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Factual’s Of Life: Location Platform Partners With Adelphic On Mobile Targeting

Location is high on advertisers’ and agencies’ list. Other ad tech companies are looking for the right complement to meet that demand.

Bill Michels, Factual's SVP, Product Management & Partnerships
Bill Michels, Factual’s SVP, Product Management & Partnerships

The pairings of location-based platforms with other parts of the ad tech space are continuing at a furious pace. It’s all being driven by the increasing demands of marketers and agencies to add a solid layer of geo-data to their existing programmatic offerings.

In addition to location analytics provider Placed, which announced several key partnerships this past week, geo-specialist Factual has struck a deal with mobile ad targeter Adelphic.

The company is integrating Factual’s Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity products into Adelphic’s demand-side platform. That arrangement follows last month’s collaboration between Factual and WPP Group, which is embedding location technology throughout its network of agencies, including the holding company’s Xaxis programmatic platform.

“We’ve just been actively engaging with lots of folks throughout the mobile app tech stack, evangelizing, educating everyone we can reach about our products,” says Bill Michels, Factual’s SVP, Product Management & Partnerships. “We typically sell our products under the umbrella of ‘contextual relevance.’ The thesis is that we are now able to tell a lot more about a device and about a user based on how they interact with the physical world.”

Finger On The Geopulse

The idea of location as offering “contextual relevance” is predicated on the notion that you can tell a lot more about a consumer via their shopping patterns versus relying primarily on broad demographic profiles.

In the case of Adelphic, Factual’s Geopulse Audience lets its advertisers target mobile campaigns against more 100 defined audience segments that are defined according to a collection of demographic, geographic, behavioral, and brand affinities (e.g., Taco Bell diners, Target shoppers, and Disney Resort visitors).

The Geopulse Audience technology builds these segments by analyzing the location data flowing through Adelphic’s platform. It develops an understanding of mobile users by examining the way users move through the physical world, looking for repeat behaviors that indicate the various attributes.

Lastly, Geopulse Proximity encompasses the usual location-based targeting methods of geo-fencing and geo-conquesting. The combination of the techniques with Adelphic’s DSP means that advertisers who work with these two companies can deliver ads to mobile users based on where they are in real-time, specifying places with any combination of business category, name, merchant, and geographic region on a global basis. Factual and Adelphic can set up fences of varying sizes across any number places, depending on the demands of the campaign.

Hovering above Factual’s Geopulse products is its Global Places data, a global dataset that covers over 65 million local businesses and other points of interest in 50 countries. That wide swath of information is what Factual is betting will set it apart from other its rivals, while making it an attractive partner to agencies and other ad tech providers.

“Targeting with location data dramatically increases the relevance of ads delivered to consumers, and this relevance in turn drives performance for brands,” says Adelphic CEO Michael Collins, in a statement. “Factual’s location-based data will allow Adelphic clients to create more impactful campaigns at scale, the positive effects of which will be felt at both the digital and brick-and-mortar level.”

Location Is The Only Box

Asked to define the kind of company Factual is — an analytics platform? a data provider? A location-based DSP? — Michels is hesitant. Given the confusion in the marketplace about ad tech vendors generally, the idea of fitting into a single box is viewed as unnecessary limiting. That’s true now more than ever, with the location ad services field becoming more crowded, and with lines among general marketing software providers blurring with specialists like Factual.

“I don’t think we have a traditional box for us if you’re looking at the wider display ad universe of companies,” Michels says. “The way I think about it, we are a location data provider for enabling contextually relevant experiences. And we work with publishers versus advertisers directly as well as sending data to ad tech companies. We’re a very quiet company that’s in the background providing infrastructure and tools and data to make great user experiences. That’s how Factual sees itself.”

As it considers other partners, Factual is already finding itself indirectly connected with other companies through existing arrangements with publishers and agencies. For example, Factual has expanded its work with The Weather Channel (TWC), a publisher that is more heavily focused on location than most.

TWC has been working more closely with Placed on in-store analytics, which will allow for real-time targeting of users as they’re shopping at a business’s locale. Despite the string of partners that TWC has, Factual and Placed do not have a formal, direct connection with one another.

“We don’t have a current relationship with Placed, but I think they have a great product,” Michels says. “When I think of our purview, it’s not only limited to serving as targeting platform. Factual is about designing a road map to improve the user experience through personalization and contextual relevance of that device in the physical world. So with that as our mission, we can fit pretty well with anyone.”