Move Over Four Square: Location-Based Advertising Solutions Are The New Trend


Advertising has always been a thorn for someone consuming content. You open YouTube, before the video starts, the advertisements show up. You open a news portal; an interstitial ad blocks your vision for few seconds. Static ads, video ads, ads with gif file: you name it and the ad world has a technique to grab your eye-balls. And now a new method to micro-target consumers is fast gaining ground.

Just visualize yourself chatting with a friend on an application near Shoppers Stop, Connaught Place, and you suddenly get an ad which tells you the latest collection that the SS CP store has or the offers which are going on. Just imagine how glad you would be! Not only there are high chances of your visiting that store, chances are also you would be keenly awaiting many more such ads which are not intrusive but seems to understand where you are and what you enjoy doing.

Say hello to Location-based advertising solutions. This solution enables the operator to capture in real-time the location of opt-in subscribers to create contextual, handset and vendor-agnostic advertising offers.

Location Based Advt

Location based advertising (LBS) pinpoints the location of mobile phone subscribers and provides them ads based exactly on their location. While there are no exact estimates of the LBS segment in India, trends state that it accounts for only one-two per cent of India’s Rs 200-crore mobile advertising market. However, mobile advertising is growing at a whopping 65 per cent a year, which means it would exceed Rs 320 crore next year, brightening the prospects of LBS, too.

Café Coffee Day was amongst the first ones to adopt Four Square, which uses LBS to drive traffic to stores. K Ramakrishnan, president (marketing), Cafe Coffee Day, says, “We were among the first to map our outlets on Four Square, a location-based social networking website for mobile phones. It works well because as a category, retail is local in nature. And, as a concept, LBS are about targeting the last-mile customer.

Anil Mathews is the founder-CEO of AdNear. Founded in 2009, it uses proprietary software that helps track telecom subscribers without using a geo-positioning system and, subsequently, sends ads and other relevant communication to feature phone and smartphone users. Commercial rollout of operations began only late last year (November-December); the four years since its launch were spent creating the software for the service.

He says: “Basically, we drive around and collect cell-tower and Wi-Fi signals in different cities. With the help of a proprietary algorithm, we can quickly decode where a smartphone or feature phone user is located, how much time he or she ends up spending at one or multiple locations, how many times a day or a week he/she would be found at those locations, what he/she does there, etc. Using this information, we manage to create consumer profiles that we have put in different buckets such as, say, student, traveler, etc. This database can be leveraged by brands to micro-target consumers. We are carrying out about five billion ad impressions a month.”

AdNear has mapped cell-towers and Wi-Fi signals across more than 4000 cities, mostly in India. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia are other countries where it has set its foot recently.

Bypassing TRAI: AdNear pushes ads through apps and thus it doesn’t break the law nor is it too intrusive.

Also, using apps to carry ads allows the company to optimize ad impressions which are a crucial metric in the world of mobile ads and decide the rates which are paid.

Clients: Advertisers using AdNear solutions include Mahindra & Mahindra, Titan, Shopper’s Stop, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Toyota, Audi, Ford, Intel and Sony Electronics.

Future of LBS

Micro-targeting is here to stay. Instead of bombarding customers with unnecessary ads which force them to uninstall apps or get irritated, usage and choice specific ads would actually act like a boon.

Brands would love to capture the attention of young consumers who are ready to spend and are just waiting for you to tell where. You would only want to see what you like and not if XYZ offers a hair-growing oil at 50% discount!

Targeted mobile ads are here to stay. Apps like AdNear are just the beginning.

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  1. Punit Tongia says

    Very true. Mobile targeted ad’s are just beginning.

  2. Adarsh Thampy says

    While this is a good strategy for 2013 or even 2015, will this be effective in 2020? With shopping going online, does physical location really matter?

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