Among the many flavors of online ad targeting, there are geotargeting, behavioral targeting, contextual targeting and demographic targeting. 1020/Placecast aims to subsume most of these under the concept of “place,” which is not the same as location in the mind of CEO Anne Bezancon. Place is more specific but also broader and potentially incorporates more elements — time of day, demographics, context — in addition to location.
This morning the company announced a “cross-platform” ad deal with Eventful, which includes desktop (including email) and mobile (Eventful has an iPhone app). According to the release:
Placecast enables Eventful to segment site visitors based upon the location of specific events, significantly increasing advertising revenue opportunities through premium location-based inventory. In addition to advanced targeting, Placecast brings the expertise of a dedicated sales team, which collaborates with Eventful’s direct sales force.
Placecast adds a new dimension to audience targeting by using location-based information provided by publisher sites. This allows advertisers to deliver messages customized to a specific audience and a specific location, increasing the relevancy of these ads and therefore the value of the publisher’s inventory. Using proprietary targeting algorithms, Placecast delivers more relevant ads by matching publisher data with information specific to an event venue in which a user expresses interest. For example, a user checking Eventful’s site for the next Coldplay concert in New York City would see an ad for Scion with the address and link to the closest Scion dealership, while a user looking for outdoor activities in San Francisco would see a localized ad for Subaru.
Placecast tries to use any available location-aware technology or data to deliver place-based ads. In the example provided above, there’s a combination of demographic and local targeting going on, based on the younger demographic profile of most Eventful users.
As the technical barriers to location awareness come down — more on that later — the challenge becomes having enough of the right kind of ad inventory to serve ads that can take full advantage of Bezancon’s notion of “place.” (There’s probably enough “local” ad inventory today in one sense but it’s not centrally available for all to tap into.) This will require dynamic delivery of ad creative, such as what Yahoo is seeking to do with ShopLocal/PointRoll and Publicis (in mobile). Ads will need to be parsed into components so that they can be changed on the fly, depending on the audience, location, behavior, etc.
That dynamic, templated ad model is still somewhat experimental. By contrast the beauty of search is that it’s directional and so there’s some manifestion of consumer interest and intent — and the system doesn’t have to work quite as hard to deliver relevant ads.