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Factual Bulks Up Geopulse Tools With Self-Serve Enhancements

The location-analytics provider is finding greater demand for geo-fencing, targeting products.

Factual's Ocean Fine
Factual’s Ocean Fine

As it continues to build up its programmatic tools and alliances, geo-data specialist Factual is launching two new product features designed to make its Geopulse Proximity and Geopulse Audience products easier to use. (Read the release.)

The Los Angeles company is “enhancing” those core tools with the Geopulse Proximity Designer, which offers a wider range of data visualization elements to the geo-fencing process, and the Geopulse Audience Builder, which lets Factual’s partners mix and match the hundreds of audience segments to which it has access.

“The ability to actually see the data in motion and in the work is very exciting,” says Factual’s Ocean Fine. “For agencies especially, they can plan out campaigns, take screenshots, put them in decks, share them with their clients. These tools will help them bring more life to the targeting of their mobile campaigns.”

Targeting By Design

Factual’s analytics are powered by its Global Places data, which covers over 65 million businesses and other points of interest across 50 countries, and467 ad categories. In essence, Global Places allows agencies and marketers to target a specific location by any combination of business name, merchant chain, category, or geography, says Vikas Gupta, Factual’s director of marketing and operations.

Users can also select any radius or combination of radii. Advertisers can also design highly-advanced targeting that can tell the difference between targeting a retailer’s own store, its competitors’ shops, and even locations that are merely close to its own outlets as well as those belonging to rivals.

Factual's Vikas Gupta
Factual’s Vikas Gupta

Factual’s Geopulse Proximity and Geopulse Audience are currently being used by demand-side platforms and networks such as StrikeAd, Turn, Manage, Deep Forest Media, EQ Works, MdotM, Juice Mobile, Adsmovil, TAPTAP, as well as publishers like The Weather Company and trading desks including Interpublic Group’s Cadreon, and independent media shop Horizon (HX).

“When we launched the products about a year and a half ago, it was very much with the mindset of, ‘Here’s the data,’ and that’s it,’” Gupta says. “The functionality was all behind the scenes. But, as we put them into the market, we realized that there’s an opportunity to increase adoption and add value by making it easier to use the data. They’ve been evolving as we got customer feedback. These new enhancements are a reflection of what we’ve been hearing from clients as well as our own desire to constantly move forward.”

From Manual To Automated

The updates to the Geopulse data programs reflects the deeper integration of location-based ad campaigns with the wider programmatic shift that’s changing the way advertising is bought and sold. The bottom line is that advertisers and their agencies want as much customization and flexibility as possible, naturally. But at the same time, there’s recognition that the human element is still just as crucial as it ever was.

However, the point is that despite media buyers’ embrace of ad tech targeting tools, they’re not engineers. Coming from a marketing mindset, they want tools that require skills more commonly associated with Madison Avenue, not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As Gupta explains, the way that ad serving and targeting has worked in the past, as far as location goes, once an ad agency or brand took on a campaign a network would then have to request a hard-coded Excel spreadsheet of store locations. To insert that list of locations required exhaustive manual labor. On top of that, there would often be mistakes that would weaken the value of the geo-data being applied to the targeting effort.

“Lots of times, the information on that physical spreadsheet would be outdated,” Gupta says. “Sometimes it’s even hard for the brand itself to get the marketing people that are running these campaigns to get a file of all store locations depending on the brand. We’re making it very easy to access any exact retail location, and draw radiuses and geo-fences around them in real-time.”

Among the most important aspects of Factual’s enhancements is the greater visibility and definition of what is actually happening within a particular radius.

For example, an 800-meter radius around a store in a densely packed Manhattan district is not exactly comparable to a similar circle drawn over a shopping mall in a Milwaukee suburb.

“If you can’t see what is actually in your radius, you’re really shooting in the dark with respect to what are you actually targeting,” Gupta says. “This lets you actually see what you’re targeting which just puts you in a much better position to design better campaigns.”