Mar 13, 2019

New Device Matching Technologies Take Geo-Based Advertising To The Next Level

geo-based targeting image

I love to travel. I love visiting new cities, staying in different hotels, people watching at the airport. I especially love watching local ads on television in whatever new city I am visiting. Knowing that every city has their own version of a local car dealership with their kitschy jingle never ceases to amuse me (don’t lie, you love them too). While they are entertaining, they are in no way relevant to my life. I’m not going to buy a car there, nor am I going to hire someone to replace my windows and siding in a different city from where I live.

I’m not alone in this. According to a study conducted by 451 Research; in the US alone, location based advertising spend will reach $38.7B by 2022. This is a 75% increase from 2018. Needless to say, not only is geo-based advertising on the rise, but the need to make sure that the geo-based ads are relevant to the audience being targeted is becoming increasingly important as advertisers become savvier with their media spend.

Where It All Started

Allow me to take you on a little journey into the world of geographic based targeting.

Let’s start with the good old fashioned geo-target. Reaching audiences by selecting a specific geographic area, like a city, county, zip code, or radius around a location; geo-targeting is the best way reach a larger area. While you can certainly add on audience targeting to help hone in on your customer (definitely a step up from the traditional approach of a newspaper ad, billboard or commercial on the local broadcast station), there is nothing that keeps roaming gnomes like me from seeing your ad as well if I’m in the area.

Does anyone else remember a time when a cell phone was just something you used to call someone? You know, that strange period of our history before texting, apps, and mobile friendly websites? Believe it or not, that was a real thing until about 20 years ago. Not long after Y2K cell phones started to get fancy. With larger display screens (in color!) and the ability to surf the internet using your cell plan, cell phones became smarter and people started to use their smartphones for more than just phone calls. Coincidentally, this was about the same time that people got really into utilizing GPS technology.

This is the moment in the story when I like to think that there was a room full of really smart people one of whom has a Blackberry in one hand and a TomTom in the other. Looking back and forth between the two, smart person #1 says to the group “Why can’t these be combined into one thing, and how can we make as much money as humanly possible with the technology?” Enter geo-fencing. A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter around a building or specific location. Utilizing GPS coordinates, anyone who enters this geo-fence is your target audience and has the potential to be served an ad. How do they do this you ask? Thanks to GPS technology, your phone knows where you are, all the time.

Back to the smart people room. After heartily patting themselves on the back for a solid decade and a half, they started to realize that people didn’t want to just be served ads when they were in an area, they wanted that ad to be relevant to where they live. But how could they do that? Once again holding their iPhone (or Android) in their hand they searched for something that would take geo-fencing to the next level. It was then that they realized that not only did these devices utilize location services to track where your phone goes, but also when your phone goes somewhere. Using those to pieces of information, the light bulb over their head began to illuminate. “What if we took GPS coordinates and timestamps and found the patterns of movement for every device? Could we take that information and actually know, for sure, where people actually live? Would that be useful?” The answer was yes. It was in that moment that the technology behind Cross Connect became a reality.

What is Viamedia's Cross Connect Product?

Cross Connect utilizes the technology of tracking your device to your home address to target your device wherever you may go. Think about it. We’re creatures of habit. If you were to look at your location services on your phone, you can pretty much be sure that the days/times you are at home and work don’t vary much. With Cross Connect we can use these predictable patterns of travel to make sure that not only are you getting location specific ads served to you when you are at home, but also when you are at work, out to eat with friends, or even taking a weekend getaway.

Which brings us back to me. While I will never abandon my affinity for local ad watching when I hit the road, I will always be able to count on Cross Connect to make sure that my digital ads bring me back home.

Topics: Digital Insights, Marketing Insights

Liza Goldenberg, Product Development & Vendor Relations

Written by Liza Goldenberg, Product Development & Vendor Relations

With over 9 years of media experience, from digital operations to strategy, Liza's knowledge and passion of all things digital make her a strategic powerhouse. As head of Vendor Relations, Liza is responsible for collaborating with our media vendors and developing product strategy. When she's not analyzing or conceptualizing, she is bingeing on the her latest netflix obsession or shopping (online of course).

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