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Factual’s Tailored Locations Let Marketers Redefine Audience Segments

Advertisers no longer have to choose targets from a pre-determined selection of consumer profiles.

Factual's Vikas Gupta
Factual’s Vikas Gupta

Factual is bulking up its programmatic arsenal with the introduction of Tailored Location Segments, which the geo-data provider said will give brands and agencies greater choice in creating the exact audiences they want to reach.

The Tailored Location Segments tool is billed as a natural improvement to Los Angeles-based Factual’s Geopulse Audience offering.

That product is part of Factual’s Global Places, the platform’s main offering that gathers data covering over 65 million local businesses and points of interest in 50 countries. Geopulse Audience analyzes that place-based information with the promise of neatly organizing it for contextually relevant, targeted advertising along with Factual’s geo-fencing solution, Geopulse Proximity.

Targeting Fitness

For more than a year, Factual has been further organizing its geo-data based products to the wider demands of automated ad buying and the bidding on specific sections of mobile, online audiences.

When designing an audience segment model, advertisers like to cherry-pick very precise types of consumers. Unfortunately, that demand for a certain kind of ad target often comes up against the constricted choices available on most programmatic dashboards.

“Marketers have been forced to choose from pre-defined audiences in a picklist, limiting their campaigns to the availability of targeting,” said Vikas Gupta, Factual’s director of marketing and operations. “Factual is reversing that model, enabling marketers to craft their targeting to best fit their ideal campaign.”

As an example, Gupta pointed to the common audience profile of people who may generally be described as “fitness enthusiasts.”

For argument’s sake, say that two brands want to serve ads to that “fitness” audience segment. However, one brand’s definition of fitness enthusiasts may be people who go to the gym or other fitness centers, while the other’s may be consumers who primarily engage in outdoors activities. In most audience modeling, both brands would have to settle for checking a pre-set “fitness enthusiast” box on the exchange software’s dashboard that combines their desired audience with those they are less interested in reaching.

With Tailored Location Segments, each brand can create their “ideal segment,” Gupta said. The first brand could construct a segment of “fitness enthusiasts” based on reaching people who visit gyms, yoga studios, spin classes, etc. The second brand can customize its ad effort to reach people in parks, recreation areas, cycling shops, running stores, outdoor tracks and the like.

StrikeAd's Alex Rahaman
StrikeAd’s Alex Rahaman

Marketers can also further narrow their particular audience definition. If a brand wants to target only “fitness moms” they could add Factual’s “moms” segment to refine what sort of individual will be served those kinds of ads. The range of possibilities for building strong audience models will have instant appeal to brands, said Alex Rahaman, CEO of mobile demand-side platform StrikeAd, a Factual partner.

“In the old marketing world, it was pretty easy to create brand infinity segments — you could target people who went to a particular marketer’s website often enough,” Rahaman said.” But with location-specific advertising, you can pick your markets and build a custom segment based on those places. You can dream up a completely hybrid group of locations where you can find the people you most want to reach. It’s a great leap forward.”

More Control For Marketers

This latest enhancement to Factual’s system is meant to complement the self-serve audience “slicing, dicing, and viewing” functions that it released in December. At that time, Factual began running its 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.

InMobi's Anne FrisbeInMobi has been able to enrich its mobile consumer data of over one billion monthly active users with Factual’s geo-data and geo-expertise,” said Anne Frisbie, InMobi’s VP/GM for Global Alliances. “By doing this, InMobi​ — in partnership with Factual — is able to offer brands the ability to buy enhanced mobile audiences that are informed by geo-intelligence. InMobi believes that mobile consumer geo-intelligence is an important consumer signal for improving overall mobile audience targeting.”

The larger idea at work here is that “more control” is not just something to be handled by programmatic specialists and engineers. In order for these kinds of tools to reach their fullest acceptance, employing location data must be something non-specialists at the agency and brand level can exercise, Gupta said.

“These features have been live for a few months, so we’re just rolling it out widely and officially now,” Gupta said. “Everything has to work together and we’ve done all the testing to make sure the location data is accessible in a graphical, self-serve manner. It’s optimized for use in programmatic, so instead of having to work with an engineer to create a complex query, and then have to dig it out of some backend system, the choices are clear enough for anyone to understand and use it.”