Location based advertising is a fast growing, highly innovative field within the wider marketing industry. While there are major benefits to be had for marketers, it’s critical they separate the ‘real location’ providers from the many buzzword sprouting imitators.
Ad Networks and Ad Tech companies are misleading marketers and agencies according to Daryl van Arkel, CEO of Vicinity Media, who believes that marketers should be asking more questions; and shouldn’t pay attention to the buzzwords bandied about by the industry.
“Many ad networks and ad technology companies will simply rely on third party datasets (a popular buzzword) such as GEOIP location look ups, outdated and inaccurate store location data from third party maps, and publisher location look ups which can be very unreliable,” he says. “Using home grown data and true location based technology that has been analysed to within an inch of its life is the only way that advertisers will get TRUE location based advertising,” he says. “This analysis cannot always be by way of buzzwords like “algorithmically”, or “at scale” and requires huge attention to the small details.”
Vicinity knows the pitfalls of digital location more than most, the founding partners began their involvement with digital location back in 2007 with humble Personal GPS Navigation devices (such as those made by Garmin and TomTom that you suctioned onto your windscreen). Vicinity’s history is closely weaved into that of sister company, Business Positioning Systems (BPS), a location based search specialist, and much of the knowledge and pedigree stems from many years pioneering the location space, and discovering the intricacies and difficulties that come with it.
“As far back as 2011 we began our mobile journey by bringing to market one of the world’s first location based ad platforms in the form of Navteq’s Location Point Advertising. This was early days of mobile and the platform was ahead of its time,” notes van Arkel. “We took many of its shortfalls such as lack of reach, and many of their positives like publishing the distance in banner and improved upon them, bringing them into the new age.”
“In 2013 we monetised the Telmap navigation app but found the ad serving was not truly location based, the reporting was clunky and the lack of trafficking control was extremely frustrating. This led to us developing our own ad serving technology… and what would eventually become Vicinity Media was born!”
“Before we even think of serving an ad we employ BPS’s four tier process to clean location data and ensure a consumer is never sent to the wrong place. Doing location right is no mickey mouse task,” says van Arkel: “You have to be in this 110% and commit to doing the hard work otherwise advertisers and their consumers lose out.
We are all about location, this is not a side venture for us, or a nice to have, as our name suggests, proximity marketing, location based mobile or whatever you like to call it, is our forte and it always will be and we are serious about being the best at it.”
“We believe that we have the pedigree and consider ourselves advocates of true location based advertising that offers deeper analytics, improved accuracy and greater optimisation than other providers,” says Daryl. “We don’t believe that just by using third party technology one can purport to be location based experts, you have to know what is actually happening both on the ground and behind the scenes of the technology. A good example is IP location. IP location look ups can be a hit and miss means of acquiring location but unfortunately many marketers have been encouraged to think it’s enough.”
“I’m not saying that we don’t use IP based location, but it should be a backup along with other techniques when all other lookups have failed. We as consumers are not static, we’re constantly on the move and therefore our location changes with us and technology needs to keep up and provide our advertisers with real data not almost-accurate-data.”
“Many people in the industry throw around the term ‘scale’ or ‘at scale’ – them buzz-words again! It’s almost as if they are trying to prove that mobile actually reaches people but that is old news, not everything should be about scale. It’s never been about mass reach for us, in fact, we’ve always been ‘anti-scale’ in many respects in that we eliminate as much irrelevant inventory as possible” says Daryl.
“We believe it’s about providing the marketer with the right consumer and engaging with that consumer at the right time and at the right place. Reach or scale for the sake of it is of very little use to a brand, I would rather not spend their budget than waste it on the wrong consumers. I think this is another aspect that separates us from our competitors.”
About Vicinity Media
Established in 2014, Vicinity Media was the first to launch location based mobile advertising in South Africa and continues to rapidly innovate in this space and respond to client needs. The company boasts clients in the motor, food and grocery, petroleum, retail and telecoms industries and works with the country’s largest publishers including IOL, Times Media and Mail & Guardian to name a few.