Placecast’s Solution for Location-based Advertising

By Joe Francica

_Location and relevance are the hallmarks of location-based advertising. The ad message must be targeted specifically at an audience within proximity and convenience to a retailer. This is what 1020, Inc. has developed with its launch of Placecast. Directions Media spoke with founder Anne Bezancon about how the company will support an advertiser to get its message out in time and on target.

Joe Francica (JF): Please explain the basic information that Placecast captures in order to deliver a specific location-based ad.

Anne Bezancon (AB):
Placecast can make use of any type of location data at any level of precision, be it real-time positioning from GPS, Cell-ID, or a Wi-Fi hotspot location or inferred location from geo-functional media web publishers from the events, travel and real estate categories.

JF: Do the retailers with whom you work supply a basic demographic profile so that the ad can be highly targeted to them?

The advertisers who buy media from the Placecast Premium Network supply the basic demographics of the audience they are interested in reaching on their campaign. Placecast then finds that audience, creates and delivers a highly relevant customized message based on location and time, and provides all of the real-time analytics to measure, manage and report on the campaign.

JF: What criteria are used to categorize the "place" data? That is, do you define the "place" within a confined geographic buffer zone or fence, or are other criteria necessary?

We define "place" as the combination of location and information about that location at that time that makes it meaningful for the person to whom we are interested in showing an ad. In many cases, advertisers are interested in reaching a certain audience, irrespective of proximity to given geography, and they leverage Placecast's ability to target that audience and deliver a relevant message. In cases where there is a set of targeted geographic areas for the campaign, Placecast can deliver that campaign to any specified unit of geography. In many cases this is a certain set of DMAs, and in some cases it is proximity to a retail outlet, etc.

JF: You say that it captures information about where people are connecting, so I assume there is some IP identification. Is this captured from the mobile handset? By what means do you capture this type of data?

Placecast operates across Wi-Fi, Fixed Broadband and Mobile connections. In each of these scenarios, it can be different. In some cases we work with the service provider to obtain location information, while other times we infer location from the content itself, and finally in mobile we can consume location from any source - GPS, Cell-ID, etc.

JF: Does the ability to capture "where people are connecting" factor in the actual demographic characteristics of the person’s location at that time? Does the advertising match the person, or the demographic characteristics of the area? For example, if a person is in downtown Manhattan, will the ad match to local retailers or the demographic characteristics of that person, who may actually be from Iowa?

Placecast has a complex set of algorithms for deciding what ad is most relevant to display, which can take into account real-time positioning data, advertisers' store locations, demographic data for a location, as well as many other variables.

Published Friday, September 12th, 2008

Written by Joe Francica

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