report (



The Holy Grail of Advertising

In his address at this year’s Mobile World Congress, WPP Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell said that location-based targeting to a mobile device is the ‘holy grail’ of advertising.  He was close.  The true holy grail of advertising is location-based targeting in contextually relevant content.  Location targeting is great and with the ubiquitous, personal, location-aware, mobile device of today it is now a reality.  But it is not the whole story.  To brand advertisers, context should, and will continue, to matter.  That’s why we’ve built the largest publisher network of high-quality local media companies – the only national footprint of local media.  At Verve, we make location-based advertising contextually relevant.

Tom MacIsaac
CEO Verve Wireless, Inc.